US-based energy company Camac Energy has secured a contract from the Gambian Ministry of Petroleum to be the operator of two offshore exploration blocks in the West African Transform Margin.

The blocks A2 and A5 cover an area of 2,666km2 and are in water depths of 600-1,000m. The presence of hydrocarbons has been established in the area and recent extensive 3D seismic surveys have revealed several material prospects and leads. Camac Energy will operate the blocks, in which the company holds an 85% interest.

The company said the agreement is a substantial achievement, reflecting the opportunity to operate in a highly favoured province in West Africa.

Camac Energy chairman and CEO Kase Lawal commented: "We are extremely pleased to be awarded these two blocks. It reaffirms the company’s reputation as a value added oil and gas partner to National Oil Companies in Africa."

The agreement is subject to the submission of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and signing of final petroleum exploration licences within 90 days. Camac has submitted the EIA report and signing of the licence documents is expected in the next few weeks.

Currently, the company has operations in Nigeria and China, where it operates through its Pacific Asia Petroleum subsidiaries. The firm’s principal assets include OML 120 and OML 121, offshore oil leases in deepwater Nigeria and a 100% interest in the Zijinshan Block gas asset located in China’s Shanxi province.