- After almost thirty years, the Spanish oil company Repsol has announced its return to the formerly Spanish colony Equatorial Guinea, which it left due to dictatorship and diplomatic struggles between Madrid and Malabo.
Carmelo Nvono-Ncá, president of the official Spanish-Equatoguinean Trade and Industry Chamber today announced, together with the company Repsol, that the leading Spanish oil company would return to Equatorial Guinea, being designated the position of operator of one Equatoguinean offshore block.
According to Mr Nvono-Ncá, the block in question was C-1, which was said to be among the new blocks designated "areas of provisional discoveries." The concession had been awarded by the Malabo government after Repsol recently has proven successful in making oil discoveries in a well drilled on the block.
As a "provisional discovery", the designation gives Repsol the right, during two years, to study the block closer, especially mapping the profitability and economic sustainability of a possible development of the block.
Government sources in Equatorial Guinean told afrol News that Block C-1 is located in the country's exclusive economic zone, off the coast from the capital, Malabo, in direction Cameroon.
Mr Nvono-Ncá today expressed his satisfaction about the achievement of making Repsol returning to Equatorial Guinea, emphasising that it has been one of the Chamber's main objectives to secure the presence of Spanish companies in key sectors such as oil in the ex-colony.
Repsol abandoned Equatorial Guinea in the 1980s, before major oil discoveries were made in the country. At this point Repsol was a Spanish public company, and the group's leadership bowed into political pressure to leave the dictatorship as diplomatic relations grew increasingly sour between Madrid and Malabo. Repsol sold its exploration rights to other international companies and used the revenues to establish itself in Angola.
Until the current socialist government of José Luis Zapatero, Spanish relations with Equatorial Guinea remained poor, with Madrid urging the Malabo government to improve its very poor human rights situation. With major oil discoveries in the late 1990s, Spanish companies were among the few not to take part in the Equatoguinean boom - until now.
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