Sao Tome and Principe - Country Commercial Guide
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After several false starts, STP appears likely to join the ranks of oil producing countries in the medium term. In April 2022, a consortium made up of Anglo-Dutch Shell and Portuguese GALP Energia started the drilling process of oil field 6 located in the EZZ. In addition, U.S. Company Kosmos Energy carried out seismic surveys. In 2019, Dutch company Shell acquired rights to five oil blocks from Kosmos. São Toméan authorities hope to capitalize on the offshore assets that neighbors Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Gabon already exploit.

Among the 19 oil blocks locates in STP Exclusive Economic Zone, nine are not assigned to any company. In 2019, in partnership with Angolan Sonangol, French Total also acquired 55 percent interest of oil block 1 located in the STP EZZ. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment houses the Agência Nacional de Petróleo (National Oil Agency—ANP).  ANP is the public body with authority to regulate, supervise, control, and promote the activities of the oil and gas industry.

The country has a legal framework for the oil sector, which includes among others the Framework Law on Petroleum Operations (Petroleum Act), the Petroleum Taxation Act, Model Production Sharing Contract, and a law which organizes the Exclusive Economic Zone in three zones and 19 exploration blocks. There is also a special law for petroleum management, called the Framework Law of Oil Revenues.

In February 2001, STP and Nigeria signed an agreement establishing a Joint Developing Zone (JDZ) for the exploration of petroleum and other resources in the overlapping zone of both countries’ maritime boundaries. Following this development, both governments decided to establish a Joint Development Authority (JDA), which is based in Abuja, Nigeria.

STP and Equatorial Guinea are also considering joint oil exploration on the maritime border between the two countries.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Interest in STP EEZ oil blocks has recently increased. In addition to oil, the JDA hopes to exploit other resources, such as non-oil minerals, aquatic plants and fish, though JDA functioning is uncertain.


Opportunities remain to be seen pending commercially viable finds.