A new national oil company called the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC, which takes over the state-owned Gambia National Petroleum Company Limited has been created by law.
The National Assembly meeting in Banjul on Monday passed the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation Bill, 2014 which provides a legal framework for the establishment and operations of the corporation.
The new law also enables the corporation to continue to do business in the upstream and downstream petroleum sub-sectors.
The bill was presented by minister Bala Garba Jahumpa on behalf of the Vice President.
The GNPC is under the ministry of Petroleum, which is under the office of the President in Banjul.
Juhumpa told deputies that in 2003 the government set up the Gambia National Petroleum Company Ltd (GNPC), which was registered as a state-owned oil company "to serve as the business arm of government in the oil and gas industry in The Gambia".
Establishment of a national oil company was "a laudable initiative" and a "strategic" move "at the early stage of our petroleum exploration endeavours, he added.
Since its creation, the GNPC has been actively involved in the petroleum exploration business in which it has a legal mandate, according to the national petroleum law, to have a percentage share in all petroleum exploration and production licenses signed by the government.
The company has been working closely with the Ministry of Petroleum in the negotiations of petroleum exploration licences, petroleum policy matters and human resources capacity development, among others, the minister further stated.
The national oil company (now the GNP corporation), GNPC, owns 7 per cent shares in the Gampetroleum fuel storage facility at Mandinary, and operates nine petroleum service stations countrywide