The two blocks had not been very high on anyone's list for prospectivity until oil officials whose names have been forgotten made their comments to media at a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, possibly in July, according to a regular and reliable poster on the Investor's Hub EWRHC Energy board:
During JMC meet in Sao Tome (July?), Midtieroil, STP media quoted named STP officials as saying the JDA would not reconsider ERHC for blocks 5/6 as the company had given up its rights to them of its own accord. They were quoted as thanking Nigeria for supporting STP's stance on subject. Never saw anything on the matter from NG side.
Here is the ERHC Energy Sept. 8 release on the topic, which openly risks raising the issue at a higher level:
ERHC Energy Inc. Seeks Clarification From Joint Ministerial Councilof the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone
Sep 8, 2008 16:04:15 (ET)
HOUSTON, TX, Sep 08, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- ERHC Energy Inc. (ERHE, Trade ), a publicly traded American company with oil and gas assets in the highly prospective Gulf of Guinea off the coast of central West Africa, is seeking the reaffirmation of government officials regarding the Company's rights in Joint Development Zone (JDZ) Blocks 5 and 6. In May 2005, the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (JDA) confirmed ERHC Energy's 15 percent interest in the Blocks.
ERHC is committed to exploiting its rights and meeting its contractual obligations in the JDZ. The Company wants to eliminate uncertainty stemming from recent press reports in which members of the JMC were quoted. The reports raised questions about the status of ERHC rights in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6.
Letters sent by ERHC Energy Chief Operating Officer Peter Ntephe to the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) of the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe JDZ and to the JDA, which manages the JDZ, assert the company's intent and commitment to exploit its rights in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6.
"We have the utmost respect and regard for the JMC and JDA, and we hope that media reports questioning our rights in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6 are erroneous, in which case we respectfully apologize for raising the issue," said Mr. Ntephe.
The letters also declare that if ERHC's rights in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6 are tampered with or compromised, the Company will take all necessary legal steps to protect its corporate interest.
ERHC Energy has interests in six of the nine Blocks in the offshore JDZ between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe. The Company has additional interests in the territorial waters of Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).