By Alpha Kamara
The contract between the Senegalese government and French oil giant Total to explore oil in the country is transparent and legal, Prime Minister Mohamed Dionne said Friday.
The minister's comment came after a week’s diplomatic tussle between Total and African Petroleum, each claiming to have the right to mine oil in Senegal.
"The contract with TOTAL was a loan-contract signed by the minister of energy during the state visit of President Macky Sall in December in France," Dionne said at the National Assembly.
"The contract was signed in a legal and transparent manner with only one interest in mind the Senegalese people. There is lots of noise for nothing," he added.
Senegal late last year announced the news of the discovery of large oil deposits along the Rufisque Offshore Profound outside Dakar.
Earlier this month, oil giants Total and African Petroleum both claimed to have secured licenses to explore the lucrative exploration deals sparking criticism from the opposition.
Opposition coalition "Manko Thakao Senegal" -- which means "to take care of Senegal" in the local Wolof language -- is protesting on Friday to register their dissatisfaction over the deal and other alleged human rights violations by the government.