Togo Oil

The African Legal Support Facility (“ALSF” or “Facility”) assistance to the Government of the Republic of Togo started in july 2018 following a call for expressions of interest that was launched to seek a legal counsel to assist within the framework of capacity building in the oil and gas sector. Houda Law Firm and Akakpo and Associates were selected to i) review the legal and institutional framework of the hydrocarbon sector, ii) to review and analyse the existing contracts in the hydrocarbon sector, and finally iii) host training seminar on petroleum contracts negotiation. Following a legislative review of the hydrocarbons sector in Togo, the legal counsel made various recommendations in order to improve the sector among which: i) in general, the structure and articulation of the Petroleum Code are to be reviewed in order to bring more coherence and clarity, especially on the distinction between title and oil contract and their specifics throughout the code, ii) there is currently no implementing decree providing further details, especially with regard to the terms of allocation, renewal, transfer or transmission of petroleum authorizations and titles. Thus, it appears essential, in the event of reform of the sector, to adopt regulatory implementing instruments, iii) the institutional framework should include clear provisions for the creation of a regulatory authority and a national oil company. However, as Togo has not yet discovered oil in viable commercial quantities, hence it is desirable that the legal framework does not require the immediate creation of a regulatory authority and a national oil company at the current oil exploration stage, and finally iv) to date, the Togolese hydrocarbons legal framework does not include any provisions regarding transparency and provisions in the fight against corruption. It is only specified an incompatibility of functions between the accredited officials while undertaking their administrative and technical supervision and the conduct of petroleum operations. Accordingly, it is recommended that international best practice apply as it demonstrates that host country must have a clear anti-corruption legislation. The Impleneting agency has promised to submit a new request for the ALSF to further assist the Government of the Republic of Togo within the framework of advisory service.