Sierra Leone has launched a fast-tracked fifth licensing round covering oil prone offshore acreage harbouring a proven working petroleum system, following closely on the heels of the country’s recently-concluded fourth bidding round.

Moves are also afoot in the Freetown-based parliament to approve framework legislation so the country can also offer onshore acreage.

No commercial hydrocarbon discovery has ever been made in the West African nation, but a trio of deep-water wildcats drilled by Andarko Petroleum about a decade ago as its chased analogues to Ghana’s Jubilee find, offer tantalising glimpses of its oil and gas potential.