SAO TOME, April 3 Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe plan to use "non-conventional" oil exploration technology in their joint offshore zone and hope to start oil production within 18 months, according to a statement issued by the countries.
Sao Tome, a tiny former Portuguese colony in Africa's Gulf of Guinea, has failed to find oil despite being surrounded by resource-rich neighbours.
"Important decisions have been taken about the area and the organisation, such as the approval of new technology for oil and gas exploration as well as production at the Block 1 via non-conventional methods that will allow production to start in an 18 months' time," according to the joint statement.
It gave no details on what technology was envisaged.
Nigeria pumps just under 2 million barrels of oil a day, making it Africa's largest oil producer.
Sao Tome's government in February short-listed four companies, including Portugal's Galp Energia, to bid on two oil blocks in its exclusive economic zone, according to a statement released by the state oil company ANP. (Reporting by Ricardo Neto; Writing by David Lewis and Emma Farge, editing by David Evans)