All deposits or natural accumulations of hydrocarbons located within the soil or sub-soil of the territory of Cameroon, whether or not discovered, are and shall remain the exclusive property of the State.

For purposes of petroleum operations, the State shall exercise sovereign rights over the entire territory of Cameroon.

Natural or legal persons, including land owners may carry out petroleum operations only after obtaining prior authorization from the State.

Anybody wishing to undertake petroleum operations may use the land necessary for such operations. Both within and -outside the area covered by his authorization or petroleum contract. Such land may only be allocated to him for use in accordance with the provisions of this Code, its implementing instruments and the land tenure and state property legislation in force.

Once the authorization is granted or the petroleum contract is concluded, the holder shall submit a valuation survey request to the competent administrative authority to access the said land, under conditions laid down in Part IV. Chapter I of the petroleum Code.

The State shall reserve the right to undertake petroleum operations either directly or through duly mandated public bodies.

The State may also authorize commercial companies to carry out petroleum operations in furtherance of a petroleum contract concluded between them and the State, in accordance with the provisions of this Code.

Where circumstances so require, petroleum contract holders may conclude agreements with the State, represented by any public body duly mandated for that purpose, to set up enterprises to undertake specific general interest of petroleum operations in the upstream petroleum sector. Such operations shall include, but not limited to the storage and management of export terminals.

Any public body duly mandated to carry out petroleum operations on behalf of the State or in its own name, as well as its sub-contractors shall have the same rights and obligations as the holder and its sub-contractors, particularly regarding tax and customs provisions and the foreign exchange regulations provided for in the Code and its implementing instruments.

The State either directly or through a duly mandated public body, shall reserve the right to acquire an interest under any legal form whatsoever, in all or part of the petroleum operations under a petroleum contract, in accordance with the contract terms. In such a case, the agreement to materialize the interest of the State must be concluded prior to issuance of the relevant authorization.

The interest of the State shall take effect from the date of grant of the exploitation authorization referred to in Section 40 of the petroleum code.

The State or the duly mandated public establishment or body shall have the same rights and obligations as the holder up to the extent of its participation in the petroleum operations under the terms and conditions specified in the petroleum contract.

A petroleum contract may be entered into only with a petroleum company, or jointly with several commercial companies, at least one of which is a petroleum company. The authorizations derived there from and the hydrocarbon mining titles may be granted only to such companies. A petroleum company may be holder of several petroleum contracts.

Several commercial companies, one of which must be a petroleum company, may form a joint venture for the purpose of entering into and executing a petroleum contract. A petroleum company may also form a joint venture with a non-petroleum company under the conditions set forth in the petroleum contract, provided that the nonpetroleum company has minority interest in the consortium which is holder of the petroleum contract, and is not the operator.

All protocols, contracts or agreements relating to any joint venture and the appointment of the petroleum company acting as operator, shall be forwarded to the state for information purposes within 30 (thirty) days prior to the signing of the contract.

Subject to the rights acquired, the State may, after consultation with the relevant public institutions or bodies, determine the areas open to petroleum operations and for which petroleum contracts may be concluded or, as the case may be, grant authorizations or hydrocarbon mining titles.

Such areas may be divided into blocks in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down by the implementing decree of the petroleum code.

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