The President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company of Liberia(NOCAL), Atty Saifuah-Mai Gray has urged participants at the ongoing 2021 EITI SOE Leader’s Summit in Dubai to take up the challenge and remain steadfast to those standards that inform sustainability and transparency in the oil industry that will continue to attract responsible investing partners so as to participate in the new venture of the energy transition and understanding the impact on operations and revenues.
“We are happy to be a part of this 2021 SOE Leaders’ Summit. As this year’s EITI summit is focused on the future of energy, we as leaders of our respective SOEs should have an increasing expectation to enhance efficiency in the mandates given to us by our governments”, she said.
She told the gathering that Liberia has been in the process of implementing the EITI since 2006, noting that the impacts have demonstrated that the benefits of the EITI to countries are extensive and so the country holds this in high regard.
She averred that the EITI Standard requires information along the extractive industry value chain from the point of extraction, to how the revenue makes its way through the government and how it contributes to the economy. “This includes how licenses and contracts are allocated and registered, who are the beneficial owners of those operations? What are the fiscal and legal arrangements? How much is produced? How much is paid? Where are those revenues allocated? And what is the contribution to the economy and the society?” she said.
She also told the summit that Liberia has made a significant impact in this direction and encouraged the participants to get on board and create a transparent environment.
Meanwhile Atty Gray used the summit to showcase the opportunities in the oil industry in Liberia and said that in order to change the current paradigm and improve the workings of the sector, the industry will need to dig a little deeper, tap into the experiences of the country’s successful counterparts and make structural moves so that this new innovation the country is nurturing can give rise to safe and profitable operations in the toughest conditions now and the probable future.
On the question of what is presently being done in the oil industry in Liberia, she said “we launched our license round in April 2020 and it attracted interests from diverse players within the industry with the expectation of closure by October 2020. The Government’s previous announcement set the deadline for Pre-qualification on October 31, 2020 with qualified candidates required to submit final bids by February 2021”, she said.
She said that however, due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 and the drastic slump in oil prices over the designated period, the Government announced an extension of the deadline for pre-qualification from October 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021 with the new deadline for submission of bids by qualified companies to run from April 30, 2021 to May 31, 2021. She added that at the end of this process, we had one company willing to go through the process.
She furthered that presently, the Liberian Government has decided that since the license round did not turn out as expected, the process has moved to the next option of Direct Negotiations and Executive Allocation to bring investment into the Basins as prescribed in the petroleum laws.
“As the amended petroleum law of 2019 provides, 100% in a block will be allocated to NOCAL for direct talks and subsequent partnership with interested companies to carry out exploration activities. The process of Executive Allocation is simple and investor friendly.
“Additionally, NOCAL and TGS are working to reprocess and reimage the legacy library that TGS has brokered on behalf of Liberia for the past years. We intend to reprocess ALL 24,773 kilometers of the 2D data and all 20,745 square kilometers of the Liberia Basin 3D data and image them with depth processing.
“All thirty-three (33) offshore blocks in the Liberia and Harper Basins offer significant potential for commercial oil discoveries. There are available significant amounts of valuable high quality 2D and 3D seismic data (available with TGS) together with well data, including cuttings and sidewall core data, from both source rocks and reservoirs (available with Core Lab).
She called on potential investors to look out for these announcements and protocols from the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) and NOCAL’s websites and other industry outlets and hopes to have as many companies in Liberia as soon as possible.