By Decontee M. Wesseh
MONROVIA, May 18 (LINA) President George Manneh Weah has challenged the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) and the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to engage with international oil companies and other global partners in building an economically successful and sustainable oil and gas sector.
His statement came in the wake of the NOCAL and LPRA approved transition plan for the Upstream Petroleum Sector.
President Weah told the two entities that once that is done, it will maximize government’s stake, ensure environmental sustainability, and equitable participation of all Liberians.
According to a statement issued recently by the two parties, the Government of Liberia, through the LPRA and NOCAL has also taken tremendous steps toward rebuilding a vibrant and viable oil and gas program by improving governance, transparency, accountability and equity participation of all Liberians.
The action by them signals two major milestones which are the full transfer of all regulatory functions from NOCAL to LPRA and allows LPRA to immediately commence key activities leading to the bid activities of offshore acreages.
The Liberian leader further stressed that “while the country is in desperate and dire need to discover commercially viable quantity of oil, “we must not lose sight of the attending consequences that could evolve when the right policies, regulations and laws are not developed or adhered to.”
He then cautioned the two entities, particularly NOCAL, to promote Liberian businesses and design a program to improve building capabilities and managing expectation, which is in accordance with Article 7 of the NOCAL Act of 2016.
For his part, the Director General of LPRA, Archie Donmo, applauded the President, the CEO of NOCAL, and the Minister of State for the level of support and collaboration during the negotiation of the transfer plan which sets key objectives for the next steps in the context of re-establishing concrete programs and making the Liberia basin attractive to the global petroleum market.
In her response, the CEO of NOCAL, Saifuel-Mai Gray, extended appreciation to President Weah for his confidence as she assured NOCAL’s commitment to expanding the government’s commercial interest within its potential oil and gas resources as the short-term objective.
NOCAL’s long term goals, she explained, is to build a world class, top-notch oil and gas company with immense and competitive regional presence.
Liberia oil and gas program predates the 1970s with considerable effort put into exploration programs.
To date, there has been discovery of a working petroleum system less the presence of a commercially viable reservoir.
The new focus will target this objective of locating any known reserve and exploit it for the benefit of all Liberians, including unborn generations.
In keeping with Section 78 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Reform Act, 2014, the Government wishes to inform the public and its international partners that the Transfer Plan, referred to and required in the Petroleum Law, has been completed.