LPRA Refutes Media Story of Oil Discovery in Gbarnga

July 9, 2019; Monrovia, Liberia. The Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) has refuted and categorially denied media publications of a major oil discovery in Gbarnga specifically along the Jor River. The LPRA refers to the front-page captions in the printed edition of the Heritage Newspaper “Crude Oil Discovered in Bong, But…” and the online edition of the Analyst Newspaper “Crude Oil Discovered in Bong? -DEECO Oil and Gas Ltd Wants Bongese to pray for commercial quantity” respectively, are untrue, false and misleading.

The LPRA is the statutory government entity responsible to grant petroleum rights and supervise all activities relating to the upstream petroleum sector. Being mindful of its core values and responsibility to efficiently and transparently manage the sector, LPRA granted DEECO Liberia Limited, a subsidiary of DEECO Oil and Gas Limited (registered in Nigeria), a Reconnaissance License (No. LPR-001: Seismic Data Acquisition and Technical Evaluation) to collect preliminary geological and geophysical data within Jorquelleh District along the Jor River. Keeping within the New Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Reform Law of 2014. Our record shows that DEECO has not commenced any operation within Liberia regarding its obligation under the license but informed LPRA that it is mobilizing efforts (financially and technically) to commence seismic data acquisition and technical evaluation in keeping with the Petroleum Law and the Reconnaissance License.

DEECO has further notified LPRA that it did not release any information to the media or individual relating to oil discovery in Gbarnga in consideration that its operations have not commenced and there is possibility of making a discovery at this stage of reconnaissance. In its statement issued to the press on Monday, July 8, 2019 and published on the front-page of the Inquirer Newspaper, the Chairman of DEECO expressly noted that “I told them that DEECO had only acquired a Reconnaissance License few weeks ago from the Liberian Petroleum Regulatory Authority and is mobilizing all efforts to commence the work program as stipulated in the license. I re-iterated that it is only after we have conducted seismic survey and hopefully drilled exploratory wells that a test may confirm oil in commercial quantity.” In response to this statement, LPRA informs the public that under the reconnaissance license, DEECO is not authorized to engage in exploratory drilling as such rights are granted through a Petroleum Sharing Agreement in conformity with the Petroleum Law, 2014. Under this reconnaissance license, DEECO is required to conduct Acquisition, Processing and Interpretation of Full Tension Gravity Gradiometry (FTG); 2D Seismic Survey of minimal 100 to 200 km; and 3D as both LPRA and DEECO may agree.

There are many stages in oil and gas development paradigm. It starts with prospecting, which includes seismic survey and later exploratory drilling, appraisal, development, production and abandonment. Any chance of oil discovery is only made at the exploration drilling and appraisal stages. In consideration that DEECO is beginning to commence data (seismic) acquisition, it is impossible for any determination of an oil discovery.

LPRA encourages the public to continue reading its website (www.lpra.gov.lr) for regular updates on its operations relating to the oil and gas program in Liberia.

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