LPRA, in collaboration with NOCAL, conducts 3-day Round Table Consultations on Petroleum Regulations, Strategy and Model PSC

Monrovia, February 20, 2020. Ahead of the April 2020 Liberia Offshore licensing round, the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA), in collaboration with NOCAL, completed a three-day round-table consultation on February 19, 2020 with relevant stakeholders on pre-licensing round petroleum regulations, Liberia local content strategy and the model petroleum sharing contract (MPSC).

The consultation was organized to garner inputs and comments on the draft regulations, strategy and MPSC in a way that engenders broad-based participation of key stakeholder groups. On day one, members of civil society organizations, international organizations including IMF and USAID, along with business associations including the Liberian Business Association (LiBA), Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), Paynesville Business Association and the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) were all in attendance. During the second day of the consultation, selected government ministries and agencies including Liberia Revenue Authority, Liberia Land Authority, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Office of the Legal Advisor to the President, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Justice, etc were in attendance.  On the final day, selected members of the legislature representing the House’s committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, committee on Hydrocarbon, committee on Judiciary, committee on Ways Means and Finance, and committee on Labor attended the consultation.

Two key draft regulations were presented for discussion including the regulations on pre-qualification of interested operators and participants for offshore petroleum rights and regulations on disclosure of ultimate beneficial ownership. Also, participants discussed the draft strategy on Liberians and Liberian businesses participation (local content) across the oil and gas value chain. Finally, the model Petroleum sharing agreement, which will be used as the framework agreement for granting petroleum rights, was reviewed and finalized.

In his opening remarks, Honorable Archie Donmo, Director General of LPRA, noted that “while Liberians are passionate about ensuring that the country and its people benefit from the Liberia’s potential oil and gas resources, it is important that the citizens be aware that such is only possible when the government grants licenses to international gas companies to explore for oil.” According to Mr. Domno, when a country has 33 blocks unencumbered and unlicensed as in the case of Liberia, the chances of discovering oil is impossible.  “Liberia entire offshore acreage has been predominantly vacant for the last five years”, he continued.

The LPRA Boss pointed out that all institutional, regulatory and policy frameworks have been designed and as such it only prudent that Liberia as a country begins to utilize the opportunity of licensing blocks for oil and gas exploration. He however assured participants at the consultation that LPRA will operate within the confines of the law and under the principle of expediency to promote Liberia’s undiscovered assets.

Also, speaking at the consultation, the Vice President for Technical Services at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), Dr. Lester Tenny, stressed the need for adequate investment to be made into the process leading to discovery, pointing out that there is a need for the National Government to invest and empowered LPRA. “In the absence of adequate financial support, it will be impossible to get the desire result from the impending bid round,” he mentioned.

Speaking on behalf of the members of the Senate, Senator George Tengbeh, chairman on the senate committee on energy and environment, noted that the bid round process is overdue and until we rally support for LPRA to host a successful round, Liberia will not benefit in any way from its potential oil and gas resources. His statement was buttressed by Representative Abu Kamara, Chairman on the House’s Committee on Hydrocarbon, that the legislature will ensure that LPRA conducts the bid round under the right policy and regulatory instruments to ensure transparency, accountability and equity in granting petroleum rights and promoting Liberians participation in the petroleum sector.

LPRA will now integrate comments generated from the consultations into the regulations, strategy and MPSC in preparation for the licensing round expected to commence in April 2020.

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