National Oil Company Sign Contracts With Three Companies to Explore for Oil

Source: liberian observer 6/19/2005, Location: Africa

Officials say the signing ceremony represents a giant step in Liberia's oil search, adding, "the contracts commits the three companies to a very rigorous work plan, which will accelerate further exploration in Liberia's offshore area and ensure the drilling of wells.

The Liberian Government, through the National Oil Company (NOCAL), have entered into a "Production Sharing Contract" with three foreign oil companies to undertake oil exploration in Liberian territorial waters.

The three companies include the Joint Consortium of Regal Liberia Limited, Broadway Consolidated, and Oranto Petroleum Limited. They were among five companies awarded blocks as a result of the Bid Round.

NOCAL's Board Chairman and President/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Willis D. Knuckles and Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while messrs. Frank Timis of Regal Liberia Limited, Ian H. Hamilton of Broadway Consolidated, Alan Jessop of Oranto Petroleum signed on behalf of their respective companies.

Speaking at the ceremony, Thursday, the President/Chief Executive Officer Cllr. Dean said, negotiations are still in progress with the remaining companies Repsol and Woodside, and as soon as an agreement is reached, their agreement will also be signed.

"The signing ceremony represents a giant step in Liberia's oil search," Cllr. Dean said, adding, "the contracts commits the three companies to a very rigorous work plan, which will accelerate further exploration in Liberia's offshore area and ensure the drilling of wells.

"The petroleum operations are to commence within three months from the date of ratification of the contracts. Funds are provided for training of Liberian personnel, social and welfare; and when a discovery is made, the production shall be shared in sliding percentages," the NOCAL Chief Executive Officer said.

Cllr Dean emphasized that preference will be accorded Liberian businesses to provide goods and services as well as Liberians for employment, reiterating that the interest of Liberia is well protected. "We expect to see oil rigs out there the soonest; and Liberians shall be the proud beneficiaries of the economic opportunities to be generated by the activities of these oil companies," he disclosed.

In separate remarks, the representatives of the three companies praised NOCAL for the level of cooperation and promised that as soon as the contracts are ratified, they would commence operations.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Technical and negotiation Team, Mr. Cletus Wortoson recounted that a number of companies expressed their desire to undertake oil exploration in Liberia and submitted bids. He named Repsol, YPE, Woodside, Oranto petroleum, Oceans petroleum, regal petroleum, European Hydrocarbon, Broadway Consolidated and Abeku Petroleum.

He said based on industry standards and criteria, six companies met the threshold and were invited for further negotiations on their proposal. "An important requirement of NOCAL was the purchase of 4,400km of the 2-D seismic from TGS-NOPEC to buttress their submissions," Mr. Wotorson said.


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