“Take Charge of Reform Process,” NOCAL Officials
National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) has urged Liberians to take full charge of the reform process and get involved. The exercise, the company says is intended to transform the oil and gas sector for the benefit of all Liberians.
“We are committed to this reform process,” the Vice President for Public Affairs at NOCAL said Wednesday when he participated in a forum organized by the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinion (CEIO) to discuss the sector.
During the two-hour long interaction, a team of NOCAL officials provided an overview of the oil sector and the status of the program since the announcement in February of the discovery of oil off the coast of Liberia.
“It is true that oil has been discovered,” Mr. Akinsanya acknowledged, but cautioned that it will still require additional evaluation of available data to determine whether the oil is in commercial quantity.
He said it was, however, critical to put in place the necessary framework that would ensure transparency and accountability in the oil sector by adopting policies that would guide the industry.
The NOCAL team, which also included the company’s Public Engagement Manager, Mr. Jonathan Sogbie, spoke about the formulation of policies which would protect Liberian participation in the sector, the management of oil revenue, boundary harmonization, Health, Environment and Safety, among others.
These are all issues, the NOCAL officials said will form the basis for a policy framework to guide the oil sector.
“It took some oil producing countries more than 30 years to adopt these measures, but we do not want to repeat their mistakes. That’s why we are doing it now, and we want you all to participate fully and let your views be heard so that they form a part of the policy document which will later be passed into law,” Mr. Akinsanya told a full house of Haitai center participants at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinion on Carey Street in Monrovia.
The engagement by the NOCAL officials at the Center is part of an exercise to prepare Liberians ahead of the pending launch of nation-wide consultations on a new national oil policy. The exercise is in keeping with a timetable released last month by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to reform the oil sector.
The process is also intended to create a new Petroleum Law and a new model Production Sharing Contract. It will also see nationwide stakeholder and Diaspora consultation to ensure greater public understanding and input on reforms to the oil and gas sector. This measure is in line with the commitment by NOCAL, which is coordinating the work, to transparency and inclusiveness.
The Government’s Hydro Technical Committee (HTC), the inter-ministerial body responsible for the oil sector which is chaired by NOCAL, is leading the reform process which began in February 2012.