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Liberia Cheated In Oil Deal!

As the inks of the National Legislature dried off the Chevron lucrative oil deal, it has emerged that Liberia will only benefit 30% of the entire deal, leaving the US oil giant with 70%.

Chevron announced on its website, on the day that members of the national legislature hurriedly rectify the deal that it has been granted approval by the Liberian government “to acquire a 70 percent interest and operator-ship in three deepwater concessions in Liberia.”

According to the press statement published on Chevron’s website on September 8, “the deepwater blocks, LB-11, LB-12 and LB-14 are located between 12 to 110 miles (20 to 180 km) south of the capital of Monrovia and cover a combined area of 3,700 square miles (9,600 square km).”

“These licenses are on trend with new deepwater Cretaceous discoveries in the region and will expand our exploration portfolio in offshore West Africa which has delivered significant production from several basins,” said Ali Moshiri, president, Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production.

“We are very pleased to participate in Liberia’s emerging energy sector,” said Chevron Vice Chairman George Kirkland.  “Entry into this large prospective offshore area allows us to advance our growth strategy for the region.”

The press statement indicates that under the agreement, Chevron’s Liberian subsidiary will conduct a three-year exploratory program that is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In Africa, Chevron participates in exploration and production activities in Angola, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and the Republic of the Congo. Chevron produced a net average of more than 430,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2009 in these countries.

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While it is very encouraging news to hear that Chevron is to be operative in Liberia, it is sad to notice that in the Liberian deal, Chevron gets the lion’s share. 70% seems to be the highest interest the American oil giant has ever received.

“Through our principal subsidiary in Nigeria, Chevron Nigeria Ltd. (CNL), we operate and hold a 40 percent interest in 13 concessions operated under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns a 60 percent interest.” Information available on Chevron’s website stipulates.

In Angola, the same status quo: “Chevron, through CABGOC, has a 39.2 percent interest and is the operator of the Block 0 contractor group, which also comprises SONANGOL P&P (41 percent), Total (10 percent) and ENI (9.8 percent).”

Chevron is Operator of the offshore concession for the Democratic Republic of Congo and holds a 50-percent interest; Teikoku holds 32.28 percent; and Unocal Congo holds the remaining 17.72 percent.

And in Congo, ChevronTexaco, through its affiliate companies, holds a total interest in the block of 30.5 percent and Chevron Overseas Congo Ltd. is the Operator of the 14K/A-IMI Unit.

These statistics show that indeed, the deal between the Government of Liberia and Chevron, if not a bingo for the American giant, should not be a pride for Liberia. Worse, the big question now is: how come Chevron rush to announce the seal of the deal just at the time member of the national legislature were finalizing their arguments for rectification? It was in the same week that members of the national legislature also rectified several deals.

She proposed that the “defense be given until the end of next week to file any motions they intend to file” and that there be “no recess until the end of the evidence of the trial.”

After a brief recess to deliberate on the issues, the judges returned with the following rulings:

  1. The defense will file any submissions they are supposed to have filed by September 24, 2010.
  2. The court will hold a status conference on September 27, 2010 during which it will look at the volume of pending motions.
  3. On September 27, the court will determine a date for another status conference; and
  4. A court recess will commence on Tuesday, September 28, for two weeks.

The court recess will last until Monday, October 11, and court will resume on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

With this schedule, the defense will formally close their case within the stipulated time frame, which will be followed by closing arguments by both prosecution and defense, before the judges retire to assess the entire evidence and issue their final decision on Mr. Taylor’s innocence or guilt. The court was then adjourned and will resume with a status conference on September 27, 2010.

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