The Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) recently held a meeting with representatives of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Liberia Chambers of Commerce (LCC) and the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) as part of effort to ensuring that Liberian – owned companies fully participate in the country’s ongoing offshore petroleum licensing round.
During the meeting held on Friday, 5 June, LPRA explain the processes and relevance of Liberian companies participating in the licensing round. LPRA Director-General, Archie Donmo stressed during the meeting the significance of Liberian companies participating in the petroleum sector. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity which is potentially one of the means of promoting private sector growth in this county,” he says.
Participating institutions at the meeting lauded LPRA for the initiative, expressing interest in working with the authority in ensuring that Liberian companies are fully involved in the petroleum sector particularly during the 2020 offshore licensing round.
According to LPRA, the calls for more Liberian companies’ involvement in the 2020 offshore licensing round hinges on President George MannehWeah’s inaugural promise that “Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy.”
The desire to incorporat more Liberians or indigenous businesses is further based on the indigenization mandate by the Liberian government as required in Section 36 (a) of the Amended Petroleum Law of Liberia which sets aside a mandatory 5% interest in all petroleum agreements to companies owned by natural persons of Liberian citizenship. To facilitate the enforcement of this provision, LPRA is conducting pre-qualification of Liberian companies and has issued a request for expression of interest.
The pre-qualification process which started 17 March this year was scheduled to end on 30 June. However, due to an appeal from the Liberian business community, especially the LCC, LIBA and PATEL and in consideration of the state of emergency as a result of the Covid-19, the authority has extended the deadline for expression of interest to 31 July.
LPRA also believes the total involvement of Liberians in the sector will also help to spur growth and enhance financial capacities of locals—which in turn will help to alleviate poverty.
The oil and gas sector, with the help of the government through the LPRA, would be a pacesetter for a Liberian middle class. Nine offshore blocks in the Harper Basin are being tendered during the licensing round. This region represents Liberia’s most prospective geological regions and the only unexplored and undrilled region in West Africa Transformed Margin.