The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) welcomes the announcement by African Petroleum that their Narina-1 exploratory well drilled in Block LB-09 off the coast of Liberia indicated a potentially large accumulation of oil deposits, while emphasising that development of any discovery will take several years.
The exploration and preliminary discovery by African Petroleum provides further evidence of Liberia's strong offshore prospects, part of the same geological system that has yielded significant discoveries in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. It reflects the policy of the Liberian government to form strategic commercial partnerships with the private sector to explore those prospects and use any discovery for the maximum benefit and development of Liberia and its people.
Although early indications are positive, the exact extent of the deposits found in LB-09 is not yet known. African Petroleum will now conduct tests to further evaluate the quantity of the oil discovered, a process expected to take several months. This evaluation will indicate whether the deposits are in sufficient quantity to be commercially viable for production. Once appraised, the deposits will then take five to seven years until production can begin.
The President and CEO of NOCAL, Dr Randolph McClain, said today:
"This news is good news for Liberia, and we are cautiously optimistic. We do not yet really know how much is down there. But we know, according to African Petroleum, that this discovery is of very good to excellent quality oil. We will be working with African Petroleum to develop a better picture. So now, we urge everyone to be very patient. It will take time to fully appraise this discovery, and years before a drop of oil is produced from the well.
In the meantime, we have to work double time to get our house in order in terms of reforming our policies, laws and regulations for total transparency in the oil sector. We are also determined to develop the safety, health and environmental policies to avoid any adverse or catastrophic incidents. We look forward to working with all the stakeholders – within government, in the private sector, in civil society organizations and, most importantly, the public. We plead for your participation. Let's work together to set a vision.
Our goal remains the goal set out by the President, H.E., Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: that the revenue from any oil found in Liberia will be used for the development of Liberia and the maximum benefit of the Liberian people. If commercial quantities become available, the income from these quantities can be used to improve the lives of our people, to attain self-sufficiency, and to ensure sustainable development. To achieve that, we remain committed to the principles of transparency, sustainability, inclusiveness and safety, health and environmental care in all our activities to manage the petroleum sector.
We want to commend African Petroleum and all our partners in the private sector for continuing to work with professionalism and efficiency to explore Liberia's prospects, and re-iterate our commitment to fair, equitable and strong commercial partnerships going forward."
The finding by African Petroleum took place in Block LB-09, off the coast of Liberia, one of two blocks being operated by the company under a Production Sharing Agreement negotiated by the Executive and ratified by the Legislature in 2008. The exploratory well is among several being drilled during 2011 and 2012 by different world class operators.