27 March 2013

Liberia: House Concurs With Senate On Block 13

Despite the former Solicitor General of Liberia Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe's warning to members of the House of Representatives to reject the new Production-Sharing Contract (PSC) negotiated by the National Oil Company of Liberia with Exxon Mobil for Oil Block 13, the plenary of the House has finally concurred with the Liberian Senate.

Block 13 has been a controversial deal for some time now in the country. Now that it is ratified by the National Legislature, the deal would give Liberian government US$50 million up front in a signing fee from Exxon Mobil. Liberia would also receive 10 to 15 per cent royalties on the oil, depending on the depth from which it comes.

But in his appearance before a public hearing by the House Committee on Lands, Mines, and Energy into the renegotiated Block 13 deal on Monday, March 25, 2013, Cllr. Gongloe declared that the PSC should be rejected until Liberians learn lessons from the exploitation of oil and gas under the contracts that have already been approved by the Legislature.

At yesterday's session, Montserrado County District # 6 Representative Edwin Snowe made a motion that the renegotiated deal be one of the best concession agreements for the country and as such the House should do the right thing to concur with the Liberian Senate so that Liberians can benefit from the deal.

Two-third of the 73 Representatives spoke well about the agreement and described it as a perfect one for the country.

Rep. Snowe's motion was seconded and a vote was taken on the floor of the chambers. 58 Representatives voted for the deal while none went against it. Rep. Gray, Rep. Youngblood, Rep. Chambers and Rep. Gabriel Smith abstained from the vote.

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