In a first for Liberia, Chevron Liberia Ltd has opened a laydown yard in the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, located about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southeast of Monrovia.
Completed in mid-2013, the laydown yard will make exploratory drilling activities more efficient, reducing the time it takes to move materials such as pipes and casing to a drillship from days to hours.
The facility represents a key step forward in Chevron's three-year exploration program and aligns with the company's goal of building sustainable economies by employing local workers and supporting local businesses.
Feasibility studies conducted by Chevron Liberia Ltd. concluded that the Port of Buchanan has the potential to be developed into a full-service hydrocarbon supply base.
"With the right business climate, competitive prices and good business practices, Buchanan can attract oil service companies to operate in Liberia, which will be transformative for the port," said Karl Cottrell, country manager for Chevron Liberia Ltd. "We hope construction of the laydown yard helps catalyze further business investment in Buchanan."
Discussions with the Liberia National Port Authority and the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) around the possibility of building a storage yard began in 2011, and Chevron began working on the yard in November 2012.
Though the contractor, UMARCO, 60 Liberians were hired for construction of the facility, seven of which were mentored in the skill of lifting and rigging during the project timeframe. Once construction of the yard was completed, the equipment was delivered to the port by a large vessel and the offloading and stacking process began.
While the delicate process of material stacking was performed extremely well by the workers, the most outstanding achievement is that they completed more than 8,000 work-hours without an injury or incident and made more than 865 lifts in a safe and controlled environment.
Speaking at a grand opening ceremony, President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Gbehzohngar Findley, and Superintendent of Grand Bassa County, Etweda Cooper, thanked Chevron Liberia Ltd. for establishing the yard and expressed hope that the investment will help bring business opportunities to the Port of Buchanan and all of Liberia.
Minister of Justice Christina Tah and NOCAL Vice President Marie Parker said they were pleased with Chevron's use of local content because they foresee opportunities for Liberians being trained in technical and vocational skills and for those wishing to further their education in geology and other areas.