24 February 2014

Liberia: Did Motherwell Abandon Liberia- LPRC Dismisses Report

Monrovia — Reports that Motherwell is bolted out of a contract to refurbish storage tanks at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) are far from the truth, according to LPRC's Managing Director Mr. T. Nelson Williams.

LPRC says Project to Refurbish Storage Tanks on Course for 2015 Completion

LPRC Managing Director Williams, responding to a FrontPageAfrica inquiry said the Motherwell Bridge Limited rehabilitation and expansion project is ongoing.

"The MBL project management team and workers are on site. Yes, another group that was working on certain aspects of the project left while the new team arrived to continue other works as indicated in the status update. The project is on track to be completed by August, 2015."

In July 2010, Motherwell Bridge won a multi-million pound contract to build and refurbish storage tanks in Liberia. As part of the deal, Motherwell Bridge is to renovate and build 22 oil storage tanks at the LPRC site. The project was trumpeted to create 33 jobs for Liberians directly with Motherwell Bridge and 40-50 jobs indirectly with civil and electrical contractors.

The three-year contract worth more than 14 million to build a petroleum products storage had been penciled in for completion in 2013 in a bid to significantly increase the fuel holding capacity of Liberia.

Due to the civil war some fourteen storage tanks had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The refurbishing would have also increased storage of fuels including kerosene, automotive gas oil and aviation fuel.

Last August, Mr. Russell Ward, Chief Executive Officer of Motherwell Bridge Ltd was in Liberia and met with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during which time, the President praised the UK-based engineering company for the level of work done there so far.

During that meeting, the President said, although the project took a long time to jump-start, she was glad about the progress being reported, which will increase Liberia's capacity to maintain adequate supplies of petroleum products for commerce in Liberia.

At the time, the President also called on the company to make the provision of jobs for Liberians a priority within its operations, as a means of fighting unemployment in the country.

Companies operating in the country, she noted, can serve as major partners in addressing Liberia's unemployment rate. It is unclear how many Liberians are currently employed on the project.

Ward said in his meeting with Sirleaf at the time that the company had completed at least 5 of the product storage tanks out of a total of 14 and the entire project would be completed by July 2015 as he expressed the company's readiness to continue working with Liberia in the government's drive for infrastructural development.

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