The NEWS (Monrovia)

24 April 2014

Liberia: Ellen Visits Oil Rig

Photo: Chevron Liberia
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chats with U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac (far right) and Senate Pro Tempore Gbehzongar Findley (in middle) on Chevron oil rig.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has paid a visit to the rig, some 15 nautical miles off the Liberian coast, where ongoing oil exploration by the United States energy company, Chevron, is taking place.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader said she was highly impressed by the level of involvement of the Liberian workforce in activities at the rig which demonstrates adherence to local content commitment.

President Sirleaf said she was glad that Liberians on board are handling other technical operations on the rig which sends a signal that they can do even better when giving the chance.

She encouraged her compatriots assigned on the West Tellus to continue to be committed and dedicated as they serve as ambassadors on the Chevron rig as well as examples for potential Liberians who could be recruited to work in the industry.

Demonstrating this, Mr. Alfred Johnson Kamara, a Liberian, led President Sirleaf on a guided tour of the gigantic marine carrier, explaining various functions and duties of each section at the amazement of the President.

"The commitment demonstrated by the national staff," President Sirleaf said, "was in further manifestation of how Liberians continue to tell the world that they have skills and only needed to be tapped."

This is not the first time Chevron has praised Liberians about their commitment to duty. Three years ago, several vehicle operators of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) were sent to the United States where they underwent training on how to operate the presidential fleet. The Liberians performed exceptionally well ahead of other nationals also participating in the training.

President Sirleaf emphasized that the performance displayed by young Liberians showed how they can perform when given the opportunity. She was responding to a national staff of Chevron who expressed gratitude to her administration for creating investment opportunity that resulted to their recruitment in the drilling industry.

The Liberian leader appealed to the Chairman of the Board of National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), Cllr. Seward Cooper to take into consideration the pleas of the national staff on the rig for training opportunities.

Cllr. Cooper praised the enthusiasm of the local staff and promised NOCAL's continuous help to educate Liberians who would allow them to fully participate in Liberia's oil future.

The spokesperson for the national staff Abraham Sanvee expressed gratitude to President Sirleaf and appealed to her to create more training opportunities for Liberians especially in the vocational-technical and non-degree granting areas.

Mr. Sanvee said there were many Liberians who are not in the position to obtain degrees but willing to undergo training in vocational and technical areas that they are currently specialized in.

He said by the recent promotion of several Liberians from one position to the other, they can even do better and are willing to undergo these short-term training programs.

The Project Manager Wayne West, speaking earlier, informed the President that the national staff serve as inspiration to the drilling process due to their commitment to duty in all areas of their assignments.

According to him, of all the deep sea drilling experiences on the marine craft, the West Tellus, Liberians have demonstrated the highest degree of commitment, integrity and efficiency in drilling and have at the same time learned their assigned duties in a relatively short period of time.

Mr. West used the occasion to inform the Liberian leader that being encouraged by their performance the company has also afforded them refresher training opportunities in Singapore and Ghana on a periodic basis.

Recently, 23 Liberian rig workers flew to Singapore to undergo capacity-building training; while 18 others including one female are expected to depart for training in Namibia shortly.

Mr. West, however, outlined the challenges in collaborating with Liberians in the area of environmental waste management which, he said, is costing the company huge amounts of money because they've had to hire a Ghanaian-based company to handle this aspect of the work.

He encouraged Liberians to get involved as Chevron is willing to collaborate with Liberian-owned businesses in realizing their dream.

On the drilling itself being done by Seadrill, Mr. West said while they crave for commercial quantity, there is still no clue as to what to expect during the exploration. Chevron China Energy Company signed a contract worth upwards of $150 million for a 180-day project off the coast of Liberia that is being carried out by Seadrill. The West Tellus is outfitted to work in up to 10,000 feet of water and is capable of water depths of up to 12,000 feet and drilling depths of up to 37,000 feet.

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