Liberia: Pres. Weah Signs Into Law Amended Petroleum Act of 2019

President George M. Weah has signed into law the amended Petroleum Act of 2019.After consultations and in keeping with international and regional practices, the amended law gives rise to executive allocation of blocks to the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and increment in the block size from 2,000 sq.km to not exceed 3,500 sq.k

The President is keen on ensuring that the petroleum sector proceeds in the right direction in order to attract the requisite companies to come and invest in Liberia's Hydrocarbon Industry, according to a NOCAL release issued on Wednesday in Monrovia.

The 54th National Legislature embarked on amending some key provisions in the New Petroleum Reform Law of Liberia to update it to conform to the current reality of the sector globally.

Highlights from the Amendment for that spoke directly to the mandate of NOCAL that are the surface of offshore blocks shall not exceed 3,500 sq.km, and the surface of onshore blocks shall not exceed 2,000 sq.km.

NOCAL is presently working with TGS NOPEC to re-demarcate the basins to conform to this Provision of the Act and also for the blocks to align with the Global Grid System as mandated by ECOWAS for member States.

Petroleum Agreement may be granted in two forms - International Open Competitive Bidding; and Executive Allocation to NOCAL.

Under these arrangements NOCAL shall be granted petroleum rights through Executive Allocation in consultation with the National Legislature, and that the President shall announce the allocation of a 100% interest in a block to NOCAL through executive allocation, after which NOCAL shall exercise its commercial options to either operate a block solely, divest some of its interest in the block through farm-outs, among others.

In addition to local contents provisions in the Exploration and Production Act, each Petroleum Agreement shall contain a provision of at least five percent (5%) total equity stake for companies owned by natural persons of Liberian Citizenship. Such interest may be limited to equity interest and may not be carried interest.

Additionally, communities hosting or lying adjacent to the petroleum block shall be prioritized in the allocation of the funds derived from citizen participation in revenues from petroleum agreements.

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