–Incorporates new flexible and attractive commercial terms
The Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA), has announced an extension of the timeframe for the Liberia License Round 2020, affecting nine (9) blocks in the highly prospective Harper Basin.
Launched in April 2020, the licensing round attracted interests from diverse major players within the oil and gas industries with a then expected closure of October 2020. This was after the government had previous announced on October 31, 2020 the deadline for pre-qualification — which qualified candidates were required to finally submit their bids by February 2021.
But on Tuesday, November 10, the LPRA, on behalf of the government, announced an extension of the deadline for pre-qualification from October 31, 2020, to March 31, 2021, while the new deadline for submission of bids by qualified companies will now run from April 30, 2021, to May 31, 2021.
The LPRA, in a release, said that it will issue a notice of awards to companies whose bids have been accepted and evaluated as most responsive and invite same to formalize a petroleum sharing agreement.
The new adjustment, the LPRA said, aims to allow interested parties the opportunity to absorb the shock of the Coronavirus and low prices while reanalyzing their investment portfolio.
“In a critically challenging period like this, the government believes that is the best and most responsible thing to do in order to accommodate and extenuate the risk associated with an investment in the petroleum sector,” the LPRA said.
But the Authority has said that the extension is due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 and the drastic slump in oil prices over the designated period.
In addition to the extension of the bid round, LPRA has also announced new changes to the commercial terms as a means of incentivizing investment in Liberia.
“These changes include the adjustment of requirements for signature bonus from a minimum of 8 million United States Dollars payable in one tranche to a more flexible option,” the release noted, adding that under this new adjustment, there will be no minimum requirement, thereby allowing companies to submit bids describing their proposal for a signature bonus.
This allows the industry to determine the signature value for each block based on submissions. In addition to designating the signature bonus as a biddable item, LPRA has announced that interested bidders will have an opportunity to negotiate a payment schedule with the Government of Liberia. “Also, LPRA has modified the mandatory 2D seismic data purchase requirement for the entire Harper Basin to require interested bidders to license 2D seismic data for the particular block (s) of interest,” the release noted.