-As LPRA meets with indigenous businesses; extends pre-qualification timeframe
As a means of ensuring that Liberian owned companies fully participate in the country’s ongoing offshore petroleum licensing round, the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) on Friday, June 5, 2020, held a meeting with representatives of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Liberia Chambers of Commerce (LCC) and the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) to fully explain the processes and relevance of Liberian companies participating in the licensing round.
During the meeting, the LPRA Director-General, Hon. Archie Donmo, stressed the significance of Liberian companies participating in the petroleum sector and pointed out, “I encourage everyone to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity which is potentially one of the means of promoting private sector growth in this country.”
Participating institutions of the meeting lauded the LPRA for the initiative and expressed interest in working with the Authority in ensuring that Liberian companies are fully involved in the petroleum sector, particularly during the 2020 offshore licensing round.
According to the LPRA, the calls for more Liberian companies involvement in the 2020 offshore licensing round is hinged on President George Weah’s promise, through his inaugural address in January 2018, that under his watch, “Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy.”
The desire to incorporating more Liberians or indigenous businesses is further based on the indigenization mandate by the Liberian government as required in section 36(a) of the Amended Petroleum Law of Liberia, which sets aside a mandatory 5% interest in all petroleum agreements to companies owned by natural persons of Liberian citizenship.
To facilitate the enforcement of this provision, LPRA is conducting pre-qualification of Liberian companies and has issued a request for expression of interest.
The pre-qualification process, which started March 17, 2020, was scheduled to end June 30, 2020. However, due to an appeal from the Liberian business community, especially the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), Liberian Business Association (LIBA) and Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) and, in consideration of the state of emergency as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Authority has extended the deadline for expression of interest to Friday, July 31, 2020.
LPRA also believes the total involvement of Liberians in the sector will also help to spur growth and enhance financial capacities of locals — which in turn will help to alleviate poverty. The oil and gas sector, with the help of the government through the LPRA, would be a pacesetter for a Liberian middle class,” a top Liberian economist told the Daily Observer via social media. “They are doing a great job with the engagement with the local businesses and they (LPRA officials), should be encouraged to do more as Liberians have suffered too long and there is a need they have shares of their natural resources,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Q&A zoom meeting is scheduled to be held on Friday, June 12 at which time Liberian companies interested in participating in the ongoing licensing round will be given the opportunity to ask the necessary questions relating to the bid round. LPRA encourages Liberian companies to take advantage of this opportunity and position themselves as partners in the quest for hydrocarbon resources.
Nine offshore blocks in the Harper Basin are being tendered during the licensing round. This region represents Liberia’s most prospective geological regions and the only unexplored and undrilled region in the West Africa Transformed Margin. The 2020 Liberia Offshore Licensing Round runs from April 10, 2020-February 28, 2021.