The Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 refuted reports of a any oil discovery in Gbarnga, Bong County, specifically at places where the Liberia Electricity has its former transmitter site along the Jor River as was reported by a local daily.
The company’s denial came following the visit of the county’s Electoral District #3 Representative Josiah Marvin Cole to the DEECO Oil and Gas Ltd on June 1, 2019 in Gbarnga where he reported that there was a discovery of oil in that central Liberian town.
In a press release, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, the LPRA clarified that a banner headline in the Heritage newspaper “Crude Oil Discovered in Bong, But…” and the online edition of the Analyst newspaper “Crude Oil Discovered in Bong? -DEECO Oil and Gas Ltd wants Bongese to pray for commercial quantity”, respectively, were nothing but false and misleading.
The LPRA is the statutory government entity responsible to grant petroleum rights and supervise all activities relating to the upstream petroleum sector. Being mindful of its core values and responsibility to efficiently and transparently manage the sector, the entity granted DEECO Liberia Limited, a subsidiary of DEECO Oil and Gas Limited (registered in Nigeria), a Reconnaissance License (No. LPR-001: Seismic Data Acquisition and Technical Evaluation) to collect preliminary geological and geophysical data within Jorquelleh District along the Jor River, in keeping with the New Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Reform Law of 2014.
LPRA Director General Archie N. Donmo said its record shows that DEECO has not commenced any operation within Liberia regarding its obligation under the license to discover oil, but it (DEECO Oil and Gas Ltd) informed LPRA that it is mobilizing efforts (financially and technically) to commence seismic data acquisition and technical evaluation in keeping with the Petroleum Law and the Reconnaissance License.
But DEECO, during a notification this week to LPRA, denied releasing any information to the media or individual relating to oil discovery in Gbarnga in consideration of its operations” the release said.
In its statement on Monday, July 8, quoting the chairman of DEECO, Sunday Popools said that “I told LPRA that DEECO had only acquired a Reconnaissance License few weeks ago from the Liberian Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and was therefore mobilizing all efforts to commence the work as stipulated in the license.
“I re-iterated that it is only after we have conducted seismic survey, and hopefully drilled exploratory wells that a test may confirm oil in commercial quantity,” Mr. Donmo is quoted as saying.
In response, LPRA said under the reconnaissance license, DEECO is not authorized to engage in exploratory drilling, as such rights are granted through a Petroleum Sharing Agreement in conformity with the Petroleum Law of 2014.
Under this reconnaissance license, according to LPRA, DEECO is required to conduct Acquisition, Processing and Interpretation of Full Tension Gravity Gradiometry (FTG); 2D Seismic Survey of minimal 100 to 200 km; and 3D as both LPRA and DEECO may agree.
There are many stages in the oil and gas development paradigm, according to LPRA. It starts with prospecting, which includes seismic survey and later exploratory drilling, appraisal, development, production and abandonment. Any chance of oil discovery is only made at the exploration drilling and appraisal stages.
LPRA said that taking into consideration that DEECO is beginning to commence data (seismic) acquisition, it is impossible for there to be any determination about an oil discovery.
LPRA used Tuesday’s press conference to encourage the public to continue reading its website (www.lpra.gov.lr) for regular updates on its operations relating to the oil and gas program in the country.