‘No Crude Oil Discovered in Gbarnga,’ Says LPRA

Some of the locals celebrate with what they claimed is sample of the purported crude oil in a plastic bottle.

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.

Mr. Archie N. Donmo, LPRA Director General

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.


  1. Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

    We will watch it. Any resource, oil from any region MUST be control by the citizens of the region. No matter what quantity, Oil refining, steel factory, etc should be started in the Country.
    Wialliam Tolbert started oil refining In Monrovia?

    We can do most of these things by our selves. I can defend what I am saying.
    God bless us with the right leadership?

  2. Liberia has not found oil in abundance yet, and the demon of the resource curse which is accompanied by greed and corruption has kept he country paralyzed for nearly two centuries, then what would happen if it is discovered finally that there is commercial grade oil in Liberia? Liberia will go beyond a shit-hole to a hell hole.
    Studies after studies have often proven that one of the leading factors in Africa’s underdevelopment is the curse of natural resources; and such has been the case with Liberia.
    One would imagine that the riches and wealth would be evenly distributed, and that poverty, hunger, and deaths from plagues would subside if there was an abundance deriving from the tapping of Liberia’s resources.
    Conversely, the resultant correlation between the two variables has always proven to be negative in Liberia. Historians and economists alike reveal that when the discovery and drilling of raw iron ore along with the tapping of rubber saw their hey days on the world market and brought an economic boom to Liberia during the Tubman’s era, not much of the wealth from the prosperity actually trickled down to the average Liberian people anyway. As the riches increased, the rich and powerful became wealthier while the majority became poorer.
    And so if we were to turn the pages up the present, can one really boast of any remarkable achievement in the socio-economic condition of our people today?
    No. Instead, what the country has witnessed for many decades now have been tribal warfare; brutal carnage; broad daylight stealing of $16bln and $25mlm respectively; deadly political rivalries; the erection of presidential mansions while the citizens perished from starvation and curable diseases. It all derived from the crippling effects of the resource curse on Liberia.
    The discovery of more resources must always go along with adequate resource planning, resource management, and control to ensure that average Liberians are not always found below the rungs of the economic ladder in a country that God has endowed with such vast economic resources.

  3. Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

    The statement below is false. LPRA is wrong. Don’t they understand Seismic Exploration, common sense?

    “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.”

    The Country’s Leadership could be the problem?

    If the sample is actually from the local people as we can see; then we do have oil. The locals have already discovered the oil. We do not need anybody doing
    “Full Tension Gravity Gradiometry (FTG); 2D Seismic Survey “; nonsense. Infact those processes are very simple in Geophysics.

    Why will we want to expose all of our oil resources (200KM ) to the world? Bong County/Liberia be very cafeful here.

    • If what you are saying is true Peter, then you need to reach out to the leadership in charge to open their eyes and don’t rush with such disclosure to the public, soon, you will see the big names hovering over Liberia like vultures. We need to be smart!

  4. Even if it is true, what good will it do for the people of Bong County and Liberia. It will only increase one of the MANY STACKS in the pillars of VULTURES CAPITALISM.
    Since we do not have the necessary trained engineers, and firms to tap it, it will lay vulnerable to FOREIGN MONOPOLY CAPITALS, like the likes of Bong Mines, Lamco, LMC in Manor River, etc. What did Liberia actually achieved from all these by gone multinational iron ore giants.

    Any attempt by any leader to nationalized it, to serve the interest of the people, we might see the next Juan Guaido coming out of no where declaring himself the best man. Maybe, or a ‘Samuel Doe 2, announcement as the next head of state to guide and protect the foreign interest.

    The choice may as well be, ‘ poverty in freedom, than property in chains’. Let the poor Kpelle Masses of Bong County go ahead and do their farming.

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