Randolph & Seward,
I want first of all to commend you on the very creative manner in which you have approached the vexing question of how to enable Liberians to participate meaningfully in the current bid round for the 4 remaining offshore oil blocks: LB-06, LB-07, LB-16 & LB-17, both as regards local content of services to be provided and direct equity participation by Liberian citizens alongside international oil companies (IOCs) in our fledgling oil industry.
Indeed, I note that you took a leaf directly out of my playbook as regards Liberian equity participation (see the below/attached copy of my memo dated January 10, 2012 to the then-president of NOCAL, Christopher Neyor, in which I recommended that the bidding procedure include an incentive to IOCs to “carry” Liberian citizens with a 5-10% equity participation in their bids). One significant omission from your rules is an anti-corruption provision that I recommended: namely, that Liberian government officials (to be legally defined in the bid documents) be prohibited from participating in bids.
My one criticism of the process is that it was not given sufficient publicity inside Liberia, thus opening it to legal challenge now or in the future from myself or other Liberians like me who might have wanted to participate in this great opportunity. If you want the process to be seen as truly transparent and a genuine effort to garner as wide a participation of Liberian citizens as possible, then you should have taken a slice out of NOCAL’s considerable media budget to mount a vigorous publicity campaign in Liberia through print (newspapers) and broadcast (radio and television) media to bring your 2014 bid round to public attention.
I consider myself to be amongst those Liberians that are informed, but I only heard of this bid round through casual conversation with one of your vice presidents, Pete Norman, a couple of days ago. I rushed to NOCAL’s website, only to find out that I had missed the boat.
I therefore recommend the following:
that you immediately extend the close of pre-qualification by 90 days, from October 3, 2014 to December 3, 2014;
that you extend the deadline for bid submission by 90 days, from October 31, 2014 to January 31, 2015;
that you extend the date for opening of the bids by 90 days, from November 3, 2014 to February 3, 2015; and
that you extend the date of notification to the successful bidders by 90 days, from November 17, 2014 to February 17, 2015.
I am copying my lawyers, Cllr. Musah Dean, who also happens to be a former president of NOCAL, and Larry Gibson of the Baltimore, Md-law firm of Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler, as well as the editors of Frontpage Africa and the Daily Observer, and Hon. Adolph Lawrence, chairman of the House committee on Energy, and Hon. Gbehzohngar Findley, president pro tempore of the Liberian Senate.