NOCAL CEO to Drive Discussions Around Liberia’s Frontier Opportunities at AEW 2023

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At African Energy Week, Saifuah Mai Gray, President and CEO of the National Oil Company of Liberia, will participate in crucial discussions around Liberia’s E&P activities, local content and sustainability practices.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), the voice of the African energy sector, is proud to announce that Saifuah Mai Gray, President and CEO of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), will speak at the African Energy Week (AEW) conference and exhibition, scheduled to take place from October 16-20 in Cape Town. Gray will provide insight into the country’s frontier energy opportunities while making a strong case for the sustainable development of energy in Africa.

As the country seeks to increase electricity access from 12% to 70% by 2030, promoting local content becomes vital for sustainable and inclusive growth. NOCAL, through initiatives like the Liberia Energy Access Practitioner Network, fosters the participation of local companies, workforces and industries in the energy sector. This approach not only drives job creation and skill development but also empowers local businesses to engage in the supply chain and contribute to Liberia’s economic empowerment.

As the President and CEO of NOCAL, Gray plays a crucial role in shaping Liberia’s energy landscape and driving the exploration and utilization of the country’s hydrocarbons. With over 70 years of experience in petroleum exploration, NOCAL has been at the forefront of the quest for oil in Liberia, spearheading exploration and production alongside its partners. In the early 2000s, NOCAL played a pivotal role in developing the New Petroleum Law of Liberia and preparing the Model Production Sharing Contract (PSC) that served as the basis for negotiating petroleum agreements. During this period, a non-exclusive 2D seismic survey was conducted by TGS-NOPEC, leading to the division of offshore Liberia into 17 offshore blocks.

In the following years, NOCAL launched a third bid round for additional Blocks LB1 through LB5. Although no awards were made, TGS-NOPEC’s acquisition of 2D seismic data in the deep waters of Liberia revealed 13 ultra-deepwater blocks, thereby expanding exploration opportunities. In 2014, the New Petroleum E&P Law was passed, which was signed into law in 2016. However, due to the downturn in oil prices, all players in the Liberian basin relinquished their licensed areas by 2016. In response, the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority was established in December 2018 to take on all regulatory functions in accordance with the New Petroleum E&P Law of 2014.

To adapt to the changing landscape, NOCAL made amendments to the New Petroleum E&P Law in 2019. These amendments included increasing the block size and introducing Direct Negotiations and Executive Allocation to NOCAL as alternative methods for granting petroleum rights to companies interested in exploring the basins. Currently, preparations for bid rounds are underway, reflecting NOCAL’s continued commitment to further exploration and production activities in the region. As NOCAL forges ahead with its E&P agenda, it remains at the forefront of driving responsible and sustainable petroleum exploration in Liberia.

Liberia’s thriving energy sector, coupled with the proactive efforts of its NOCAL, is successfully attracting the interest of major International Oil Companies (IOC) like ExxonMobil. Demonstrating its commitment to exploring the untapped potential of Liberia’s offshore resources, ExxonMobil has expressed keen interest in four exploration blocks – Blocks LB-15, LB-16, LB-22, and LB-24 – which are strategically positioned in the Liberia Basin. Liberia’s ongoing direct negotiation process further strengthens the country’s appeal to IOCs like ExxonMobil. With 33 offshore blocks opened for direct negotiations with the government in 2021, Liberia is fostering an environment of collaboration and partnership with international energy players.

“Liberia holds tremendous untapped potential in its energy sector. With ambitious targets to increase electricity access and a commitment to promoting local content, the country is well-positioned for growth and development. As NOCAL continues to explore and utilize Liberia’s hydrocarbon resources responsibly, it has an opportunity to drive economic empowerment and improve the lives of its citizens. Liberia’s energy potential is a valuable asset that can power progress and prosperity for the nation,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.

During AEW, Gray will share valuable insights on the impact of energy education campaigns, local content and sustainability. Additionally, the NOC head will provide insight into Liberia’s E&P opportunities and the value of partnerships with international investors to foster a vibrant and competitive energy sector in the country.

AEW is the AEC’s annual energy conference and exhibition uniting African energy policymakers and companies with global investors to discuss the future of Africa’s energy sector. For more information about attendance, sponsorship and partnership opportunities, visit www.aecweek.com