Liberia: For Liberia’s Oil – Nocal May Become a Monster If…

A Ghanaian energy economist working for the natural resources firm IBIS based in the Republic of Ghana, has warned that the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) may become what he calls a monster if care is not taken in which role NOCAL plays in Liberia’s oil and gas sector.

Mr. Mohammed Amin, who is the key facilitator of a two-day civil society organizations gas and oil knowledge transfer workshop, taking place along the Robertsfield Highway, outside Monrovia, sounded the warning Wednesday, August 1, 2012, when he spoke to journalists.

The workshop is organized by the local civil society group the Liberia Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI), in collaboration with the international group, Africa Against Poverty.

Listen to Mr. Amin: “I have seen that the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) is proposing that it should play interim regulatory role rather than establishing an independent regulator to regulate operations in the (oil and gas) industry, and I think that is problematic, because what you must prevent is for the NOCAL to become a monster unto itself.”

He stated that if NOCAL will play a regulatory role in the country’s oil and gas sector, it will have to regulate itself, adding that this will not be good, because issues such as conflict of interest among others will be the order of the day.

He cautioned that if the necessary policy to properly guide Liberia oil and gas sector is not put in place, the commissioning of oil in the country will be a curse to the citizens of Liberia.

He stressed: “It is important that Liberia avoids the resource case; therefore, by ensuring that the revenues that come from oil are invested efficiently and productively in areas that will create jobs, in areas that will support the economy; even after the oil is depleted.”

He added that it is also important that resources that will be accrued from the oil and gas sector be used to build strong institutions such as the Legislature and civil society.

He recommended that in the event of signing oil contracts, the Legislature and not the President should be the last resort to approve contracts before they (oil contracts) become effective, adding that: “It shouldn’t end with presidential approval, because the parliament (Legislature) is an accountability body which have oversight responsibility over the country’s resources.”

But NOCAL’s Vice President for Public Affairs, Israel Akinsanya, when contacted, refuted the Ghanaian energy economist’s claim of conflict of interest regarding NOCAL’s role in the oil and gas sector.

He divulged that due to the current law governing the sector, it gives NOCAL the authority to play a regulatory role, but he was quick to point out that the company’s present role does not in any way place it in the position of conflict of interest, adding that this is why NOCAL has embarked upon a vigorous reform process.

He among others stated that the NOCAL’s reform effort is contingent upon what role the citizens of Liberia will determine the company to play in the future. – Heritage


Posted by on Aug 12 2012. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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