|US Ambassador assures Petroleum Directorate|
By State House Communication Unit
The Ambassador of the United States of America in Sierra Leone, John Hoover, on Wednesday January 25, 2017, promised to do his utmost to convince foreign investors, especially oil companies in the US to visit the newly established data room at the Petroleum Directorate.
He was speaking during a briefing session with the management and staff of the directorate at their Hill Station Office in Freetown.
Prior to the meeting, Ambassador Hoover was taken on a conducted tour of the eight work stations and data room by the Director General of the Petroleum Directorate, Raymond S. Kargbo. On behalf of his team, Kargbo then gave a general overview of the progress made so far by the directorate.
During the meeting, Mustapha Koroma, Senior Geophysicist of the Directorate gave a brief background of exploration in Sierra Leone which he said began in the early eighties with initial work focused on shallow waters which led to the drilling of 2 offshore wells. These two wells, Koroma explained, were later plunged and abandoned due to fall in oil price and the unavailability of technology at the time.
As part of government’s effort to revamp the economy after the 11 year civil war, he said an MoU was signed with Geophysical Service Company for the acquisition of 2D seismic data offshore Sierra Leone and demarcated 7 exploration blocks and hence an Act of Parliament was passed in 2001 to establish the Petroleum Resource Unit (PRU) to regulate and Monitor petroleum operations in the country.
This act, Koroma further said, was repealed by the 2011 Act and subsequently, the PRU was replaced by the Petroleum Directorate. He said from 2003 to 2013, the petroleum directorate was able to attract 8 operators with over 15 partners, but this trend was halted between the period 2013 to 2015 as most operators and their partners left the basin owing to reasons related to low oil price in the world market, the Ebola outbreak, and the huge challenge involved in drilling deep waters.
However, current wells drilled in the country, Koroma revealed, proved the Sierra Leone basin to have a working petroleum system, with abundant prospects. This prospective value Mustapha Koroma emphasized, persuaded the Director General to approach the World Bank for technical assistance, which the latter responded by providing funds to hire the services of a consultancy company, procured 6 computer work stations and 4 licences for G&G analysis of data.
He added that owing to interrupted power supply, and the delicacy of the computer work stations, the directorate used part of the World Bank funding to procure an equivalent of 4KvA Power backup system that can run for 72 hours without power from the national grid and 2 dedicated technical servers to host the data.
The Senior Geophysicist highlighted the goals achieved from the World Bank & the directorate funded program which included the building of a national data archive, construction of a master PDSL Technical Workstation Project, step change in I.T. and power infrastructure to PDSL, 2D & 3D Seismic Data Interpretation, post-well analysis on the discoveries, GIS Capacity Building and Promotional Material Presentation and the setting up of data room for potential investors to view the data.
He said from 2005 to 2016, the directorate endeavoured to train and recruit 6 geologists, 2 geophysicists, 2 petroleum engineers, 1 petroleum economist, 3 petroleum lawyers and other supporting staff. In order to keep the momentum of the above achievement, Koroma on behalf of the directorate requested for extension of training, renewal of 4 kingdom software licences, purchase of additional 2 for G&G work, replacement of four years old computer work stations, additional server among others.
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