By Mohamed Lamin Banya
The Director General of the Petroleum Directorate Timothy Kabba has disclosed that, six companies have applied for acreages since the fourth licensing round bid was opened.
The Directorate according to the Director General on January 2018 launched the fourth licenses round for bidding but that they received no interest because of the elections and the abysmal price of oil and gas on the international market.
Timothy Kabba was speaking during the bid opening of documents presented to the directorate by the applying companies.
The Petroleum Directorate is the regulatory institution charged with the statutory mandate of overseeing, promoting and running the affairs of upstream hydrocarbon in the Sierra Leone jurisdiction.
Timothy Kabba added that, the Directorate suspended the round after they failed to secure a bidder during the cause of the election, noting that, the feedback they get from different companies during consultations inspired a strategy they adopted for competitiveness of the round.
Mr. Kabba went on to say that the Directorate reached a conclusion to re-launch the round in April this year, citing that himself and a cross section of the PDSL participated in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in San Antonio, USA where they formally re-launched the round to an international audience with interest in oil and gas companies.
“There are two categories of applications based on areas of interest. We graticulated our block system and we considered the risk associated with the different areas of our base i.e. water bed and availability of technology to explore for oil and gas,” he said.
He noted that, they opened direct engagement with companies for areas that are ultra-deep in the ultra-deep environment of water depth in excess of 2,500 meters, citing that, the thrust behind the strategy was to identify companies that have verifiable technical and commercial capabilities.
“Finally when we reached the closure of the fourth licenses round previously in November last year, we started having applications coming in and we wanted to give a fair chance to these companies to express their interest in a competitive and challenging oil and gas environment,” he added.
He disclosed that, the sector is deteriorated and that there are factors responsible for that; principally among which is the Corona Pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Director General said that, they have excess of dumping of about 4-5 million barrels every day and since the challenges became compounded with excess of about 12 billion barrels excess in the inventory; this makes our industry very unattractive.