Chevron still upbeat about developing energy sector in Sierra Leone

Ambassador John Hoover

Chevron, the American energy corporation, has renewed interest in doing business in Sierra Leone, according to a State House Communication unit report.

This week, John Hoover, the American envoy to Sierra Leone, met with Raymond Kargbo, the director general of Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Directorate, at Hill Station in Freetown, the capital city.

The US ambassador recalled that Chevron pulled out because of low commercial viability.

“We would work with you to avoid the situation that happened in Uganda as they were doing their petroleum exploration," Ambassador Hoover said. "Expectations ran far ahead of reality."

Three years ago, Chevron Corp. announced that its subsidiary Chevron (SL) Ltd. had been awarded participation in two deep-water blocks located offshore Sierra Leone.

Spanning over nearly 2,100 square miles, the blocks were located between 75 miles and 110 miles to the southwest of Freetown, the capital city. The two blocks - SL-08A and SL-08B - were reportedly put together to form one concession and at average water depths of 4,900 feet to 9,800 feet.

The subsidiary of Chevron was to act as operator of the venture.

Under the award, Chevron (SL) Ltd. would be the operator with a 55 percent interest, along with domestic units of Noble Energy SL Limited. (30 percent) and Odye (SL) Ltd. (15 percent).   The Sierra Leone National Oil Company had a 15 percent back-in option in the project at the final investment decision stage.

This week, according to State House,  the director-general of Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Directorate told Ambassador Hoover the directorate is now working on a legal framework that would harmonize relationship with other government of Sierra Leone ministries, departments and agencies, including the private sector.

Raymond Kargbo, director general, Sierra Leone Petroleum
Mr. Kargbo also said a team from the directorate will travel to Britain to meet with a consultancy on the design of the legal framework. He also noted that the directorate would be looking into best practices, audit, and data management, as they need to manage data and do aggressive marketing to attract investors.

U.S. Ambassador Hoover said oil and gas can fuel Sierra Leone's economic growth and sustainable development as well as be one of the top properties of government.

“We can help with data management and work with you to attract U.S. companies and capital," the American envoy said. "My pledge is to do my best and my commitment is to help with U.S. investments.”

In 2012, Chevron management was upbeat about its contribution in developing the energy sector of Sierra Leone and stated that the collaboration will broaden the company's portfolio of assets in Africa and will pave way for further exploration opportunities.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron is engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, refining and marketing of petroleum products, manufacturing of chemicals, and other energy-related businesses.

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