Director General of Petroleum Directorate, Timothy Kabba has again made a compelling presentation on Sierra Leone’s suitability as a host for investment in the upstream Oil and Gas sub-sector. Mr. Kabba was one of five panelists that deliberated on the topic: ‘Competing for Upstream Investment-Rewriting Africa’s Story’, in the just concluded IHS Markit CERAWeek 2019, hosted in Houston Texas.
The IHS Markit CERAWeek is the world’s premier energy event held annually, and attended by the world’s top industry leaders and influencers, to evaluate the state of the industry, storm on how emerging challenges can be managed, and chart a future path for the wider energy industry, among other things. CERAWeek 2019 registered 8,000 participants!
Alongside the Energy Ministers of Kenya, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan, Mr. Kabba highlighted Sierra Leone’s comparative advantages which he noted to include both below ground and above ground factors. The promising geology as reflected in previous successive discoveries-constitutes the subsurface factors, whilst the above ground variables include stable business environment with guaranteed property rights; availability, accessibility and affordability of substantial quantities of 2D, 3D seismic and well data; use and repatriation of freely convertible currencies; adoption of an open and competitive bidding system and an inclusive and fair appraisal and approval of investment proposals, and an unambiguous consent system designed to facilitate fast-tracked work programmes; fiscal and non-fiscal incentives; and above all, an unprecedented political commitment that is aimed at ensuring a business environment that can attract and retain foreign direct investment in a sustained manner, and eventually transform the private sector into an independent, and robust engine of growth, rather than a government-dependent sector.
Mr. Kabba used the occasion to pre-announce the re-launch of the Fourth Petroleum License Round which was unavoidably paused, pending industry consultations, which has been successfully concluded with feedback informing the chosen course of action.
The event was also used as a national image re-branding opportunity particularly during the Q & A segment whereby enthusiastic participants expressed desire to get more primary information on the investment opportunities at home, to the extent that a range of hitherto unanticipated bilateral meetings were prompted and held at the margins of the main event, with inflow of positive feedback indicative of the state of readiness of small independents, as well as big players to partake in the impending re-launched Fourth Licensing Round, which is expected to be formally announced at any time.