October 9, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Petroleum Directorate Sierra Leone has put together a budget of Le7.530billion for the 2020 financial year to be able to regulate and promote upstream petroleum exploration, development and production.
The 2001 Petroleum Act established the Petroleum Resources Unit in the Office of the President. The unit was however, replaced by the Petroleum Directorate in the 2011 amended Act.
Presenting at the ongoing bilateral budget discussions, Director General, Timothy M. Kabba,stated that they have a mandate of regulating the licensing and participation of commercial entities in the sector.
He disclosed that in 2018, they were able to intensify consultation to determine a competitive path for the award of offshore exploration licensing and set up a technical data rooms in Freetown and London.
He noted that one of their deliverables for 2019 was to attract reputable international oil companies to the country’s basin for oil and gas exploration and production activities, which is still ongoing.
“We are currently doing aggressive marketing of Sierra Leone’s hydrocarbon potentials. We have created partnership for optimised licensing round,” he said.
With regards strengthening the regulatory framework and related compliance enforcement, Mr. Kabba disclosed that they have hired the services of an international petroleum advisory and consultancy firm to review the legislative framework and advise on amendment needs.
Also, the Director General noted that in a bid to expand the scope of oil and gas exploration in the country, a partnership for the acquisition of Long offset 2D data covering shallow-ultra deep offshore environment have been secured.
He stated that for the 2020 financial year, they hope to conclude the Fourth Licensing round, negotiation and award of blocks to credible international oil companies and also design and implement an in-house E-procurement platform.
He highlighted the sluggish oil price in the world market, timely disbursement of allocated funds and the outcome of the Fourth Licensing Round, which is heavily dependent on other exogenous factors as their challenges.
During the deliberations, the technical committee and stakeholders present commended the Director of Finance, Zainu Deen Karim for the way the finances of the institution have been handled with fiscal discipline at the centre of it.