Oil and gas is the newest wealth discovery in Sierra Leone after the war, as drilling for the first commercial exploration draws nearer, so is the Petroleum Resources Unit (PRU) building the capacity of state actors for effective monitoring and regulations of the industry.
Officials of the PRU Unit, National Revenue Authority, Environmental Protection Agency and Finance Ministry amongst others, have ended two weeks of intensive training on petroleum exploration, production and economics at the Shangri-La complex Lumley Beach
The training was facilitated by schlumberger oil and gas consulting firm based in Hague, France and Lagos providing expertise training courses on the extractive industry as a continuous form of education.
According to the lead trainer, Olayede Williams, participants of the training have shown their enthusiasm, commitment and determination in learning about oil and gas.
The Director of Petroleum Resource Unit, Tomah Jabez Nhabay, says the objective of the training is to build the human resource capacity of personnel working in government departments.
He said broader education, expertise and experience sharing is needed on oil and gas in Sierra Leone to enable personnel make a sound decision.
“We want to have technically inclined staff on oil and gas in major government departments with the view of taking the right decision on oil and gas, policy formulation and revenue generation for a proactive march with oil companies.” said the Director General.
Karifa Kargbo, the Financial Director of PRU says the only way we can get there is through capacity building to bridge the gaps sooner to catch up with oil standards.
He said two meaningful oil deposits has been explored along the offshore and drilling appraisal for commercial deposit will soon be carried out between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Karifa Kargbo also said that “we want to have a working petroleum system, we don’t know what is down the sea but we are optimistic of having large commercial deposit”
He went on “we are putting in place all the technical bits ahead of it, and also looking at possible mitigation measures on environmental pollution and spillage during exploration and drilling.
Anadarko is going to be drilling more appraisal wells with an additional exploration; a lot of activities are ahead for the oil and gas industry, Mr. Kargbo pointed out.
He also said that “we are discussing the way forward for subsequent recommendations by updating the legislation and also preparing a fiscal frame work for the oil and gas industry”
Several companies have expressed interest to embark on exploration on our offshore but the President has insisted that until a fiscal frame work is prepared with an updated legislation passed, the government is not going to make any further negotiations with oil companies.
Cross section of the participants told our reporter that the two-week training was intensive and beneficial to their human resource capacity for effective performance in their respective sectors in government.
They promised to use expertise learnt at the training on oil and gas for the development of the petroleum sector in Sierra Leone.
By Saidu Bah