Energy companies African Petroleum Corp and Anadarko have announced that they have struck oil off the coasts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, raising hopes that an oil bonanza could spur growth in the war-scarred West African nations.
African Petroleum Chief Executive Karl Thompson said in a statement Tuesday that the company’s Narina-1 well had located “good quality oil” in a 250-square kilometre undersea field located offshore Liberia, according to Fox Business.
Anadarko also announced today that one of its deep-water exploration wells off the coast of Sierra Leone had encountered 98 net feet of hydrocarbons, Reuters reported, the second oil field the company has found off the coast.
Both companies say further tests are planned to see how commercially viable the finds are.
Drillers converged on West African shores five years ago after one of the continent’s biggest oil fields was discovered off Ghana. The Jubilee field came online in late 2010, driving double-digit growth in the country.
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Liberia and Sierra Leone have been keen to develop their energy and mining industries following years of conflict which ruined infrastructure and prevented investment, according to the BBC.
Randolph McClain, chief executive of the National Oil Company of Liberia and the country’s top oil official, said that Tuesday’s discovery was “good news” for Liberia, but cautioned against unrealistic expectations.
“We urge everyone to be patient,” he said on local radio, adding: “It will take time to fully appraise this discovery and years, between five to seven years, before a drop of oil is produced from the well.”
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