By Joaquin Sendolo
Chevron Liberia Limited, an American oil company carrying on exploration in Liberia’s territorial waters says it is yet to come out with its findings as to whether oil is here or not.
Speaking to Journalists on April 24, 2014 at the Seadriller West Tellus Rig offshore, the country Manager of Chevron, Karl Cottrell said though the exploration is encouraging, they have to ascertain from experts around the world in the next six to nine months before coming out with assurance whether oil is in Liberia’s water in commercial quantity or not.
“I cannot say there is a favorable or unfavorable sign in the drilling process because we have to take the samples to experts to provide their opinions as to whether oil is here in commercial quantity,” he said.
Mr. Cottrell maintained that when experts give their opinion on the status of Liberia’s oil, the board of Chevron also has to consent before declaring that oil is in the country.
He also said the cost of drilling in search of oil cannot be announced until the board allows it. He said stating the cost may lead to his dismissal with other punishable actions as far as American law is concerned.
Chevron currently has three blocks under its control in Liberia’s territorial water, and they include Blocks 11, 12 and 13.
Commenting on workers at the rig, Mr. Cottrell said there are 171 workers on board the ship and 33 of them Liberians.
The Liberians according to him received training in Singapore and Ghana through the instrumentality of Chevron, following which they got their employment with the company.
He indicated that Chevron has some Liberian owned businesses providing some services, but not associated with the drilling process because they (Liberian) do not have the financial capacity to undertake the cost of drilling.
A few of the Liberian workers who spoke to reporter in an interview lauded Chevron Liberia Limited for the opportunity to work on the Seadrill West Tellus Rig.
Tracy Gbanah, a Steward, Abraham K. Sanvee, Roustabout, and Theophilus E. Jolo another Roustabout all stressed with delight that the work environment is better and the privilege to be employed has elated them.
The young Liberians in collective views noted that unlike some other foreign companies that are harsh on workers, Chevron and Seadrill West Tellus create a peaceful and encouraging environment that makes workers feel free to perform their tasks.
According to them, the two sister companies are strict with safety and they allow workers to learn at all times when they (workers) go contrary to duties.
Some members of the crew on board the ship including Safety Officer Marc David Gilson admitted that Liberians working there are committed to the job and very anxious to learn.
Chevron began operation in Liberia since 2012 and has been engaged in providing grants to marketing and women groups, and other business organizations including the Tailor union under its social responsibility scheme.
Although the gesture of Chevron to Liberians is laudable, public sentiment has indicated that a company involved in business with the intent to make profit cannot go into such spending if the needed commodity were not available.
Many concern Liberians view the delay in confirming Liberian oil status as a “Game” between the Executive Branch of Government and oil companies to secretly drill oil to leave the country without proceed of the lucrative resource.
Amidst this concern, Government and Chevron have maintained that oil is yet to be found in commercial quantity and money that has been coming to the country through the National Oil Company of Liberia is a signature fee.