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NOCAL Finance Chief Azango Aims to Attract Investment Leveraging Europe’s Shift to African Oil

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In a bid to attract more investment and bolster Liberia’s economy, the National Oil Company of Liberia’s (NOCOL) First Vice President, Emmanuel Azango, seeks to unlock opportunities and  strengthen ties with Europe, which has been shifting its focus to Africa after abandoning Russian oil due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

Azango believes that with Europe’s search for alternative sources of oil, Liberia holds immense potential for investment in its hydrocarbon sector. As gulf countries continue to diversify away from the conflict-riddled region, the new oil official aims to position Liberia as an attractive and stable option.

“We take the view that multiple drilling will lead to more investment,” he said Tuesday in the capital Monrovia when he took up duties following his recent appointment by President Joseph Boakai as NOCAL’s first vice president for finance and investment..

The new NOCAL finance chief who studied economics at the University of Liberia and Makerere University in Uganda hopes to showcase the nation’s unexploited hydrocarbon potential,  appealing to global oil players  seeking secure and sustainable energy resources.

Liberia, known for its rich natural resources, presents lucrative investment opportunities for foreign companies looking to tap into its virgin oil reserves.

With the recent shift away from Russian oil, Liberia’s strategic location and stable political climate have become increasingly appealing to investors mainly in Europe seeking to reduce geopolitical risks.

Azango expressed optimism, stating, “We see tremendous opportunities to grow the nation’s economy by tapping into other countries’ hydrocarbon potential.”

Emphasizing the potential of the hydrocarbon sector in Liberia, he acknowledged the need for extensive exploration to fully understand the extent of the country’s oil resources.

In line with this vision, NOCAL  will be engaging with European and other major  companies to discuss potential partnerships. Azango believes Liberia can benefit from increased investment, infrastructure development, and job creation when investment in the oil and gas industry is designed to yield oil finds.

The NOCAL executive also emphasized the importance of responsible and sustainable oil exploration practices. Recognizing the potential environmental impact, Azango highlighted the need to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation.

“We are committed to working closely with international partners to ensure that the exploration and extraction of our hydrocarbon resources is conducted sustainably, adhering to global best practices,” he said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. in April 2023, applied to prequalify for four offshore oil blocks in Liberia.

Once prequalified, Exxon will be invited to negotiate a Petroleum Sharing Agreement for Blocks 15, 16, 22 and 24 in the Liberia Basin, the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority said.

In 2016, Exxon local unit failed to find oil offshore Liberia after drilling, making it ninth well to be abandoned since 2010. NOCAL, the state oil company has been in talks with Geophysics Company to lower the price of country’s seismic data.

On Oct. 10, 2016, lawmakers approved new petroleum law that reduces state equity share in petroleum sharing contracts to 10% from 20%.

 

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