This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Liberia has offered concessionary offshore oil blocks for bidding and direct negotiation in recent years, but few companies have expressed serious interest despite the discovery of offshore oil in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) oversees petroleum exploration, development, and production and the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA), manages regulation and policy. Liberian law restricts NOCAL from acting as a chief negotiator for the government and requires competitive bidding for all petroleum contracts. LPRA is responsible for granting three types of petroleum rights: reconnaissance licenses, petroleum agreements, and licenses for petroleum transportation systems. Should commercially viable oil deposits be discovered, the law anticipates the creation of a Ministry of Petroleum to oversee bidding.
Liberia does not have a functioning refinery. All petroleum products are imported from abroad. According to the Central Bank, imported petroleum products – fuel, minerals, and lubricants – amounted to $161 million in 2020, representing 16 percent of total import payments. The Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) is a state-owned enterprise responsible for issuing petroleum importation licenses and storing petroleum products imported into the country by private businesses. The LPRC owns storage tanks at its Product Storage Terminal (PST) near the Freeport of Monrovia where it stores imported petroleum products on behalf of local importers who sell or distribute petroleum on a wholesale basis. A few Liberian-owned petroleum companies, including Srimex Oil & Gas, Conex Group, and Aminata & Sons who are also importers and/or distributors have their own storage facilities located in the compound of the LPRC, a petroleum product regulatory arm of government.
Most filling stations are owned by Liberians. some of whom are in partnership with Lebanese-owned fuel importers and distributors. The French multinational TOTAL owned filling stations in the country but sold its assets to a consortium of Liberian and Nigerian business interests in early 2020 as part of its divestment from Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone.
Oil and gas exploration, and construction of storage facilities or terminals outside Monrovia.
Potential investment opportunities exist for U.S. companies in refining, importation, offloading, and facility handling. LPRC has a long-term plan to decentralize its operations to other parts of the country and start petroleum refining operations, which would require significant investment in plant, machinery, and equipment for refining and laboratory testing. Furthermore, as the demand for petroleum products increases, a private sector operator could invest capital for upgrades and rehabilitation in return for operation rights, on a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA)
Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC)
National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL)
Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC)