COCIPNAR Chairman Emmanuel Gonquoi
By Mark B. Newa
A Civil Society organization Coalition to Combat Impunity and Protect Natural Resources (COCIPNAR) has underscored the need for the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to undertake the rehabilitation of the damaged facility of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) in Gardnersville.
The group said, the oil refinery site, if rehabilitated, will serve as the storage facility for the Liberia’s oil industry and when completed will add impetus to the oil sector.
In an interview with this paper, COCIPNAR chairman Emmanuel Gonquoi said the rehabilitation of the facility especially tank farm, pumps, and reservoirs should form part of ongoing discussions, adding that using the facility as storage for petroleum products cannot be overemphasized.
Gonquoi said if the site at LPRC is refurbished before the country gains the full potential needed to get the sector booming, then country stands to benefit in the international market.
“Deliberately ignoring the work of the refinery at the site clearly shows less concern for the sector, especially at the time the country is expected to join the international market which imposes required standards for petroleum exporting countries,” he observed, and wondered as to what will happen to the oil industry when several oil blocks are discovered and operated.
According to him, every activity of the oil sector is being carried out by the leadership of NOCAL, stressing that is has the potential to increase the wealth of few people at the top while majority suffers.
Gonquoi said his organization has observed that NOCAL or Liberia oil sector lacks what he called “recognized management system”
“The methodology used in the management of our oil sector lacks transparency and accountability, and is troubling and worrisome considering the sector`s political and economic significance. This system is creating minority rich class and a majority poor class in the country,” he pointed out.
He recalled that Liberia went to war for 14 years basically due to the inequitable distribution of national resources, of which measures must be taken to prevent reoccurrence.
“In order to protect the sector of Liberia like other countries, the present board chairman of NOCAL Mr. Robert Sirleaf, must act as normal chairman and must disengage from discussing oil contracts in the absence of the President of the oil company and the management team,” he suggested.
He quoted research conducted by his group there was no single document on the oil sector of Liberia to be shown by NOCAl management since its operation started in 2010.
“All activities of NOCAL from 2010 up to present are illegal and due to ignorance of all biding process in line with the PPCC by the management,” he claimed.
“If all those companies that are fighting for oil mining contract in Liberia have undergone a biding process, the Liberia people will have determined which is the best for them but up to now no one knows what process those companies when through to win oil contracts from NOCAL.”