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U.S.-based Chevron, which three months ago announced plans to explore for petroleum in Liberia’s offshore waters, is starting deep-water drilling in Liberia’s Exclusive Economic Zone situated in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which Monrovia is hopeful might move Liberia into the ranks of western Africa's oil producing nations.
Chevron’s commitment makes a significant vote of confidence in Liberia’s economy, which was decimated by two and one half decades of civil war, Allafrica news agency reported.
Chevron’s Liberia country manager Karl Cottrell said, "If we are successful, we are looking at investments of billions of dollars," a massive windfall for a country whose GDP the CIA estimated in 2010 to be $1.691 billion.
Not that the cash will flow immediately, as Cottrell cautioned, "Between now and when we can foreseeably see oil production on any exploration success, is roughly eight to 10 years."
Chevron’s agreement signed in March allows the company to explore three deep-water blocks off the Liberian coast totaling 3,700 square miles in which Chevron will retain a 70 percent interest. Cottrell added that the company has identified its first offshore well location and "That allows us to do the detailed design on how we actually drill that well."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com