Liberia marks out new oil blocks, auction seen soon

Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:28am GMT

By Alphonso Toweh

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia has marked out 13 new, ultra-deep offshore oil blocks and will soon auction about half of them off to international oil firms, the head of the West African nation's oil company told Reuters on Wednesday.

Christopher Z. Neyor, president of Liberia's National Oil Co, said the country did not yet have any proven reserves but Anadarko, Chevron and African Petroleum Corp would all be drilling there this year.

Liberia is slowly recovering from years of civil war and is due to hold its second post-conflict election later this year. But international mining and oil firms are already jostling for access to vast iron ore and potential oil reserves.

The West African nation has already marked out 17 oil blocks, 10 of which have already been snapped up.

"There are now 13 new ones that have been delineated," Neyor told Reuters in an interview, adding that they were in ultra-deep water and half would be auctioned soon.

"We have received lot of expressed interest from international companies for those blocks," he added, refusing to give any names of firms.

Anadarko, Chevron and African Petroleum Corp have so far led the field in Liberia, a nation previously better known for a conflict fuelled partly by the scrap over diamonds.

Neyor said two- and three-dimensional data on the existing oil blocks had been encouraging so far.   Continued...

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