The Liberian leader made the statement on Monday while delivering the third State of the Nation address to the 54th National Legislature in the joint chambers of the Capital Building in Monrovia.
The address is in keeping with Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution which states that "The President on the fourth working Monday in January of each year shall present the administration Legislative program for the ensuing session and shall once a year report to the legislature on the state of
republic. In presenting the economic condition of the republic, the report shall cover expenditure as well as income."
President Weah explained that the nine offshore blocks will be put up allowing competent and reputable international oil and gas companies to bid with the hope of recommencing exploration programs.
"Following years of inactivity, details of the Licensing Round will be made available in the coming weeks through a partnership between LPRA and NOCAL (National Oil Company of Liberia),"the Liberian Chief Executive said.
Dr. Weah emphasized that during the year under review, essential progress was made towards achieving the objectives as required by the New Petroleum Reform Law, 2014, noting that separation of the regulatory responsibility from the commercial operations was finalized through the signing of a Transfer Plan,thereby allowing the LPRA and NOCAL)to operate independently but collaboratively in realizing the national objective.
"Subsequently,a review of the New Petroleum Law necessitated several changes, including systems for granting petroleum rights, mandatory Liberian business participation as well as adjustment to the maximum size of offshore and onshore blocks, amongst others" President Weah told the 54th Legislature.
The Liberian leader narrated that in order to ensure that the law conforms to international standards and best practices, changes were necessary to place Government in the position to seek the right investors through the adoption of a predictable, flexible and investment-attractive regulatory regime.
Following the 2019 amendments to the New Petroleum Law, LPRA, working in concert with NOCAL, re-demarcated the entire Liberia offshore blocks layout and sizes to conform to the Global Grid System, in adherence to an ECOWAS mandate to all member States.
According to him, this exercise has resulted into 33 offshore blocks from the previous 30 blocks, It also allows for petroleum rights to be granted through International Competitive Bidding, Direct Negotiation, and Executive Allocation to NOCAL.
President Weah recalled that two years ago, he pledged to accelerate actions towards advancing the national aspiration for oil and gas discovery, "the intention was to ensure that the petroleum sector is managed in a way that promotes efficient institutional governance and integrates the principles of accountability and transparency, to maximize revenue from potential petroleum sources and support Liberian citizens."
At the same time, President Weah assured that a greater investment in the sector will not only guarantee petroleum security, but will also provide jobs and a source of livelihood for thousands of families across Liberia.