Experts Debate Liberia Oil….As Roundtable On Legislation Kicks Off

By FrontPage Africa, Liberia
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Monrovia - The Leadership of the House of Representatives of the 53rdNational Legislature will on Monday, March 10, 2014 launch phase- two of their nation-wide public engagement on the Petroleum Sector Law Reform.

Phase-two of the public engagement on the two draft oil legislations (The Draft Petroleum Exploration & Production Act of 2013 & The New NOCAL Act of 2013) will be Stakeholders' Roundtable Consultations that will solicit observations and recommendations from Local and International Civil Society Organizations, the Donor Community, the Business Community, Political Parties, Youth & Student Organizations, International Oil Companies, and Faith Based Organizations.

Since 2007, 10 Production Sharing Contracts were signed, including 4 with 2 of the largest and most reputable companies in the World, Chevron (2010) and Exxon (2013). 5 exploration (meaning “looking for”) wells have been drilled and more wells will be drilled in 2014. Liberia has a total of 30 offshore Blocks: 17 Deep Water Blocks and 13 Ultra Deep Water Blocks. To date, some eight companies are in Liberia's Deep Water Blocks currently looking for oil but no company has found oil in enough quantities to produce it.

The program will be graced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will deliver a keynote address, the Speaker of the House, the Senate ProTemp, scores of Senior Government officials, and members of the diplomatic corps and the oil and gas industry.

A release from the House of Rep. quoting Deputy Speaker, Hans Barchue, said the Stakeholder's Roundtable Consultation will be slightly different from the just ended Nation-wide public Engagement. “Before delegates can make their observations and recommendations on the draft laws expected to guide Liberia's potential hydrocarbon sector, natural resource experts, invited from Africa, America and Europe, will share practical experiences and exhaustive knowledge on the most effective, sustainable, accountable and environmentally

prudent manners oil resource has been explored and produced in other countries”, the release furthered.

Deputy Speaker, Hans Barchue named few of the experts as Robert E. Smallwood, a Tax Adviser who has spent over 12 years advising Energy & Mining clients in Africa, Europe and America on Tax planning, Foreign corrupt Practices Act, holding companies analysis and other tax matters; Paul Brown, an American with extensive knowledge of the Norwegian Models for the development of oil, gas and energy; Ernest C. Nwapa, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board since 2010 is a local content experts from Nigeria National Petroleum Company with detailed knowledge & practical experience of the challenges surrounding Local Content Development & regulation in Africa. He also named others as Cindy

Roberts &Malcolm B. Roberts of Alaska and Taa Wongbe; a Managing Partner to Khana based in New York, Ghana, Uganda & Liberia.

The process according to Hon. Barchue fulfills the pledge made by the House Representative, on the holding of a Round Table Consultation after the completion of a Nation-wide public engagement on the draft oil legislations. He reaffirmed commitment of the House to incorporating meaningful recommendations from participants and encourage them to use the opportunity and add their voices to draft oil legislations. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will deliver a Keynote address, The Speaker of the House, the Senate Pro-temp along with an array of senior Government officials and international oil companies will grace the program.

The technical round tables will take place from the afternoon of March 10 through March 15, 2014 at the SKD Stadium and Corina Hotel respectively.

Among The Experts Providing Opinions Are:

Paul Brown

With more than thirty-five years of management, fund-raising, marketing and organizational development experience Paul has led and been a key member of projects in candidate and issue campaigns, community service, and the arts. He began his career as a newspaper executive. Mr. Brown was associated with the Lewis Cohen Group in New York for political campaigns. He was a consultant and author of a report for Common Cause, a national good government organization based in Washington, DC, and he served on the president's.

He was a member of the 2011 Norway Policy Tour sponsored by Institute of the North to study that country's model for development of oil, gas and renewable energy. He is a member of Backbone, a citizens group whose purpose is public education on the issue of resource wealth. Paul is a member of a working group of Alaskans guided by His Excellency Olafur Grimsson, President of the Republic of Iceland, to plan a global campaign of awareness on the world wide commons. He is engaged in the research and development phase for “The Commons - no legitimate reason for poverty,” a major film project showing ways the world's vast resource wealth can benefit all people. Paul Brown is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and was awarded Brigade Soldier of the Year at Fort Benning, Georgia. He attended Nassau Community College and studied at New York University's School of Continuing Education.

Ernest C. Nwapa

Engineer Nwapa (MNSE) was appointed Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board in April 2010 following the signing of the Nigerian Content Act. He has worked for many years in the international oil and gas industry, gaining most of his experience within various capacities and functions at NNPC. His appointment as the pioneer Nigerian Content Coordinator in 2004 included the challenge of translating volumes of stakeholder recommendations into a comprehensive, implementable policy document, which was submitted to the Federal Government in February 2005.

It provided the framework for setting up the NCD in March 2005 where Nwapa worked until his appointment as Group General Manager, Nigerian Content Division of NNPC in March 2010 in recognition of his noted contributions to the development of the industry in Nigeria. Engr Nwapa is a 1982 graduate of the Civil Engineering Department (B.Engr.) of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, graduating with honors. Engr Nwapa has written several papers and made presentations on the subjects of local content development and capacity building both locally and internationally and is now internationally recognized and well-known for his advocacy and promotion of capacity building and local content development in national oil and gas industries.

Cindy Roberts

Cindy is a key component of her husband's Anchorage-based government and community relations consulting firm, Malcolm B. Roberts & Associates. Since its founding in 1972, she has dealt with a range of Alaska issues, most notably state oil and natural gas development policy and legislation, and public information regarding timber and mineral resources. Mrs. Roberts has held a variety of government positions with federal, state and municipal organizations.

Alaska government service included serving as executive staff to the Commissioner(s)

of Department of Natural Resources and Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Affairs. Mrs. Roberts was the founding executive staff for the Alaska Minerals & Energy Education Foundation. Since 2007, Mrs. Roberts has been an active member of Backbone II, a tri-partisan citizens' organization which began in 1999 to protest the proposed merger of two of the three major oil corporations on Alaska's North Slope.

Backbone has remained a watch-dog of Alaska oil and gas issues. Cindy edited and produced the Alaska natural gas pipeline glossary, Cracking the Code. In January 2008, the CODE was an insert in the Alaska Business Monthly magazine. In January 2012, the CODE was enlarged to 200 terms and published independently. As this issue defines Alaska's next economic boom, the CODE has increased citizens' depth of understanding of the science, the legal framework, the geography, and the economics of Alaska natural gas development and liquefied natural gas in the global market.

Malcolm B. Roberts

Malcolm B. Roberts is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North and worked closely with the founder, the late Governor Walter J. Hickel, for nearly 40 years. The Institute studies and teaches about the Alaska economic model and how to care for and use commonly owned lands and resources for the benefit of the common man. Since 1999, Roberts has served on the Executive Committee of Backbone, a watchdog organization that follows state oil and gas policy.

The focus of the group ranges from legislative oil and gas tax policies and encouraging the development of the 35 trillion cubic feet of stranded natural gas at Alaska's North Slope to providing low-cost, clean energy for Alaskans and promoting the export of liquefied natural gas to lucrative Asian markets.

The first Executive Director of Commonwealth North from 1979–1982 (and later from 1987–1990), Roberts helped create and lead Alaska's leading public forum. As executive director, he edited over 20 action papers on critical issues including the Arctic National Wildlife Range, the Alaska Permanent Fund, North Slope natural gas, and the Alaska Railroad. Roberts was educated at Princeton University where he earned a bachelor's degree.

Robert E. Smallwood

Robert is an International Tax Director with PricewaterhouseCooper's African Tax Group based in New York. He primarily advises clients on tax and business matters relative to English speaking West Africa (Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone) as well as Angola and Mozambique. He has over 12 years of diverse tax experience including advising energy and mining clients on tax due diligence, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), corporate restructuring, tax planning, holding company analysis, and other related matters.

Robert has presented on various African tax and business topics at forums and conferences in the USA, Europe and Africa. Robert is a Certified Public Accountant and has a postgraduate degree in Taxation.

Taa Wongbe

Taa Wongbe is the Managing Partner of The Khana Group, a management consulting and advisory firm that combines private sector views with development approaches to positively impact and transform Africa. He is responsible for all aspects of the firm's strategy, teams and operations across all four offices in New York, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. He has served a wide range of clients and led projects for governments, corporations, multilateral institutions, aid agencies, and social impact investors across Africa and around the globe focused on strategy, program design and development, organizational development, and technology.

Prior to The Group, Taa was co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Pangean Technologies, a firm that provided communications solutions and services to corporations globally. He was responsible for driving technology innovation and delivering new products and services to clients. He managed the firm's exit through a buyout to a publicly traded US company.Taa has also served as a consultant with Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, McKinsey & Company, Gartner, and ThruPoint in New York on strategy, operations and technology engagements for global organizations. Originally from Liberia, Taa has led initiatives to foster the growth of SMEs, build capacity and empower African women and youth. He received his BS from New Jersey Institute of Technology and certificates in Finance & Accounting from the Wharton Business School Executive Education Program and Program Management from New York University.

Estrada Jefferson Bernard, III

Estrada J. Bernard III is currently in his last year at South Anchorage High School, where he is an honors student, varsity athlete, and student leader. Mr. Bernard began his study of resource management during Anchorage School District Gifted Mentorship with Malcolm Roberts, founder of Malcolm B. Roberts & Associates, a firm with expensive experience working on issues of natural resource management.

Since then, their research has led them to determine ways in which resources around the globe can be managed, and how the idea of The Commons can be applied to societies around the world. Mr. Bernard authored a paper for the Institute of the North (a public policy forum), entitled: “Resource Management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Alaskan Parallels with Liberia.”