Liberia: Presidency Opposes Renegotiating Oil Deals

Liberia (AFP) – Liberia‘s presidency on Friday opposed a decision by lawmakers to renegotiate ten oil contracts but agreed reforms were necessary.

“This was a request made by the House of Representatives, not the government of Liberia,” Information Minister Lewis Brown told AFP.

“We will have to make our lawmakers understand that renegotiation is not the right solution,” he added.

His remarks came after lawmakers on Wednesday voted to renegotiate production sharing contracts with oil companies which they said violate the current petroleum law.

After the vote, Brown had said he had no problem with the renegotiation, but has since done an about-turn.

“We are going to run the risk of being sued for ever in the world for failure to comply with various contracts,” he said Friday.

Brown said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf agreed reforms were needed to bring uniformity to the various contracts signed as the country embarks on oil exploration.

Government hopes oil production will boost its economy and rebuilding efforts nearly a decade after the end of a devastating civil war. US-based Anadarko and energy giant Chevron began drilling off the Liberian coast in 2011.

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