The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has announced the attendance and participation of Foday B. L Mansaray II, Director General of the Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone (PDSL), at its upcoming annual conference, African Energy Week (AEW) which will take place October 18-21, 2022, in Cape Town.
As an engineer by profession with vast experience in the oil and gas industry, Mansaray has worked with global majors including Schlumberger and TotalEnergies in Brazil, Gabon and the UK. Currently, Mansaray heads the PDSL, a government agency that overlooks the country’s regulatory and administrative frameworks for effective management and monitoring of petroleum resources. Specifically, the PDSL is responsible for negotiating exploration licensing agreements and for monitoring the application of regulation designed to help the west African state achieve its goals of attracting investors and international majors to expand the oil and gas market. With significant opportunities present across the Sierra Leone energy landscape, the PDSL has and continues to play a fundamental role in expanding the sector.
An increased focus in exploration in Sierra Leone has led to significant discoveries such as the Venus B-1, Mercury-1, Jupiter-1 and Savannah-1X projects between 2009 and 2013 by US-based energy firm Anadarko and Russian company Lukoil. Despite the discoveries, development has been slow, with the country’s oil and gas production ranked at number 171 among the world’s top and potential hydrocarbon producers. With production at 0 billion barrels, significant opportunities are available, particularly in the mid- to downstream sectors.
“Despite the entrance of majors Mobil and Amoco to explore Sierra leone’s oil and gas landscape in the 1980s, the country’s full hydrocarbon potential has not been realized. Today, a lack of adequate energy supply is hindering the country’s economic growth, and this needs to change. We welcome the participation of the PDSL at AEW 2022 in Cape Town where challenges hindering the growth of Africa’s energy sector and economies will be discussed at large,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.
Moreover, with only 26% of the population in Sierra Leone having access to electricity and only 6% of the rural population, the government of Sierra Leone is seeking investments for grid expansion. Specifically, through the Green Grids Initiative – a rural electrification initiative including partnerships with distributed energy companies to power rural consumers with solar energy minigrids-, as well as partnerships with regional and international investors, the country aims to expand both grid-connected and off-grid renewable energy developments.
Today, the government has made 10,727 renewable connections and has powered 68 rural communities as part of the Rural Renewable Energy and Electrification Project which aims to improve energy access through renewable energy deployment for local communities and through the issuance of solar deployment tenders.
At AEW 2022, Mansaray will discuss with energy stakeholders’ issues including how hydrocarbon producers in Africa can attract investment to improve exploration and production activities and boost the oil and gas sector as well as strategies for leveraging renewable energy to improve access to electricity for over 600 million people across Africa that are currently living in energy poverty. AEW 2022 will provide a platform for governments, investors and energy stakeholders to discuss, collaborate on and sign investment packages that help countries such as Sierra Leone accelerate energy sector development while addressing accessibility challenges.
The Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone has, in recent years, increased its focus on onshore exploration with contracts in over 23 offshore blocks being granted. UK company Cluff Energy secured contracts to explore blocks 23, 25, 36, 37, 38, 39, 54, 56, 57, 74, 94 and 95 in March 2020 whilst Nigeria-based Africa Innoson Oil and Gas was awarded blocks 96, 114, 115, 116, 117, 133, 134 and 135. In 2021, the PDSL partnered with London firm GeoPartners to conduct a 2D survey of 9,000km of potential oil and gas offshore Sierra Leone. Even more recently, in late February 2022, the country also opened the bidding for exploration of oil and gas block 136. Accordingly, the country is committed to frontier exploration and is seeking partners to help drive industry growth and success.
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