Sierra Leone is gearing up for a new era in its energy sector as it prepares to commence oil and gas drilling in 2024. The announcement was made by Foday Mansaray, the Director General of the Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone (PDSL) during the conclusion of the fifth licensing round at the Africa Energy Week.

This decision follows high-impact drilling success rates and an increased focus on exploration in various regions of Africa, indicating significant untapped oil and gas reserves. PDSL will enter negotiations with three qualified companies to issue exploration and production licenses as operators, with negotiations set to begin in November 2023.

Mansaray highlighted the country’s commitment to reducing red tape and maintaining transparency to attract investors, stating, “Investors also like the transparency that our country provides. This is why we invite companies to come and invest in exploration and drilling.”

The Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone aims to finalize the award of all licenses by the end of this year, paving the way for a new chapter in the country’s energy sector. Mansaray emphasized the efficiency of their operations, noting that they have streamlined the process to take just 85 business days for completion.

Sierra Leone’s exploration history boasts four significant discoveries, underscoring the vast opportunities awaiting investors. The annual African Energy Week serves as a platform to attract investors from across the continent, with political leaders, including the President of Mozambique and South Africa’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, in attendance.

The South African Minister of Energy discussed plans to convert power stations into gas stations, extend nuclear plants, and harness renewable energy and mineral resources.

PDSL’s licensing initiative offers 150 reticular blocks for potential investors, with access to rich geological data. Mansaray highlighted the untapped potential of Sierra Leone’s oil and gas resources, making it the next hotspot in oil and gas production.

Investors are invited to explore the nation’s oil and gas sector, with PDSL emphasizing its commitment to a transparent, flexible, and mutually beneficial partnership. The Directorate is actively working on legislation to support onshore operations, offering a conducive business environment for investors.

“Investors in Sierra Leone benefit from our proven resources, extensive data coverage, and competitive regulatory, legal, and fiscal terms. We want investors to thrive, and we are willing to negotiate in good faith to ensure success for all parties involved,” Mansaray concluded. Sierra Leone is poised to become a significant player in Africa’s oil and gas industry, promising economic growth and opportunities for investors.