By Garmonyou Wilson
A serious concern is being raised over the activities of Frank Timis’ African Petroleum in Liberia (APL) as the company begins scaling down its workers. According to one of the workers who remained anonymous, the company has already laid off some seven employees among a dozen or so.
Many Liberians were surprised when the company disclosed that it successfully drilled its first operated deep-water exploration well (Apalis-1) offshore Liberia Block LB-09 in August 2011.
In February 2012, the company announced a significant oil discovery at its second operated exploration well, Narina-1, in Block LB-09.
The Managing Director of APL, Renny James said that the scaling down of employees is a normal procedure for oil companies and that once the company has achieved certain goals the number of employees is reduced because their services would no longer be needed.
Mr. James said that Liberia has an evolving economy and as a Liberian, he would never work for any entity that would ruin the fragility of the state.
Sources on the other hand told this paper that the company is poised to dupe some shareholders who have invested in the company’s activities here in Liberia.
According to our source the company has been involved in such practices before in other countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan among others.
Again the APL Head said that the allegations were baseless and stressed that APL office is currently opened as the company has no plans of leaving Liberia now.
Shares in APL’s majority holder, Frank Timis’ had fallen 90 percent over the past 12 months and reports of an alleged investigation by the National Stock Exchange of Australia amidst claims of stocks dumping by senior AP executives have made international headlines.
In February 2012, AP announced a major discovery in its Naria-1 Well offshore Liberia, causing a significant jump in its stocks from 0.70 cents AUD ($0.68USD) to 1.55AUD ($1.51USD) at the time of its closing.
The report also noted that AP was in serious negotiations for a buy-out offer with PetroChina at $1.35 per share for all of its petroleum assets in Africa.