WASHINGTON, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - ExxonMobil is committed to expand exploring a drilling site off the shore of Liberia, though the company’s work in the country has been “severely limited” by the ongoing Ebola outbreak, a company spokesman told RIA Novosti.
“Safety, health and logistical issues may impact ExxonMobil’s first exploration well offshore Liberia. Travel restrictions into and within the country have severely limited our ability to progress plans for drilling,” David Eglinton, Upstream Media Relations Manager for ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Eglinton said ExxonMobil has restricted non-essential travel to countries affected by Ebola, including Liberia and Nigeria where they have operations. However, the company’s work in Nigeria has not been affected.
ExxonMobil has suspended drilling operations at Liberia Block 13 (LB-13), which is located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) off the central coast of Liberia. According to the company, the LB-13 operation has a production requirement which calls for an exploration well to be drilled by 2016.
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa broke out in Guinea in February and soon spread to the neighboring countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal. More than 4,000 people have lost their lives in the outbreak, according to the latest WHO estimates.