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Government asked to safeguard Ghana’s future in deciding on oil

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Dr. Kwame Ampofo

The Ghana government has been urged to put in measures that will safeguard the future of Ghana as it decides on the country’s new found natural resource, oil.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com, Dr. Kwame Ampofo, an energy expert and immediate past CEO of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the country’s only oil refinery, said it is imperative for government to use the oil resources to build a stable future for the country, so that future governments will have continuity.

“Like the Norwegians did, we must safeguard future generations,” he said.

He warned however that, government should not play politics with the oil by telling  the people that their economic situation will be transformed immediately.

He said, “If you look at the income that is going to come from the oil and the amount of money  we need for our development, we are giving false hope to the people. Tell the people that it will not transform us but it will help, it is better than nothing. We need to work harder and find more fields.”

Dr. Ampofo said Ghana is going to be a small player in the global oil industry when commercial production of oil begins.

“We are talking like the resources will bring us unlimited income – that we are going to join world producers of oil. We are only going to start as a small player.  We are going to produce something like between  120,000 to 200,000 barrels a day just like Equatorial Guinea. What we are doing is politics.  And when you fail, the people will begin to think that you have diverted their resources,” he warned.

According to Dr. Ampofo, Ghana needs to get about 10 to 15 fields “then we can say we are moving up among the big boys. What we have now will take us to only about 40 to 50 years, we need to have resources that will take us to over a century.”

He also advised people living in the areas where the oil was found to stop talking as if the oil belongs only to them. “We are talking as if the resources belong to or must necessarily be used to develop the areas where the oil was found. The oil does not belong to any particular people, it belongs to all Ghanaians. The oil was found on Ghanaian territorial waters. And so wherever I come from in Ghana, the oil belongs to me. These are the issues that must be put into perspective,” he admonished.

The discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Ghana was announced in June 2007. Production is due to begin in November or December 2010.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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