Energy expert asks government to regulate oil industry

A two-day workshop on Petroleum Licensing Agreement for Members of Parliament (MPs), has ended in Koforidua, with a call on government to set up a regulatory body for the oil and gas production industry.

Dr Keith Myers, Managing Partner Richmond Energy Partners Ltd, who moderated the workshop told the participants that there was the need for Ghana to have a policy in place, a law as well as a regulatory body.

The workshop organised by the Parliamentary Centre  for members of the Committee on Energy, Finance and Public Accounts was aimed at helping the MPs to understand the fundamentals of petroleum license agreement in the context of laws, regulations and institutions of Ghana.

It was also meant to aid the MPs to carry out their role in the ratification of petroleum agreements effectively.

Issues discussed included; policies, laws, license agreements, the purpose of the agreements and the licensing process as well as the role of parliament.

Others are Ghana’s fiscal regime and government take and different types of petroleum agreement with examples from Angola, Tanzania and United Kingdom.

Dr Myers said it was uncertain how the oil reservoirs would perform, the operation of oil prices and the exact figure that would come out as government take.

He said from the various assumptions government share would be about 65 per cent from the number of barrels produced for the 2010 to 2030 period, which is the first phase of the project.

He said the objective of petroleum rights and licensing was to be an instrument by which the State grants the rights to exploit oil and gas and codifies the rights and responsibilities of the partners to the agreement.

Dr Myers noted that there are some challenges for the government including; the geology, information and knowledge asymmetry between government and industry which was about choosing the right company, what was fair return for the investor and the risks being taken.

He mentioned concession, production, sharing contract, service contract, infrastructure linked agreement, joint operating agreement as some of the types of the agreements.

Dr Myers noted that in the agreements there were some controversial issues, including the governing law, usually by the host country, arbitration often outside the country, stabilisation clauses, which limits government capacity to change taxes and regulations that have a negative economic impact on the investing companies as well as change of ownership and capital gain tax.

Mr Moses Asaga, Member for Nabdam, said the critical part of the development of the Jubilee oil field was construction and installation of the Floating Production Storage and Offloading at location and attendant soft sea facilities, which have been installed.

He said government had an energy policy, which encompasses the power and oil and gas sector, being
co-ordinated by the Energy Commission.

Mr Asaga noted that Ghana is currently producing 2500 megawatts of energy whilst the requirement is 5000 megawatts, leaving a deficit which comes from independent power producers.

He said the Jubilee gas field could produce about 800 million barrels to 1.2 billion for up 30 years, adding that gas could be produced between 120 million to 240 million standard cubic feet per day over the period.

Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, Majority Leader said the Provisional National Defence Council law 84, which is currently an Act, is useful since most of its provisions are relevant to the oil production bill.

Source: GNA

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