Expert says Ghanaians must operate the oil industry in 10 years

An oil expert, Mr Ian Philips of the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, has said Ghanaians should be competent enough in 10 years time to operate the oil industry without foreign tutelage.

“In 10 years time there is no reason why expatriate should work in the country at the oil field”, Mr Philips said at the start of a three-day workshop on the Oil and Gas industry at Takoradi.

He said within that period Ghanaian authorities must be able to train a lot of Ghanaians in various fields to gain the skill to take up the responsibility in the oil and gas industry.

Tullow Ghana Limited, a major operator at the Jubilee Field, is holding the workshop for 60 stakeholders made up of representatives of the media, Members of Parliament, chiefs, religious leaders, environmentalists, the Muslim community and NGOs.

He said students must be offered scholarships to study outside the country and go into specialization to make them competent enough to handle all affairs in the oil sector.

“Ghana must make sure the next generation can manage the oil industry”, he said.

Answering questions as to why vital oil regulation was not in place while production has already started, Mr Philips said regulations guiding the industry was very necessary.

He said until such regulations are enacted “it will depend on the good behavior of operators of the oil sector who must demonstrate that the operations do not impact negatively on the environment”.

In that regard, he appealed to the oil operators to put in place emergency response mechanism ready to deal with any unforeseen situation like spillage and pollution.

He said he believed the oil companies had prepared adequately for that because no company would go into production without following the laid down regulations.

Talking about misunderstanding between fishermen and oil producing companies, Mr Philips said the issue was a global problem confronting all oil producing companies therefore a tactful solution must be found to ensure that fishermen are not worse off.

Awulae Annor Adjaye the III, the Paramount Chief of Western Nzema Traditional Council, expressed worry that even though regulations such as Oil Pollution Act, Ocean Dumping Act and Marine Protection Act among others were not in place production had started.

Later in an interview with the GNA on how revenue accruing from oil be managed, Mr Philip said oil revenue must be used judiciously to benefit a large number of people in the form of development.

He suggested the establishment of a fund in which profit accruing from the oil industry could be channeled for future development and called for transparency of its management to prevent the tendency of being siphoning for personal gains.

Source: GNA

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