Committee to protect oil, gas inaugurated

The Ministry of Defence has constitut­ed a committee to protect the coun­try’s oil and gas fields against terror­ist attacks, sabotage and environmental pol­lution.

The Petroleum Security and Co-ordinating Committee (PSCC) is also mandated to co­ordinate the safety and security efforts of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The committee, which has representatives from the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Energy and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as members, is being co­ordinated by Brigadier-General Charles H. Mankatah (retd).

The Minister of Defence, Lt Gen Joseph H. Smith (retd), who inaugurated the committee, said the effort of the government to provide a secure and congenial environment for the oil and gas sector had been high on its priority for the past two years, resulting in the establish­ment of two committees in November 2009 and April 2010.

He said the work of die two committees complemented each other and explained that while the Ministry of Energy’s technical committee formed in 2009 developed an Energy Master Plan which addressed the security of the petroleum industry as a whole, a minister­ial committee, comprising the ministers of the Interior and Energy and the National Security Co-ordinator, addressed the roles, responsibil­ities and requirements of the security agencies and other relevant agencies.

He said reports from both committees had, therefore, been merged as a composite document to produce the ‘Security Master Plan for the Oil and Gas Industry in Ghana’.

The document, he stated, “is to provide a safe and secure air, land and sea environment within which oil and gas extraction, explo­ration, production and marketing companies can operate freely within the confines of inter­national laws and protocols”.

“The collective thinking is to adopt the principle of using existing agencies for the security regulation and protection of the oil and gas industry, as opposed to creating new agencies for this purpose. It is against this backdrop that the PSCC was formed,” the Defence Minister added.

The minister noted that regional PSCCs would be formed in any region where oil was being explored, adding that in that regard, the Western Regional PSCC had been formed under the leadership of Commodore T.S. Appiah, the Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command.

He said the major challenge facing the PSCC was logistical support, but he was quick to add that there were plans to provide the nec­essary facilities to meet the needs of the organ­isation.

A Presidential Advisor, Mr P.V. Obeng, in his remarks, acknowledged the daunting task before the PSCC but indicated that the govern­ment appreciated the risks that came with the oil and gas sector, hence the counter measures and institutions.

Brigadier-General Mankatah said the committee would not take over the work of the various security agencies and regulatory bodies but rather harmonise their activities to ensure that the country did not fall prey to preventable events in the industry.

“This is a proactive security measure, not a reactive one, and it will facilitate the safe­guarding of our nascent oil industry,” he said.

He said as part of its operations, the PSCC would receive daily reports from the Jubilee Fields and also monitor all ships entering the country’s territorial waters.    ­

The committee would support existing security and other legal institutions to ensure that the country’s oil and gas sector thrived to ensure progressive socio-economic development, he added.

Source: Daily Graphic

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