Ghana’s inability to enforce regulations can affect oil production – Report

Government’s inability to enforce regulations governing oil production, inadequate resourcing of staff for environmental protection agencies and insufficient inter government agency collaboration have been cited as some of the militating factors against the hydrocarbon industry.

Others are the lapses in governance which could lead to environmental degradation such as oil spillages, mediocre environmental and social performance as well as the notion formed by some Ghanaians about a potential “curse” associated with oil production in the country.

These observations are contained in a report submitted by Acorn International, a US-based global consultancy firm, which specialises in “how to improve upon local content” in multinational companies.

The research conducted under the recommendation of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), was sponsored by Kosmos Energy, Ghana.

Launching the report in Accra on Thursday, Mr Dean Slocum, President of Acorn International, called for the development of human resources to meet clarified mandates and responsibilities, development of sanction and penalty framework for oil companies that might falter.

“Also, there should be clarity on the responsibilities of agencies such as the EPA, GNPC and Ghana Maritime Authority, as well as the development of effective monitoring mechanisms,” he added.

The report called for the introduction of sustainable fishing policies, programmes to reduce shoreline erosion, provision of fish storage facilities, improved access to credit for fisher folks and the provision of alternative livelihood programmes for fishing communities where oil exploration takes place.

Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said the report would help provide capacity requirements to strengthen the regulatory framework for the environmental management of the oil and gas sector.

“Launching of the report and the subsequent programme and projects would lead the country to a state of readiness to meet any environmental challenge that the development of our oil and gas resources might bring”.

She said government would equip regulatory agencies with the needed resources to perform their statutory functions.

Ms Ayittey noted that the Ministry had developed the Ghana National Environmental Policy to provide clear direction for managing the environmental considerations of the oil and gas sector.

“The aims of the policy include the need to ensure that preventive approach is adopted in the pursuit of sound environmental management”.

She lauded the discovery of oil and gas in the country as it would open up an array of opportunities to hasten the pace of national development.

Mr Mike Murphy, Vice President of Kosmos Energy, Ghana, appealed to donors to “support the Ministry in its research finding initiatives for the betterment of the oil industry.

“As operators of the West Cape Three Point Block, we are proud to assist the Ministry in shaping Ghana’s environmental protection agenda”.

“In doing so, we are working with the EPA and the World Bank in an effort to establish an ultra modern laboratory for the EPA,” he added.

Source: GNA

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