Mr Boakye Agyarko, the Minister of Energy, has expressed confidence in the country’s oil and gas sector saying the industry has the potential to create many jobs to help reduce unemployment in the society.
Mr Agyarko said the industry had a” bright future” and government was committed to championing robust plans to develop it for economic growth.
The Energy Minister was addressing a stakeholder forum in Accra on Tuesday on “Ghana’s upstream petroleum industry; a decade after the commercial discovery of oil and gas” which was organised under the auspices of the Petroleum Commission, Ghana and the Ministry of Energy to mark the 10 years anniversary of oil discovery.
Mr Agyarko said government was directing its energies towards the development of a prudent regulatory framework to guard oil exploration and exploitation in the Jubilee, Tweneboah-Ehyenra-Ntomme, and the Sankofa-Gye Nyame oil fields.
Some of the regulations include the Petroleum Local Content and Participation Act, 2013 (L.I 2204) and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Measurement Regulation, 2016 (L.I2246) whilst other projects such as a comprehensive Petroleum Data Repository Register was being developed to record all upstream activities.
The move, he said, was to regulate the award of contracts and other significant activities in the oil and gas industry to ensure that Ghana benefited satisfactory from her resources.
The Energy Minister said following the discovery of oil, the country has attracted several foreign investors with some of them establishing their offices in Ghana.
“Going forward government will ensure transparency through competitive bidding,” he said and assured industry players of opened doors for both foreign and local direct investment within the sector.
Mr Theophilus Ahwireng, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, said the journey since 2007 has been challenging yet beneficial, with production increasing from the previous 100,000 barrels of oil to the present 200, 000 barrels per day.
He said several human capacity building and skills development programmes have been undertaken to increase local participation and also ensure technology transfer.
Mr Ahwireng said there have been several benefits such as the reservation of goods and services for indigenous companies leading to an improvement in the quality of life of these communities resulting from the jobs created.
Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, announced that the Corporation would be awarding scholarships to 250 students in the tertiary institutions who were pursuing courses in oil and gas-related sciences, this year.
This, he explained, forms part of the Corporation’s corporate social investment which was anchored on education and training and called on all partners to support this course.
The GNPC, Mr Sarpong said, would also focus on targeted interventions to ensure that communities affected by the oil and gas exploration had sustainable livelihoods.
He said the organisation constantly engages with local communities to educate them on the realities of the oil find and the revenue accrued from the upstream industry to clear all forms of doubts formed by community members.
There were presentations from oil industry companies made up of KOSMOS, EO Group, Tullow, ENI and HESS.
Mr George Owusu, the Chief Executive Officer of E.O Group, whose untiring efforts led to the first discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Ghana, urged young businessmen, engineers and students to maintain high levels of integrity and truthfulness in all their dealings particularly in redeeming tax obligations for national development.
He commended all players who contributed towards the discovery of oil and its development in the country saying there is the need to honour our heroes before their demise.