An Independent Oil and Gas Information Resource Centre (IOGIRC), has been launched to provide comprehensive information on the oil and gas sector, especially within Ghana, to ensure transparency in operations of all stakeholders and players.
The IOGIRC is an independent institution under the Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project (OGCBP), with support from the World Bank and the Government of Ghana, established to operate as an interactive space for information on the oil and gas sector.
The Centre (http://oilandgasirc.org.gh/about-us/), which has been operating for the past two years, offers varied range of information on oil and gas sector, including regulations, oil and gas agreements, oil and gas companies, oil fields, government and non-government agencies and their roles, relevant academic institutions and training centres, sector statistics, industry analysis and current trends, forecasts, oil and gas revenue management, projects and research.
The OGCBP, a $ 57.80 million project, which started on May 20, 2011, would be brought to a close on December 31, 2017; and it aims at improving public management and regulatory capacity while enhancing transparency; and strengthening local technical skills in Ghana’s emerging oil and gas sector.
Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, a Deputy Minister of Energy, in-charge of Petroleum, who formally launched the Centre in Accra, said among the constraints to accountability in the oil sector, was the lack of good quality research on oil and gas for law makers, civil society and the media.
He said good research was necessary to inform and influence policy and legislative debates and serve as an effective check and balance, stating that “in addition, independent research on the sector outside of Parliament is limited”.
He noted that the establishment of the Centre was therefore, a reflection of Government’s commitment to support relevant research for the public discourse on policies, laws and regulations.
“Building on the experience of other oil producing countries, the Centre will provide relevant information on the operation of the oil and gas sector to all interested parties and raise the bar on public scrutiny of the decisions public officials make, regarding the exploitation and use of our oil and gas resources,” he said.
“In addition, the Centre operates as an interactive space for information as well as keeping all stakeholders abreast with technical, strategic and commercial issues that affect the oil and gas industry.”
Dr Adam said to deliver on its mandate, the Centre would provide comprehensive information through both online and offline channels.
He said to give true meaning to the objective of the Centre, the Government would soon demonstrate its commitment to broadening the boundaries of the transparency and information disclosure by launching a Public Register of Petroleum Agreements, Permits and Authorisation, a requirement by Section 56 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 2016 (Act 919).
He explained that the Register would contain full-text Petroleum Agreements and other relevant documents of public interest.
“It is our expectation that the Register will not only complement the work of the Centre but more importantly, serve as important reference source for information,” he added.
The Deputy Minister said the OGCBP, had therefore, made the necessary investments in the nation’s oil industry, recognising the power of information, for educating people, deepening understanding, and enhancing harmony among people; as well as enriching intellectual contribution to policy formulation.
“Government is therefore, convinced that the Resource Centre will be used to the optimal to justify this huge investment,” he said.
He urged the operators of the website to ensure that information placed on it were very reliable and from authentic sources.
Mr Alex Kyei, the Coordinator of the OGCBP, said IOGIRC is a knowledge hub, which is committed to promoting transparency and access to information on the oil and gas industry in Ghana.
He said the Centre also aims at promoting transparency through educating the public and collaboration with institutions in the oil and gas industry to share knowledge and resources.
Mr Kwame Jantuah, the Vice Chairman of Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), who chaired the function, urged the oil companies to work with the Government to ensure that the people of Ghana benefit from the oil revenue.
At the function, the IOGIRC Steering Committee, made up of representatives from seven stakeholder institutions such as the Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Kosmos Energy, ENI Ghana, Petroleum Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOSPA) was inaugurated.