The enactment of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, Act 919 this year, will ensure greater transparency and prudent management of Ghana’s oil and gas resources, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Petroleum, has said.
He said key features in the Act that gave cause to celebrate included a public tender process for the allocation of petroleum blocks, adding that it would ensure greater transparency in the award process.
The minister made this known when he met with directors of Special Projects at the Ministry, to appraise their performance and deliberate on the way forward.
He said the establishment of a Local Content Fund to provide financial resources for the education and training of Ghanaians, as well as loans to indigenous Ghanaian companies in the petroleum sector as provided by the law, was laudable.
Mr. Buah said the fund would empower Ghanaian companies engaged in petroleum activities to effectively compete in the petroleum sector and bring improvement in the economic lives of the people.
He said the imposition of strict liability for pollution damage by the law, would also ensure that pollution to the environment would be fully remedied.
Mr. Buah said the act also emphasises on detailed provisions on the contents of a plan of development to guarantee the prudent and sustainable exploitation of the nation’s petroleum resources.
“It must also be noted that, new regulations are being developed to give effect to the provisions of this new Act,” he said.
He mentioned some of the new regulations as the petroleum (exploration and production) measurement regulations which has been finalised and sent before parliament.
Mr. Buah said it was expected that two additional regulations on health, safety and environment in addition to data management regulations would be placed before the house when it resumed sittings.
He said, with the passage of L.I. 2204, the petroleum industry has also seen an increase in capital investments, local sourcing and sub-contracting, adding that currently about 80 per cent of the total workforce in the oil and gas industry were Ghanaians.
Mr. Buah said as part of the local content delivery, a large number of contracts and purchase orders awarded to local companies between 2013 to 2015 amounted to about 700 million dollars.
He said this year between January to June, contracts issued to indigenous Ghanaian services providers were in excess of 221 million dollars which was about 73 per cent increase over the same period last year.
Mr. Buah said the Petroleum Commission has established a number of multi-disciplinary sub-committees to accelerate the development of local content and ensure broader local participation in petroleum activities.