Insist on environmentally friendly technologies for oil operations – Veep charges regulators

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged global regulators of the upstream petroleum sector to ensure that technologies being used to optimise oil and gas operations are deployed in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

He noted that although international oil companies and contractors had had to find indigenous and sophisticated technologies to improve their profitability, safety and value for money to the host countries must not be lost on regulators.

“The use of these new technologies, coupled with hazardous locations make the projects present very complex high-risk operations. These therefore require robust regulatory regimes that will always be responsive to the day to day needs of the upstream sector,” he said.

Dr Bawumia  said this yesterday, when he opened in Accra, the first meeting of the International Upstream Forum (IUF), a body  of offshore petroleum managers and regulators.

About 35 delegates from 10 countries are attending the 11th meeting of the forum established in 2007 as a platform to drive discussions on upstream petroleum policies.

Participating countries of the two day event, hosted by the Petroleum Commission (PC) are Ghana, United Kingdom, Norway, Canada, Australia, United States of America, Ireland, Mozambique, Uganda and Nigeria.

They are deliberating on policy and regulatory matters relating to the offshore oil and gas industry and proffer solutions to mitigate those pertinent issues in a bid to improve regulatory compliance.

According to Dr Bawumia, the government was pursing various measures to ensure Ghanaian homes and industry had reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable supply of energy to support its accelerated development agenda.

One of the measures , he said was the  Accelerated  Oil and Gas Exploration  and Development  which  was hinged on investment-driven initiatives that ensures  fairness and transparency in the upstream sector.

He listed licensing rounds for oil blocks, exploration works by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, implementation of the petroleum hub project in the Western Region and the amendment of various laws to sync developments in the industry as some of the strategies undertaken.

Dr Bawumia expressed government of Ghana’s readiness to collaborate with the forum to promote an efficient regulatory environment as the country aspired to become a regional petroleum hub.

The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu said the ministry was reviewing the National Energy Policy to ensure safe and efficient activities toward optimising the country’s petroleum resources for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

He said it was in ensuring a sustainable sector that the ministry continued to ensure policies in relation to exploration, production and decommission were updated regularly.

The Chief Executive of PC, Egbert Faibille Jnr, in his welcome address, said the platform would be an opportunity for knowledge sharing that would help better the upstream sector.

He told journalists on the sidelines of the opening that petroleum agreements are being reviewed to ensure that the oil companies were on course with activities as defined in their agreement.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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