A three-day regional workshop on the validation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) draft Petroleum Code opened in Accra yesterday.
The workshop comes on the back of ECOWAS’ initiative to provide the region with a regional petroleum code.
When adopted, the regional code would enable Member states to attract more investments as well as ensure healthy competition between stakeholders within the same country and between the states of the region.
It would also help promote the integrated and dynamic development of the oil sector in our community.
Opening the workshop on behalf of Energy Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Deputy Director, Downstream at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Ali NuhuAbaka, said Petroleum exploitation activities were the subjects of particular attention in terms of regulations.
Apart from production sharing contracts, which are the most widely used in the region, the Petroleum Code is the fundamental piece of legislation for the promotion, exploration and production of hydrocarbons.
He further indicated that these reforms had contributed to increased investment in the sector with the allocation of 14 oil blocks in our sedimentary basins, and had led to several hydrocarbon discoveries in recent years. These include: Afina-1X, Akoma-1X, Eban-1X and Nyankom-1X discoveries.
“As you know, Ghana is not the only hydrocarbon producing country in the region. Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger also produce oil and very soon Senegal, which has discovered large quantities of natural gas in its sedimentary basin.
Our region will therefore play a major role in the global energy context in the coming years. In order to capitalise on this opportunity, we must strengthen regional cooperation and promote a regional market for hydrocarbons,” he said.
Mr Abaka reiterated that the Code, which is intended to be innovative, will integrate thorny issues such as transparency, environmental protection, increased government revenues, the development of populations living in production areas, and the creation of added value throughout the value chain.
The next three days would see experts from the ministries in charge of hydrocarbons in ECOWAS Member States, representatives of national companies and agencies in charge of hydrocarbons as well as key stakeholders contributing to producing a comprehensive code for the growth and advancement of respective petroleum industries in the sub-region
BY CLIFF EKUFUL