Energy ministry seeks Cabinet’s approval to streamline roles of its agencies
The Ministry of Energy has prepared a special memo for Cabinet’s consideration as it seeks approval to streamline the activities of all the regulatory and institutional arrangements as part of efforts to improve efficiency in the downstream, midstream and upstream sectors of the oil and gas industry in the country.
The move is intended to ensure that the situation where investors are not too sure of where to go for licensing and discussions on what they intend to do becomes history.
The Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, who announced this at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas last Wednesday said: “Now with this realignment which goes to Cabinet for approval next month, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), for instance, will be absolutely sure of its remits, its ambit and its boundaries”.
“All the other institutions such as Ghana Gas, the regulators, including the Petroleum Commission and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), will be absolutely clear in providing the clarity within the our institutional regulatory framework as we seek to give you the investors and potential investors the same clarity on how to operate in our space”.
Mr Agyarko said this when he addressed a large gathering of interested investors at a forum put together by the US Commercial Service of the United States of America Department of Commerce on the theme: New Oil and Gas Horizons and Procurement Projects in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Ghana shared the podium with its Nigerian counterparts.
He said the government was determined to ensure that various procedures and processes within the oil and gas sector were made clear to avoid any ambiguities that could delay the implementation of its vision for the sector.
In ensuring the sanctity of contracts, he told the investors that the beauty of the political stability in the country allowed governments to respect agreements entered into with investors.
“We ensure that we do not interfere with contracts because the investments in the sector are huge and must be protected, he stated and added that “once there are no detections of corruption within those agreements, no investor has any cause to worry when there is a change of government.”
He gave an assurance that no government had any intention of disrupting the business of investors in the country once the rules and laws governing all the agreements had been done in a transparent, fair and objective manner.
Gas master plan
On the country’s Gas Master Plan meant to guide the operations of the sector, he said the government, based on the fast changing times in the global oil and gas business, was fine-tuning the plan to make it more comprehensive.
He explained that the plan should be ready within the next three months or less to give investors a better clarity on what they could expect.
Meanwhile, he said nothing had changed as far as the operations of existing players in the sector were concerned.
The Nigeria case
When he took his turn, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, painted a promising picture of his country’s oil and gas sector.
He said Nigeria, with its experience in the industry, was willing to collaborate more with Ghana to ensure that the two countries benefitted from each other’s resource for the growth of their economies.
Dr Baru said the potential of the Nigerian oil and gas industry was enormous and every effort was being made to ensure that it maximised the benefits thereof for the people.
The United States Commercial Counsellor in Nigeria, Mr Brent Omdahl, earlier in his presentation, praised Ghana and Nigeria for the various roles they were playing in ensuring that the oil and gas sector benefitted their economies.
He, however, asked the two countries to ensure that the challenges of corruption, among other things, were curtailed to enable them to maximise their potentials.
Mr Omdahl said American companies were ready to use their expertise and new technology to help the them discover more oil and gas within their jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, more delegates and visitors continue to make enquiries at the Ghana Pavilion, arranged by Consolidated Shipping Agencies (Conship), as they seek to know more about the emerging oil and gas sector in the country.
Fifteen companies, including the GNPC, are participating in the exhibition.
Other companies present at the conference, which is marking its 50th milestone, are: Tullow Ghana, Kosmos Energy, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Springfield Ghana E&P, Advantage Group, I-Neema Ghana, Woodfield Energy Resources, Seaweld Engineering, Greenline Logistics, GOGSPA, EcoAlpha/Seeker, and Exceed Well Management Ghana and Conship. — GB