In enhancing benefits for stakeholders in upstream oil and gas industry in Ghana, the upstream regulator, the Petroleum Commission (PC), has adopted a new tactical approach to unbundle contracts, enhance information flow and develop indigenous participation as enshrined in the law.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the PC, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr., said the commission was not oblivious of the fact that changing times required new thinking, strategies and new ways of working.
Speaking at the commission’s 2018 Local Content Conference and Exhibition in Takoradi, he said international companies were looking at the most convenient ways of doing business.
“Therefore, we are also looking at innovative ways of ensuring compliance with the laws and ultimately ensuring that the interests of indigenous Ghanaian companies are jealously protected,” he stressed.
In this regard, Mr Faibille Jnr. said the commission had initiated a new approach and adopted new strategies to address the emerging challenges by unbundling of contracts into smaller components to give opportunities to smaller companies and new entrants to benefit.
The approaches, Mr Faibille Jnr. said seek to promote strategic alliances and technical partnerships and promote start-ups.
“This will entail capacity building through incubation and acquisition of technical certifications in areas of focus for both the company and key personnel,” he said.
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The acting CEO of the commission said: “Undoubtedly, from a business point of view, any top executive making decisions in this era will be optimistic but extremely cautious.”
Here in Ghana, he said the commission had established a common qualification system (CQS) and electronic-portal (E-portal) which the commission would roll out quickly.
Regulation 37 of L.I. 2204
The CQS, he explained, “is a requirement of Regulation 37 of L.I. 2204 and when operational, it will address one of the biggest challenges we have – the diverse qualification systems currently used by industry players in prequalifying companies, which no doubt, leads to unfair treatment and disqualification of indigenous companies who respond to tenders.”
“The CQS seeks to create a ‘single window’ system for prequalifying all companies that intend to engage in petroleum activities,” he said.
Mr Faibille Jnr. said the commission, in line with the law, was consulting industry stakeholders with the aim of getting them to align their respective qualification systems to the commission’s common qualification system.
He assured the companies that work was almost complete in this regard, saying, “We will, in the coming weeks, engage stakeholders to test-run the system prior to its full deployment.”
In a similar vein, he said work had been completed on the E-portal and stakeholder consultation held in readiness for its launch and that the E-portal, as the name suggested, was to enhance communication between the commission on one hand and stakeholders on the other hand.
Again, he said “the platform will also allow companies to announce their procurement plans, issue tender notifications and receive alerts on specific issues online.”
Mr Faibille Jr. said the commission had received approval from the Ministry of Energy to revamp and manage the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), which is now a business advisory.
“This is a fillip to the commission’s agenda of developing the capacity of our small and medium-scale enterprises.
Accordingly, we have established a dedicated department known as the Business Advisory and Enterprise Development Department.
The unit, he said, was to provide business support services and enterprise development programmes to local companies in a bid to make them competitive and ‘business ready’.
For his part, the Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, said over the few years, the country’s oil industry had grown significantly.
That, he said, would help in building reserves to replace the depleting ones and ultimately increase oil production and increase indigenous participation to derive the maximum benefit for the country’s development.
Participants at this year’s conference welcomed the move by the regulator, which has exposed them to several global practices in Europe during trade missions for joint ventures.
They were of the view that the current global interest in Ghana’s ultra-deep water upstream and service sectors, the arrangement with the US Commercial Service to undertake a similar mission to Houston, Texas next year was welcoming.