Ghana’s oil and gas sector has attracted overwhelming interest from international oil companies to explore its upstream oil, gas and allied services through joint ventures.
Ahead of the opening ceremony of the Offshore North Sea (ONS) conference in Norway on Monday, more than 70 companies held high hopes of good deals with Ghanaian participants.
At the interactive session of the conference, the Norwegian Energy Partners (WONEP) announced that it had over three dozens of companies in the upstream sector that had booked space to hold business meetings with the Ghanaian delegation.
The country’s sedimentary basins, dating back to the 19th Century, have become even more attractive since 2007, yielding about 77 percent of the country’s oil production from the three independent fields.
Associated gas, deemed as the game changer, is accounting for 14 percent, and natural gas fields representing 9 percent with more expectations of hydrocarbons deposits on the horizon as the country prepares to award six out of nine offshore blocks by April next year.
The Petroleum Commission has embarked on this second trade mission to Norway with no less than 40 Ghanaian companies to engage global giants in the upstream sector interested in doing business in Ghana or with Ghanaian partners.
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Opportunity to leverage
At a breakfast interaction session with Aker Energy, the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr. assured the companies interested in doing business in Ghana and exploring the upstream sector of the perfect ambiance for business.
He said the main focus was to ensure that Ghanaian companies on the trade mission get the opportunity to leverage and build the needed synergies to attract the necessary investment to Ghana’s upstream sector.
“At the Petroleum Commission, we have had complaints about the lack of opportunities and contracts in the upstream sector, therefore at this ONS platform, what we seek to do is to introduce Ghanaian companies to other players who are looking to do business in Ghana,” he said.
With the overwhelming expression of interest in Ghana, he said, the Commission would ensure the enforcement of LI 2240. “As part of our mission as a regulator, the PC will continue to promote, regulate and manage the efficient conduct of the country’s upstream petroleum and allied activities as well as the utilization of petroleum resources on a sustainable basis for the overall development of the country.
“With that, any company that seeks to do business with Ghana has to incorporate a joint venture with an indigenous firm and afford that indigenous firm at least 10 per cent equity in their business operations,” he said.
“I urge you local firms to take advantage of the expression of interest by the big players. And remember this is a business trip and it’s our expectation that before the end of the conference and exhibition, each company has a business, two or more,” the CEO said.
He urged the participating Ghanaian companies to step out boldly and build partnerships as the ONS platform has thousands of companies seeking to do business.
The country manager of Aker Energy, Mr. Jan Helge Skoken expressed the company’s readiness to involve indigenous firms in their operations and served notice of the high standards expected of those seeking to do business.
The conference, he said, provides the opportunity for Aker Energy which is just about to start operations in Ghana to better understand what it takes to do business in Ghana going forward.
The Director of the Norwegian Energy Partners in charge of Africa midstream, Dr. Gulbrand Wangen emphasized that a good number of businesses have indeed expressed interest in Ghana.
He said the requests are for meetings with the companies, the regulator, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and the sector ministry on doing business in Ghana and getting partners locally.
He said others have also expressed interest in taking the Ghanaian delegation on a guided tour and also to expose the companies to how oil has transformed its space since the discovery.
Other companies at the exhibition are also looking forward to Thursday for a scheduled Ghana Day at the exhibition grounds to have more insights of Ghana.