The Vice-Chancellor of the Takoradi Technical University, Rev. Professor John Frank Eshun, has noted that the oil and gas industry has the capacity to spearhead the nation’s development.
He said governments should, therefore, continue to invest in ways that would make the industry ensure equitable distribution of wealth.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Victor Bondzie Micah, at the maiden Western Regional Oil and Gas Excellence Awards in Takoradi, the Vice-Chancellor of the TTU said when oil production started about 13 years ago, many Ghanaians were skeptical as to whether the oil found would be a blessing or a curse to the country.
“This was because little or no effort was made at ensuring that Ghanaians had the requisite knowledge and skills to contribute to the growth and development of the oil and gas industry and the result has been that most of the related upstream and downstream activities have been left in the hands of expatriates,” he said.
Rev. Professor Eshun, therefore, commended the Petroleum Commission, as well as the National Petroleum Authority for taking the necessary steps to train Ghanaian youth to play a pivotal role in the exploration and management of the resource.
Two weeks ago, Ghana Gas reported of how it had been making $3 million savings a month for replacing Chinese workers with Ghanaian experts who had completed their training to assume those roles.
Prof. Eshun urged the government and other key stakeholders to continue to take lessons from best practices of oil producing countries.
The awards, which was on the theme: “Ghana: Towards Oil-led Economic Development,” was to acknowledge the role of sector players to socio-economic development.
It was organised by Top Brass Ghana under the auspices of the Western Regional Coordinating Council.
Aside from Rev. Prof. Eshun, who chaired the occasion, other dignitaries included the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, as well as the President of the Gwira Traditional Council and Vice-President of the Western Region House of Chiefs, Awulae Angama Tu-Agyan II.
The Director of Top Brass, Isaac Dakwa, said the Western Regional Oil and Gas Excellence Awards scheme had been instituted with the objective of acknowledging the vital contribution of the oil and gas sector to the economic development of the Western Region and the entire country.
He said the awards was also instituted to honour deserving oil and gas industry players.
Mr Dakwa said the awards would be an annual event scheduled for every December 15, to coincide with the date oil was first discovered at Cape Three Points in the Western Region.
The regional minister commended Top Brass Ghana for implementing the Western Regional Oil and Gas Excellence Awards Scheme, which he said, would serve as a platform for creating synergies and encouraging industry players to attain greater heights.
Mr Darko-Mensah bemoaned the situation where local players sought partnership arrangements outside the country and urged them to seek partners internally for mutual benefit and also for the promotion of the growth of the economy.
Special Gold Awards were conferred on the Ghana National Gas Company (Processing and Sale of Gas); the National Petroleum Authority (Petroleum Downstream Oversight); the Petroleum Commission (Petroleum Upstream Oversight) and the Port of Takoradi (GPHA, Port Operation).
Tullow Ghana Limited (Operator Production) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (Overall Petroleum Upstream Exploration and Production Oversight) were the distinguished recipients of the topmost Platinum Award.
Industry leaders who were honoured with the Gold Award were Amaja Oilfield Limited (Marine Construction and Production Services); Bollore Transport and Logistics Company Limited (Logistics/Freight Forwarding); Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (Petroleum Logistics) and the GNPC Foundation (Corporate Social Responsibility).Goil Plc (Oil Marketing); Mac Logistics Limited (Shipping Trucking); Medea Development Limited (Oil and Gas Exploration); Monpe Heavy Haulage Company Limited (Special Transport); OTS Ghana Limited (Lifting Engineering); Star Assurance Company Limited (Insurance Services) and Zeal Environmental Technologies Limited (Environmental Solutions), received silver awards.
Gibson Safety Consult Limited (Quality, Environmental Health and Safety Consultancy); Glico General Insurance Company Limited (Insurance Services); Petrosol Ghana Limited (Oil Marketing); Safety World Engineering Limited (Marine Engineering, Offshore/Onshore) and Sagoe Interventions Limited (Fabrication Engineering) also received silver awards.