‘Absence of Petroleum Exploration Law will not affect oil benefits’

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Petroleum Commission (PC) has denied that the absence of a new Petroleum Exploration Law, three years into oil production in the country, will deprive Ghanaians the benefits of petroleum resources.

According to the commission, petroleum agreements were negotiated taking into consideration clear benefits to be derived by the state and the citizenry from petroleum resources. 

The Coordinator of Local Content at the PC, Dr Juliette Twumasi-Anokye, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the model agreement for negotiations in the petroleum sector had stringent clauses which clearly specified such resources as the property of Ghana.

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In an interview on the sidelines of a press conference to launch the 2013 edition of the Offshore West Africa Oil and Gas exhibition, Dr Twumasi-Anokye said the delay in passing the law was to ensure the availability of adequate provisions that would lend credence to the benefits Ghanaians ought to derive from oil exploration and production activities.

The three-day conference and exhibition, to be held from March 19-21, 2013 on the theme: “Exploring the dynamics of West Africa offshore”, is expected to provide a platform for stakeholders to share ideas and learn from experts on the latest technology and solutions relating to offshore exploration.

The event, to be hosted by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), with sponsorship from Tullow Oil, among other stakeholders, will combine a high- class conference to demonstrate newer technologies in the exploration and production of oil.

The draft copy of the new law, which is meant to replace the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Exploration and Production Law, PNDC Law 84 of 1983, is yet to be finalised by the Attorney-General’s Department.

This has led to civil society organisations and other stakeholders raising concerns and urging the government to ensure coherence in the passage of the law to take cognisance of the challenges in the sector.

Dr Twumasi-Anokye said the PC had, since 2012, been reviewing the quarterly local content plan of the operators in the sector to ensure that their procurement, employment and succession plans were in conformity with regulations stipulated by the FC.

“We do these things to guarantee fairness as part of measures employed to ensure that incumbent contractors are not used in line with the PC’s succession plan provisions,” she said.

She further indicated that since the PC’s role was underpinned on provisions that would go to firm up local content provision in the upstream sector, officials were eager to put in place the Legislative Instrument (LI) to further strengthen the local content regime.

“We expect that  the Attorney-General’s Department will forward the LI which will replace the existing regulations of 1984 to Parliament for consideration and passage in the ensuing weeks,” she said.

Story by Della Russel Ocloo

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