A project, geared towards building local capacity and capability needed to support Ghana’s Oil and Gas (O & G) industry, is currently underway, following a World Bank Executive Directors’ approval of a US$38million, under an Oil & Gas Capacity Building Project (OGCBP) for the country in December, 2010.The project, which is also to enhance transparency and strengthen local technical skills in Ghana’s emerging oil and gas sector, is currently ongoing in earnest.”Challenges arising from the fast-track development of the Jubilee Field , necessitated capacity and regulatory the development and production of the country’s first major commercial oil from the Jubilee Field within a record time of 40-months from discovery,” Mr. Samuel Afram, Project Manager of the Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project at the Ministry of Energy has stated. Speaking on the topic, ‘The Role of the Oil & Gas Capacity Building project in strengthening Ghana’s Oil & Gas Sector’, at an Editors’ Retreat dubbed; strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors in Ghana, held in Koforidua last Saturday, Mr. Afram outlined areas covered by the project, which has two major components, each with multiple sub-components.
Firstly, there is the institutional development and sector management, which focuses on the project objective of improved management and regulation and increased transparency. Secondly, is the provision of technical and professional skills to Ghanaian workers needed by the petroleum sector, which focuses on enhancing technical skills in the sector through support to vocational training schools and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Techno logy (KNUST). The beneficiary ministries under the project include the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) and the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice. Other institutions are the Petroleum Commission, the G h a n a National Petroleum ‘ Corporation (GNPC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana R e v e n u e Authority (GRA), Sector Governance and Vocational and Technical Institutions.
The Ministry of Energy’s Petroleum Directorate, Communications Unit and the Project Coordination Unit have been refurbished and provided with computers and accessories. Additionally, there will be training, which include short courses and degree programmes for the Ministry, from which nine members of staff have benefited already, with 60 more expected to benefit by 2015. Whilst a new office for the Petroleum Commission is being refurbished for occupation, it will receive support also in the form of computers, office equipment and vehicles. Short courses and degree programmes in regulatory and management skills for the staff of the Commission will be done and about ninety members of staff are expected to benefit by 2015. Special studies and Consultancies will also be done in order to build the capacity of the Commission, the Project Manager disclosed. G N P C will receive installation of modern ICT equipment in its existing Data M a n a g e m e n t Centre to safeguard the oil and gas data being generated through ex p1oration an d well development as well as receive support in the retrofitting of a new data centre.
Moreover, The EPA will strengthen their capacity in the Development of Community-Based Early warning and Early Response System. This includes: Awareness campaign on signs and symptoms of oil spillages and pipeline leakages through active communication among f is herm en, oil c o m p a n i e s a n d GNPC, Strengthening Environmental Monitoring through aerial surveillance and the use of Marine Vessel for monitoring and emergency response.
The agency will be provided with vehicles, office equipment & GIS Package, equipping EPA’s Laboratory in the Western Region as well as short courses and other training, with thirty people slated for capacity building by 2015.
In addition, MOFEP is receiving support through its Tax Policy Unit and the Legal Department in the form of computers and office equipment as well as short course s and target professional training in courses such as Petroleum Tax Policy Formulation, Petroleum Agreement Negotiations, Petroleum C o n tract Laws and Negotiations, and Petroleum Economics and Financial Modeling. Also, special studies and consultancies will be done in order to build the capacity of MOFEP.
The petroleum unit created within the Large Tax Payers Unit of the GRA, will be supported with computers and office equipment as well as receive staff training & capacity building in the form of short courses, participation in regional workshops of tax administrators and mentoring and on-the-job training by thematic advisers under short term contracts. Also, special studies and consultancies will be undertaken in order to build the capacity of the GRA. Furthermore, under the Sector Governance aspect of the project, the Attorney General’s Department, Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) and Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) are being supported. The Attorney General’s Department and EOCO will receive computers and office furniture. The MoEn, will award a contract to a Consulting firm to commence work on the development of a communication strategy, while there will be an establishment of an Independent Information Centre on O&G. Here, feasibility studies by a Consultant are on-going.
In addition, GHEIT1 will receive funding support to organize stakeholder consultation and development of oil and gas reporting templates. Vocational and Technical Institutions, which include the Regional Maritime University (RMU), Takoradi & Kikam Technical Institutes (TTI & KTI) will receive equipment and tools for technical and vocational institutions. Also, the staff will go through development and training in curriculum development and courses in Oil & Gas; introductory courses in Oil & Gas as well as study tours for the students. At least 1,700 students would have benefited from courses in O&G initiated by RMU, TTI and KTI at the end of the project.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) will additionally receive support in the College of Engineering and Chemical Engineering Department for the refurbishment of existing engineering laboratories and installation of equipment. Also, they will receive support and installation of equipment in the petroleum engineering lab and the existing laboratory. There will also be Staff Training and Development in areas such as MSc. and PhD Programmes for new staff, in which nine benefited last year and three more to be approved for 2012/2013.
Also, short courses would be organised for existing staff while at least 300 students, would have benefited from the Petroleum Engineering Laboratory by 2015. In addition, visiting Lecturers/Scholars from reputable Universities will take up short term teaching appointments, to build the needed capacity at KNUST. Mr. Afram disclosed that besides these interventions under the project, other parallel programmes, such as one by the Norwegians are ongoing. The event, which was organized by the Revenue Watch Institute, had presentations also by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Albert Kan Dapaah, Ghana Gas, Tullow Ghana Limited and the Ministry of Energy.
Ministry of Energy, Ghana