The Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission Theophilus Ahwireng has stated that the Exploration and Production (E&P) Bill which was passed by parliament recently will enhance accountability in the petroleum upstream sector.
According to him, the bill will help create certainty in the petroleum upstream industry by removing developments that may cause to unnecessary litigation.
“The predictability of the regime in which you are going to invest is very important and what the E&P Bill does is that it creates certainty that every company coming into the country knows the rules, knows the laws, knows the do’s and don’ts and so it is clear,” he said.
Mr. Ahwireng maintained that the industry is financially intensive, hence requires clear guidelines and regulations to avert any issues that may drag activities into a legal tussle.
“This industry involves a lot of money. If you want to develop a field it needs several billions of dollars,” he said, assuring that the E&P bill was purposely designed to cure the dysfunctions in Ghana’s upstream sector.
He pointed out for example that the law has streamlined the processes in awarding exploration contracts to prospecting companies to enhance transparency.
“It doesn’t subject the environment to unnecessary litigation because we were not clear what was there. That is what the E&P Bill does.” he said.
Passage of the bill
Parliament on August 4, 2016, passed the Petroleum Production and Exploration Bill which will among other things regulate activities within the country’s oil and gas sector and also ensure value for money.
While debating the bill in parliament, some members however expressed dissatisfaction at the powers granted the sector minister.
But the Petroleum Commission rejected the claims, describing it as misplaced.
Mr. Ahwireng insisted that the commission has rather developed more regulations which seek to stipulate conditions under the E&P Bill.
“We are not even stopping there. We have moved on to develop regulations that go further to stipulate conditions under the E&P Bill,” he said.
Mr. Ahwireng further added that “we must appreciate that it is an improvement on a bill, the PNDC law 84, which has been in existence for thirty three years. So this is a major feet and we are very pleased about it.”