As part of government’s policy to guide petroleum operations to follow sustainable development, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed guidelines to regulate oil and gas activities in the country.
The purpose for these guidelines is to mainstream environmental, health, safety and community issues into the offshore oil and gas operations.
These guidelines are intended to assist industry to understand Ghana’s environmental assessment process, identify and manage environmental impacts associated with offshore operations, provide industry and government with clarity on the current regulatory requirements.
They are also to provide dialogue between industry and government to address opportunities and other issues.
Addressing a workshop in Accra on Tuesday to strengthen the environmental management of oil and gas sector in Ghana, Mr Daniel S. Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of EPA, said the Agency had initiated a master plan to seek assistance from the Norwegian government and the World Bank to ensure environmental governance for oil and gas development.
He said the implementation of the plan would be in the areas of improvement in institutional arrangements and legal framework, environmental management, community issues and public consultation, human resource development, regional cooperation, inter-sector networking and public seminars, and international cooperation.
He added that the implementation was intended to develop institutional capacity to manage the environmental, health and safety challenges posed by the petroleum sector.
Mr Amlalo said the strategies identified in environmental management, health and safety and community issues would provide appropriate institutional and regulatory framework for environmental management of the petroleum sector.
This, he added, would create, strengthen and build a capacity department responsible for oil and gas and ensure the adequate capacity for the enforcement of environmental laws and regulation framework for the petroleum sector.
He explained that the strategies identified would also create a system for rapid conflict resolution between the oil and gas sector operations and other sectors such as fisheries, fish processing, agriculture and tourism.
Mr Amlalo announced that the agency would recruit new staff to beef up personnel, pursue capacity building for staff working in oil and gas sector and the acquisition of certain logistics like field vehicles, computers and laboratory equipment to help strengthen environmental governance for oil and gas sector in Ghana.
"The Agency has positioned itself to be the primary Agency for management of the environment aspects of oil and gas development," he said.