In recognizing the enormity of the country’s oil and gas activities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed technical guidelines to regulate the offshore activities.
The document, which is known as ‘Guidelines for Environmental Assessment and Management of Offshore Oil and Gas Development in Ghana,’ has been prepared to ensure the sustainable development of offshore oil and gas resources.
The guidelines are intended to: provide systematic procedures on environmental impact statement preparations for the sector, provide guidance on common potential impacts and mitigation measures, and ensure the development and production activities in Ghana’s exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf beyond its territory.
Launching the guidelines in Accra, Sissi Wilson, Board Chairman of EPA, said the document is also meant to contribute towards sound environmental management in the oil and gas sector.
He explained that “the EPA developed a master plan in 2008 to clearly delineate the key challenges that the industry brought and developed strategies and actions that should be taken to deal with those challenges.”
He added that the development of oil and gas guidelines is one of the key actions that the EPA identified in the Master Plan.
He said “during the development of the guidelines, a number of stakeholders including our Norwegian counterparts also took part in the review process and brought best industry practices to make these guidelines comparable to any international best practice guidelines.”
In an interview with CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE, Kojo Agbenor-Efunam, Deputy Director, in charge of oil and gas at EPA, said the guidelines would also help EPA in monitoring and auditing the oil companies.
He said “these guidelines would serve as a tool in knowing the exact things to look out for when conducting auditing and monitoring on oil and gas companies.”
To ensure the implementation of the guidelines, Mr. Agbenor-Efunam noted that the workshop and training programmes had been organized for EPA staff and other relevant stakeholders to look out for compliance mechanisms.
He indicated the guideline focuses mainly on the oil sector, with a component of gas “but in future if it is realized that the gas industry is not adequately covered, or we see several challenges, we might have to develop a specific one for the gas sector.”