The Acting Dean of the Central University College, who is also an expert in oil, Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu, has urged the government of Ghana to ensure that a master plan is drawn in preparedness of the gas sector.
He was speaking during the day two of a nine day training workshop being organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and Penplusbytes in Accra. It is under the theme, “strengthening media oversight of the Extractive sector; reporting on oil, gas and mining”.
According to the oil expert, in developing nations, natural resources and the extractive sector are shaped by and have influence on political, societal and institution dynamics.
Ghana, in 2007 discovered large petroleum deposits and in just a matter of three years was able to promulgate laws and policies to manage the resource. Key amongst these laws are the Petroleum Commission Act, Local Content and Participation Act, 2013, Petroleum Revenue Management Act, and the already existing Petroleum Income Tax law, 1987 and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill currently before parliament.
He therefore congratulated the country for taking the bold step towards getting the regulatory framework right in place to achieve an enviable record in managing the economy of. He was however quick to add that before Ghana can fully achieve this, it is important for the country to take a closer look at some pertinent issues regarding the industry.
These issues include but not limited to a review of portions of the exploration and production bill currently before parliament before it is passed to ensure the media show keen interest in monitoring the transparency of the issuance of exploration licenses in an open tender bid rather than the discretionary powers given to the Minister of Energy and Petroleum in awarding contracts and licenses to these companies.
Again, Prof Appiah-Adu mentioned that a master plan which spells out the ownership of the gas and way forward for the sector is crucial. “We need a master plan and we need it as much as possible for the gas sector”.
Currently, GNPC owns the gas from jubilee part of which is being flared and part re-injected.
The constitution clearly puts ownership of Ghana’s natural resource in the people and states in summary the exploration of these resources must be to the benefit of the people of Ghana, although GNPC represents the government and people of Ghana in all negotiations in this regard through its 13.75 % stake in mineral rights.
It may be noteworthy to state that countries like Trinidad and Tobacco and Mozambique which just discovered gas in large quantities in 2013, owns fully the mineral rights to these resources.
Furthermore, legislation for the funding of the Petroleum Commission is needed. Production, royalties and other fiscal benefits of the natural resources must be monitored. A decommissioning fund should be set up to deal with excesses and other ramifications to the environment as a result of these finds. Environmental and socio-economic impacts of these resources must be closely addressed.
He said Ghana is now credit worthy as a result of its oil discovery, therefore, there is the need to, “price competitively”, to ensure value for money of the resource.
Source: Malise Otoo