Mr Emmanuel Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy, Oil and Gas, on Tuesday called for the empowerment of local businesses through strong partnerships to enable them to serve as front-runners in the country’s petro-chemical industry.
He stressed that such partnerships with foreign allies would enable the Ghanaian businesses to add value to their operations and products which would in turn stimulate economic growth.
Mr Buah was speaking at the opening session of the three-day 17th Offshore West Africa International Conference and Exhibition in Accra.
The conference and exhibition event, which is expected to attract more than 60 participating countries, would afford participants the opportunity to share technological experiences with experts in their respective fields.
It would also present the technologies available and applicable to the industry for the exploitation of resources located at the West Africa offshore.
It is being hosted by Ghana National Petroleum Corporation with the support of Ministry of Energy and jointly sponsored by Tullow Ghana Limited (TGL) and Schlumberger.
It is on the theme: “Deep-water Discoveries: Emerging Opportunities”.
The event aims to address key technology and developmental issues for the West African Offshore oil and gas market through a comprehensive educational programme.
Topics to be discussed are Construction and Drilling Operations, Field Developments, Subsea Technology, Safety and Environmental Concerns as well as Promotion of Local Contents.
Other topics are the Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources, Offshore West African Projects Performance and the Comparative Fiscal Regime in the Gulf of Guinea.
Mr Buah said the 23 discoveries made so far within three years in the oil and gas sector as well as the influx of investment was expected to rake in increased opportunities for oil and service companies in the country.
He, however, observed that the progress made in the sector would be meaningless unless it engendered local content and participation.
Mrs Juliette Twumasi-Anokye, Coordinator of Local Content at the Petroleum Commission, explained that his outfit carried out continuous registration of companies desirous of operating in the oil and gas industry.
This, she said, was to help promote local participation in petroleum activities and assessment of all applications for the issuance of permits for specific petroleum ventures as required by law.
Mrs Twumasi-Anokye, who is also a legal advisor to the Commission, said the Petroleum Commission was established in response to the demands of Article 269 of the 1992 Constitution, which required the body to monitor and ensure compliance with national policies, laws, regulations, agreements on health, safety and environmental standards in petroleum activities.
The Petroleum Commission is also to ensure compliance with health, safety and environmental standards in petroleum activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and agreements, and ensuring that persons involved in petroleum activities complied with applicable laws and regulations.
Mrs Twumasi-Anokye was optimistic that the event would feature various seasoned and experienced experts in the oil and gas sector, who would speak on issues that would help inform those desiring to pursue careers and employment opportunities in the industry.
Dr Gilbert Yevi, Jubilee Asset Manager at TGL, made some recommendations to encourage more deep water development in Africa.
The recommendations included the establishment of mutually beneficial contractual terms for investors to operate, harnessing the potential of transfer of technology and the roll out of institutional systems and schemes to mitigate non-technical risks.
Dr Yevi also recommended that governments should create the right business environment to develop local talents and capacity to mentor and coach particularly young ones.
He urged governments to build infrastructure early to attract direct foreign investments in the oil and gas sector.