The government wants the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to concentrate efforts on commercial activities in the upstream oil and gas sector rather than dabbling in regulations and policy making.
It has thus commenced a review of the Act establishing the corporation as part of measures aimed at ensuring that GNPC is legally positioned to take commercial advantage of the country’s emerging oil and gas industry.
The review will, among other things, make it possible for the corporation to individually or jointly undertake exploration, development and production of oil and gas in and outside the country.
According to the Head of Geophysics at GNPC, Mr Theo Ahwireng, those measures would also make it possible for the country to get maximum returns from her oil and gas resources.
Mr Ahwireng made the comments at the third edition of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Local Content Exhibition and Conference which ends today in Accra.
The three-day event is an annual initiative by the AGI with the support of the Ministries of Energy and Trade and Industry, the GNPC, Tullow Ghana, Modec Ghana, Newmont Ghana Gold among others. This year’s event is under the theme ‘Local Content Partnerships – The Success Stories’.
Until the establishment of the Petroleum Commission (PC) earlier this year, GNPC engaged in licensing and regulation as well as exploration, production and disposal of petroleum products in the upstream sector.
The formation of the commission and the ongoing review of the GNPC Law will, however, transfer regulatory and policy issues in the sector to the PC and the Ministry of Energy respectively, thereby leaving the corporation to concentrate its efforts on commercial activities as an operator on its own.
While admitting the strong correlation between oil production and economic development, Mr Ahwireng said “countries that have been successful in the management of their oil and gas resource did so by having strong national oil companies (NOCs).”
“GNPC also needs to enter into partnerships to undertake commercial activities in oil and gas,” he added.
His comments come on the back of earlier assertions by Energy Minister, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, to the effect that the corporation was being restructured to enable it meet emerging challenges and government’s ambitions for it.
“The aim is to enable GNPC undertake roles in the whole value chain in the petroleum upstream sector as an operator, with its own resources, in the near future,” the minister said at his last encounter with the press on September 6.
On local content issues in the oil and gas sector, the Head of Geophysics at GNPC said the corporation was working with the newly established Petroleum Commission to implement the demands of the Local Content Policy for the sector.
Mr Ahwireng pledged his outfit’s resolve to ensure that institutions working in the upstream sector complied with the policy so as to give the country and the citizenry maximum benefits to the resources.