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Oil & Gas: SMEs lack knowledge of industry

JS31355979-6527788Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) seeking to be part of the oil and gas business in Takoradi in the Western Region lack understanding of activities in the sector.

This came to light during a workshop on local content and participation in Ghana’s upstream petroleum industry held by the Petroleum Commission in Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region last Friday.

The interaction exposed the ignorance of individuals and companies as regards the required competences to meet the demands of the sector.

Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Petroleum Commission, Mr Theophilus Ahwirengappealed to Ghanaians, especially SMEs in the industry, to be patient, manage their expectations and seek to understand the rudiments in the sector.

“It is crucial to be able to have the knowledge, the skills, and to be able to participate effectively in the upstream petroleum activities, but the reality is that people must be patient,” Mr Ahwireng pointed out in an interview with The Finder.

The workshop, jointly organised by the Commission, the Enterprises Development Centre (EDC) and PYXERA Global, administrators of the Ghana Supply Chain Project, was on the theme ‘Creating Opportunities for Local Content and Participation in the Upstream Petroleum Industry.’

“If someone hasn’t won a contract in the last month, two or three, he or she must be patient because things don’t happen that way; there is the need to develop competence,” Mr Ahwering stated.

He observed that “Nigeria has been in oil for more than half a century but their local content LI was passed only in 2010; we have been in production since 2010, and in 2013 our local content LI was passed; we must be happy about our little beginnings.”

To bring the SMEs up to speed with developments in the industry, the Commission delivered an overview of the upstream petroleum sector and made presentations on the different stages of the oil and gas business.

The Head of Training, Development and Research at EDC, Mr Yen Sapark, described the observation by the Petroleum Commission boss as “spot on,” adding that “our Ghanaian businesses and SMEs should know that the oil and gas industry is a competitive one and that we are dealing with oil companies who have been in the oil business for so many years.”

Some of the companies, according to him, have been operating in Norway, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Angola, where they have built relationships with international associates and suppliers.

Upon getting to Ghana, most of them have come along with all these suppliers who have had reputation and expertise over time in the area of support services.

“Our Ghanaian businesses will need to acquire the knowledge, the know-how, the techniques and what is referred to as the ‘tricks of the trade,’” Mr Sapark pointed out.

The Petroleum Commission is the regulator of the upstream petroleum sector and is mandated by law to regulate, manage and co-ordinate all activities in the upstream petroleum sector for the overall benefit and welfare of Ghanaians.

The Ghana Supply Chain Development Programme is providing support for capacitybuilding, market linkages and significantly improving the technical capacity of the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and business service providers (BSPs).

Government last year took the decision to establish an EDC in the Western Region to act as a focalpoint for co-ordination between the oil and gascompanies and SMEs.

The centre is encouraging international companies to establish offices in the region in order to utilise local goodsandservices.

The centre’s activities are not limited to the oil and gas sector, but also open up opportunities for other sectors such as mining, aviation, petrochemical and the wider economy with their attendant linkage effects.

Source: The Finder Online

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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