There are so many opportunities in the oil industry which need the right dynamics, political will and right infrastructure to drive it forward, a senior official of an oil trading and petroleum distribution company, said on Tuesday.
Mrs Ivy Apea Owusu, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Oil Services Limited, mentioned some of the opportunities as field services, pipeline management, vessels for leasing and the shipping aspects of the industry.
Speaking on the topic, “Emerging Businesses for the Ghanaian Entrepreneur Due to Oil and Gas Find in Ghana” at the Second Power Breakfast Meeting in Accra, she said though the industry had so many opportunities it was a delicate one that needed to be handled properly to avoid the loss of huge sums of money.
The breakfast meeting brought together policymakers, government officials, captains of industry, young business leaders and academia to discuss Ghana’s business climate in a competitively global enterprise.
She said there was also the need for best practices, transparency, constant dialogue and a public-private partnership for a win-win situation in the industry.
Mrs Apea Owusu explained that while the upstream oil industry, such as exploration, was capital intensive running into billions of dollars, the downstream aspect, such as refinery, storage and transportation, state of the art laboratories, were areas local entrepreneurs could take advantage of.
The Cirrus CEO said with the country’s new role as an oil producer, the need for local content could not be ignored, adding that, it also called for stringent measures to ensure and insist that the right thing was done.
“Be on top of your game and don’t compromise standards,” she told the gathering, and noted that where possible local and foreign investors could join and draw strength from one another to broaden their scope and horizon.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Trudy Kernighan, welcomed Ghana to the league of oil producing countries and noted that Ghana was moving into establishing a regulatory environment, fee structure for royalties and technical expertise among other things.
She added that Canada was poised to play a partnering role in all dimensions of development of the resource.
She said in 1983 a 10-million dollar grant was awarded to Petro-Canada, a Canadian oil company, to work with Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to explore for oil in the Tano Basin which was not considered sufficiently economical to exploit.
Ms Kernigham said a grant was also given under a Memorandum of Understanding in 1993 between the two countries for the establishment of a geophysics data storage process as well as a geological and core analysis laboratory in support for GNPC exploration activities.
Alhaji Abudulai Nantogmah, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Ghana, said the Association of Ghana Industries had been calling for government to support a strong local content and local participation programme to enable Ghanaian businesses to benefit from the new found resource.
He called for cordial working relations between government and the private sector to help turn challenges into opportunities with the primary goal of developing a credible value chain for the oil and gas sector.
Some participants noted that the banking system faced the daunting challenge of financing an oil and gas industry because it was far beyond its reach.
They argued that even though the private sector had excellent proposals, long-term credit was difficult to obtain, and that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also faced tough lending conditions.
Participants also called on government to put in the necessary infrastructure development to enable other things to follow perfectly and ensure that Ghana took advantage of the opportunities available in the industry.