According to Kofi Buah, government is committed to strengthening the Petroleum Commission; and he stated that country has moved from the era when training and technology allowances used to be channeled to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation as far as oil exploration and production is concerned.
“Since this house established the Petroleum Commission, it has saved this country 600 million dollars in terms of the work they have done. In a lot of the technical requests, say to drill wells, the Petroleum Commission must build its capacity to challenge those reports to say you don’t need two wells, you need one well; and given all of those works that the Petroleum Commission has done, it means that if it were not in place the state cumulatively would have lost a total of 600 million dollars. That is how important the work of the Petroleum Commission is,” he said.
“As technology advances, we need to get the resources to build the technological capacity of the Commission. So when we talk about technological allowances that is where is going,” the Petroleum Minister explained.
However, these allowances are dependent on ratification of the Petroleum Agreement, the report on the Select Committee on Mines and Energy stated.
Despite concerns raised by members of the Mines and Energy Committee over the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) bill 2014, which is yet to passed, Mr. Armah-Kofi Buah explained that the Petroleum Agreements under consideration have improved terms as compared to existing agreements.
His statement follows the approval of three petroleum agreements by Parliament consisting of the GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited and Springfield Exploration and Production Company Limited for the conduct of exploration and production operations in the West Cape Three Points Block 2 Offshore Ghana; the ENI Ghana Exploration and Production Limited, Vitol Upstream Tano Limited and Woodfields Upstream for the conduct of exploration and production operations in Cape Three Points Block 4 Offshore Ghana.
Others approved include the Petroleum agreement between GNPC, and the Swiss African Oil Company and PET Volta Investments Limited in respect of onshore/offshore Keta Delta block.
Some of the highlights in the GNPC, Swiss African Oil Company and PET Volta Investments in respect of onshore/offshore Keta Delta Block indicate that on ratification of the Petroleum agreement, “the Contractor has agreed to pay the amount of One million dollars to GNOC as a training allowance for each year. A one-time payment of One million five hundred thousand dollars will further be paid to the corporation within thirty days of the petroleum agreement coming into effect,” the report added.
The Commission was established by an Act of Parliament as a result of hydrocarbon discoveries in commercial quantities, to regulate and manage the utilisation of petroleum resources and coordinate policies in the upstream petroleum sector.
Since energy is vital to the development of a country, the Petroleum Minister claims it is expected that in the medium to long-term, oil and gas will become one of the economy’s key drivers. In the light of this potential, prudent management of the resource becomes absolutely essential.