The Petroleum Commission is set to satisfy one of its key disclosure obligations by publishing its first annual public report on petroleum resources and activities by close of March 2013.
Speaking exclusively to Public Agenda this week, Josiah Quaynor- Addy, Manager for Field and Production activities at the Com-mission, indicated that the preparation of the report was underway and the Commission was likely to issue it within “the first quarter of next year .”
The issuance of the report would satisfy Section 3(k) of the Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act 821) which obliges the Commission to “issue annually a public report on petroleum resources and activities in Ghana in accordance with the Schedule to this Act and publish the report in the Gazette.’ ‘
The “Schedule” which is contained on page 12 of the 13-page piece of legislation enumerates 13 items which must be captured in the Commission’s report. These include open areas for petroleum exploration and production; reconnaissance licenses issued and petroleum agreements ratified; production permit issued by the Commission, relinquished production permit and active production permits; and sales or transfer of interest.
On the question of whether all the parameters set in the “Schedule” would be addressed in the report Mr Quaynor-Addy replied in the affirmative.
Seventeen (17) months ago on July 14, 2011, the President assented to Act 821 following which the Act was gazetted on July 15,2011 to principally set up the Petroleum Commission as a body corporate with perpetual succession to “regulate and manage the utilisation of petroleum resources and to co-ordinate the policies in relation to them.”
The Act is made up of 24 sections grouped under four main schedules – Petroleum Commission, Administration, Finances of the Com-mission and Miscellaneous provisions.
The Commission’s core functions – 14 of them – are then set out in section three (3) which include the issuance of the annual report. At the top of the pack is that the Commission “shall (a) promote planned, well executed, sustainable and cost efficient petroleum activities to achieve optimal levels of resource exploitation for the overall benefit and welfare of citizens.”
The Commission is also required in 3(b) to recommend to the Minister [of Energy] national policies related to petroleum activities, and in 3(c) to monitor and ensure compliance with national policies, laws; regulations and agreements related to petroleum activities.
A couple of weeks ago, Mr Quaynor-Addy gave an insight into how the Commission was performing its functions when he delivered a keynote address on be-half of the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission at the 2012 Citizens’ Summit on Oil and Gas which was organised in Accra by the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas.
He indicated that the Commission was ensuring that companies complied with the provisions of their Petroleum Agreements in relation to employment of Ghanaians. Thus, it had developed a Work Permit System (including a brochure) for the petroleum up- stream sub-sector and was undertaking a number of monitoring activities with an aim to ensure strict implementation of Ghana’s Local Content and Participation agenda.
He, however, was silent on how the Commission was meeting its disclosure obligations under the law.
Even so, he encouraged a call for openness, advising that society as a whole must hold government to account. “It is even more crucial for civil society to ensure that oil companies and their agents do not appropriate revenue that should legitimately accrue to the Ghanaian state,” he stressed.