Business News of 2014-07-16

Petroleum Commission opens new office

After operating from borrowed offices since its establishment in July 2011, the Petrolem Commission has finally got its own ultra-modern office complex located at Dzorwulu in Accra.
The new office complex, built with a mortgage from the United Bank for Africa, was inaugurated yesterday at a ceremony attended by ministers, industry operators and staff of other regulatory agencies.
The country’s increasing importance as an oil and gas producer led to the creation of the commission to take over the function of regulating the upstream petroleum sector from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
This means the GNPC is no longer responsible for the regulation, including licencing, of the petroleum sector.
Government has said it wants the GNPC to focus on pursuing its commercial interests by operating just like any other oil company -- engaging in exploration and development of oil fields.
This means, also, that any company seeking a permit or licence to operate in Ghana’s petroleum sector will have to apply to the Petroleum Commission and not the GNPC, as stipulated by Act 821 that establishes the Commission.
According to the Act, the Petroleum Commission shall among other things “receive applications and issue permits for specific petroleum activities as required under petroleum laws and regulations”.
Speakers at the opening of the office complex reiterated the commission’s significance in ensuring that the country gains the best possible returns from the industry.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Mines, Dr. Kwabena Donkor who headed the commission when it was established, urged its current management to pay a lot of attention to building the capacity of staff since the industry is very “knowledge-intensive”.
He equally charged management of the Commission to place competence above any other consideration in deciding who it employs.
“A single act of incompetence can cause this nation billions,” he said.
Chairman of the board of the Commission, Prof. Ivan Addae Mensah, said the commission is capable of saving Ghana billions of dollars if it is “sufficiently and sustainably resourced”.
Due to the commission’s scrutiny of the TEN project, he said, the country made savings of about US$1.4billion, which would have been lost if the initial plan of development had been approved.
CEO of the Commission Theophilus Ahwireng said promoting the participation of Ghanaians in the industry is central to the work of the commission, a reason the occasion was used to inaguarate a local content committee, which is to among other things scrutinise the local content plans of companies and make recommendations.
Source: B&FT
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