Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) says it is committed to playing its role in the development of local content within the domestic and regional upstream petroleum space.
Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GNPC, said notwithstanding known challenges like access to affordable finance and infrastructural deficits, the Corporation is committed to ensuring the development of national capacities in all aspects of the petroleum operations.
He said in Ghana, the National Petroleum Commission leads in ensuring compliance with regulations and laws adding that African countries need a strong watchdog to ensure compliance.
Dr Sarpong said this on Thursday at the opening of the Third Africa Oil and Gas Local Content Sustainability Summit (ALC2019) in Accra.
The event was held under the theme: "Shaping the Future through Sustainable Local Content Policies".
ALC2019 is the third annual continent-wide policy response initiative and platform that brings together regional decision-makers and relevant stakeholders.
The key objective of the two-day event is the promotion of increased local value addition and participation in the oil and gas industry supply chain, to achieve the transfer of skills, capacity building and economic development.
Dr Sarpong said with a mandate to harness Ghana's hydrocarbon resources for national development, GNPC believes that regional cooperation and collaboration are critical to leveraging each other's experience and knowledge to further develop not only domestic but also regional local content strategies for their mutual benefit.
He said Ghana has already entered into a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Leone and The Gambia, adding that similar agreements would soon be signed with Liberia and Guyana.
"Collectively, we have a duty to ensure that local content policy ideas and strategies that will emerge from this conference are shared and translated into workable solutions, backed by the necessary legislation that would ensure compliance and translate them into values for our people. This is no time to have paper tigers - but rather, policies, backed by legislations that work."
He said the petroleum industry's renewed focus on leveraging natural resources by creating linkages to other sectors of domestic and regional economies was the key driving force behind many of their local content policies and strategies.
Dr Sarpong said currently, GNPC has aligned its local content closely with its corporate social investments, allowing for a more streamlined approach to building national capacities through education and training, the development of skills and technology, as well as economically empowering the localities in which they operate.
He said as a way of ensuring the existence of a pool of local human resource for the industry value chain, they have expanded the base of GNPC's scholarship awards to undergraduate students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to build a strong foundation for increased local capacity.
He said GNPC has also established Professorial Chairs in four of Ghana's universities with general purpose of equipping students from educational institutions to fill technical and research gaps within the upstream oil and gas space.
Mr John Peter Amewu, Energy Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, said local content is a development strategy aimed at increasing the benefits from oil and gas sector and translating them to other sectors of the economy.
He said the Government is committed to ensuring that the value from the finite resource accruing to people was enhanced, through policies and regulations.
Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, CEO, Petroleum Commission, in a speech read on his behalf, said regional cooperation and collaboration was very critical for African countries to harness the benefits of the petroleum industry.
He said Ghana's strategy was that, the oil and gas industry must not be taken in isolation, if it was to propel national development.
Mr M. Mahaman Laouan Gaya, African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), tasked APPO member countries to set-up national local content experts to act as relays for the organisation to periodically assess the progress of objectives set for horizon 2030.