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Business News Sat, 25 May 2019

Government is determined to implement market friendly policies - Energy Minister

Mr John-Peter Amewu, Minister of Energy, says government is determined to formulate and implement market friendly policies to make Ghana competitive.

He said as a Government committed to private sector development, we are prepared to change course.

“This is particularly important because oil and gas projects have become very expensive, upstream investments are not increasing faster, and the threat of the green revolution to the prospects of hydrocarbon based economic development, have led us to reconsider our strategy for the accelerated growth of our oil and gas industry,” he said.

The Minister said this in an address at an Oil and Gas Legislative Review Stakeholders meeting held in Accra on Friday to examine a new strategy and to collate views of stakeholders in order to speed up growth of the Oil and Gas Industry.

He said the strategy would pave way for a review of the existing regulatory frameworks and practices, and would include the development of new regulations and amendments of some provisions.

“These changes will ensure that the regulations are aligned to our policies and strategies. Laws must be informed by policies and strategies and not the other way. Therefore, with an evolving industry and changing policies, our laws must be effectively responsive,” he added.

Mr Amewu noted that Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry had grown in size and in activity from a long period of zero rig to about four rigs, working at the same time to determine the potential of the basins.

“In terms of the fiscal impact, we have seen growth from 1,400 barrels per day in 2009/10 to 214,000 barrels per day in 2019,” he added.

He stated that many Ghanaians had been impacted through employment opportunities and service contracts, adding that, the country now largely used gas for most of the electricity generated, hence the industry’s value addition to the economy had been well established.

The Minister, however, said the Oil and Gas Industry continued to face significant challenges and risks, adding that, basins were largely not de-risked.

According to him, significant data gaps and low data quality still existed, and many companies continued to site the industry’s fiscal regime as disincentives.

“As a country, we have concerns about the operations of industry players, and therefore our policies and regulations have been designed to maximize value for the country and our people,” he added.

Mr Amewu assured stakeholders and potential investors that Government was willing to travel the journey of providing laws that supported the growth of the industry.

‘‘Industry legislation and regulatory institutions must exist to facilitate growth of the industry, not become constraints on its potential; attract credible investors, not scare them away; and improve on the application of advanced technology, not maintain the status quo,” he said.

Government will do everything possible to reposition our oil industry to take its rightful place in the competitive oil market; and increase the contributions of the oil industry to the overall growth of the Ghanaian economy,” he added.

He said government’s desire to improve on the investment climate for the oil industry was mainly to provide certainty and predictability to investors, and to reward investors that were willing to invest and meet their work obligations.

However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that government is going to give away freebies but that the ministry is opened to work with investors that obeyed the rule of law governing the sector’s operations.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister in charge of Petroleum, said the event was significant in moving from current policies and approaches to formulating new plans to boost development of the growing sector.

Deputy Minister in charge of Finance and Infrastructure, Mr Joseph Cudjoe, expressed optimism that the objectives for the consultation would be achieved, to set the roadmap for further inputs for the regulatory framework in the sector.

The meeting brought together participants, including International Oil Companies, indigenous companies, investors, regulatory authorities, civil society organizations, the media and other key players in the oil and gas sector.

Companies present include Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Cosmos Energy, Petroleum Commission and Exxon Mobil.

Source: ghananewsagency.org