Thursday, 25 January 2018

Oil and gas fields endangered by fishing activities – Report

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

A research funded by TEN and Jubilee Oilfield operators has revealed that, activities of fishermen around the country’s Oil and Gas operational areas in the Western Region has been identified as the major risk factor that is threatening the industry.

The research highlighted the use of fire by fishermen near the exclusive and advisory zones of the Jubilee Fields, fishing close to installation, the use of imaginable materials or objects drifting toward the FPSO, weak enforcement of laws amongst others.

The research also highlighted issues which affect fishermen and the fishing communities around the oil fields and needed to urgent attention.

The research, conducted by Centre for Environment & Health Research & Training, was focused on coming out with a framework which will ensure strategic co-existence of oil and gas and fisheries sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Commission, Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr (Esq.), speaking at a Stakeholders workshop to discuss the report titled “Safe Sea Access Framework” last week, said frequent and increasing incursions into the Advisory and Exclusive Zones by fishermen is posing challenges to all the 16 companies operating in Ghana’s oil fields.

“Over the past five (5) year period starting from 2012, a total of four thousand nine hundred and seventy (4,970) incursions have been recorded.

“These breaches do not only place fishermen in grave danger but unnecessarily put critical offshore facilities and infrastructure at risk,” he said.

He explained that it is for this reason the “study was commissioned with the objective of finding solutions and recommendations for strategies that could potentially reduce further encroachment of fishermen into the advisory and exclusive zones in the Oil and Gas operational areas.”

He said the workshop was to give stakeholders the opportunity to review the report, critique the document, and make the necessary inputs and reach a consensus on how to implement the recommendations of the research.

The Petroleum Commission boss stated that the new Board and Management is charting a new course in managing social performance, saying companies will now be encouraged to collectively pool resources to deal with common problems.

However, the Omanhene of Lower Discove in the Western Region, Nana Kwasi Agyemang (IX) who welcomed the research findings commended the consultant for doing a great job by covering issues that borders both the oil companies and the fishing communities.

He said he is excited their concerns have been captured in the report, explaining that fishermen and the fishing communities were not consulted for their inputs to be made into the regulations governing the oil fields.

Nana Kwasi Agyemang (IX) called for full implementation of the research findings to ensure that there is co-existence of the oil and gas and fisheries