Monday, 7 October 2019

Gov’t plans to review petroleum laws to protect local content in upstream sector


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Adnan Adams Mohammed

Government says it has begun a review of some section of the petroleum regulations in the upstream sector to help promote and protect better local content in the sector.

When amended, the new regulations will allow state oil companies such as the GNPC and GOIL to take up the 5% indigenous stake in oil contracts to make it easier for international companies to invest in the Petroleum Upstream sector.

The current law requires that every company that wishes to invest in the Petroleum Upstream Sector, must have a 5 percent indigenous stake.

But according to the Energy Ministry, foreign companies have been complaining they are unable to get indigenous companies who are willing to take up the 5 percent stake in their operations due to lack of capital.

“If we insist that there must be an indigenous Ghanaian Company on the block before we sign a petroleum agreement and an international Oil company is unable to find one, it means that Ghana is not ready to go into business with that company.

And that will stall the growth of the oil and gas industry. And so we are looking at measures to complement the existing regime. So, where it becomes extremely difficult to find an indigenous company, we will ask the GNPC or its subsidiaries to hold that stake temporarily until such a time that they can offload it to a local private company or offload it on the Ghana Stock Exchange for local private Ghanaians to go and trade for that stake.

ExxonMobil which signed a contract with the government to explore oil in the Deep-water Cape Three Points Area struggled to find a local partner to take up the five percent stake in its operations. Eventually, GOIL took up the five percent committing to invest US$25 million over the next five years.

The proposals drafted from the consultations have been presented to the Attorney General for drafting and onward presentation to Parliament.

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