The government has categorised the upstream oil and gas sector and mining as priority sectors of the economy.
This will require the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to extend more lucrative incentives and exemptions to help attract further investments within the petroleum sector.
To ensure that upstream sector investments that come into the country stay, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation which is required by law to have a carried interest in all upstream petroleum agreements, is advocating a shift beyond the normal 10% or 15% share of foreign direct investments (FDIs) for exploration of new oil blocks and with internally generated funds.
This was disclosed by the CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah at the just-ended Africa Energy Week which took place in Cape Town South Africa. Commenting during an Invest in Ghana Energy session as part of the conference, he said the country’s petroleum industry is still in its nascent stage with a lot of work to do.
“We’ve been talking to the Afrexim bank, we are part of the Africa Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) which is in the process of setting up an energy bank possibly to be located in Ghana, all as a means to raise adequate funding for our ongoing projects’’ he stated.
The GNPC CEO emphasised the need to increase the country’s stake in the onshore Voltaian basin oil production.
“We want to take that interest from our assets from the usual 10% and 15% to 90% or even have full ownership’’. Opoku Ahweeneh said.
“The proceeds we are getting from our oil sales, we are putting it into our other activities, which will be the Voltaian Onshore basin.”
He expressed the hope of the government taking full ownership of the Voltaian Basin project and called for full collaboration with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and other financial stakeholders to make this dream a reality.
Ahweeneh Danquah also underscored the essence of investing in the development of human capital as a way of enhancing local content in the upstream petroleum sector.
He said the GNPC prioritizes human capital development when it comes to investments and so despite the huge capital outlay of foreign investments in operational activities it also places a premium on human capital.
Ahweeneh Danquah said this is very important because when employees are well-trained, they can make good use of any amount of FDIs that come in.
“We at the GNPC are putting our resources not only in the operational activities but really in human capital. We are taking our young engineers and training them for the future so that twenty years from now they can make good use of the FDIs for the benefit of the country,’’ he said.
‘’The Voltain basin which is our onshore frontier basin, which we hope to drill next year, when we started it was about 99% all foreigners a lot of Chinese because they owned the seismic machines and the equipment. But today it’s about 90% Ghanaian individuals and maybe about 5% or 10% foreigners. The reason is we have taken GNPC employees to train’’ Ahweeneh Danquah said.
The GNPC boss praised Kosmos Energy for assisting in training the company’s employees in diverse ways.
The “Invest in Ghana Energies” session was moderated by the general manager of strategy and investment at the GNPC Dr Kwame Baah Nuakoh.
The other panellists were the CEO of the Petroleum Commission Egbert Faibille Jnr., the senior vice-president and head of the Ghana Business Unit at Kosmos Energy Joe Mensah, the deputy CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)Yaw Amoateng Afriyie, Olakunle Williams CEO of Tetracore Energy and Dr Nosa Omorodion, director, National Directorates and Independent, West Africa SLBGNA.