Oil Curse Looms – ACEP


The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says the discovery of oil will become a curse for the country if stringent measures are not taken to tackle corruption in the oil and gas industry

Executive Director of ACEP, Mohammed Amin Adam made this known on Thursday in Accra at a forum on open contracting in the oil and gas industry organized by ACEP under the theme: ‘Getting Women, the Youth and Religious Bodies Involved in Oil Governance.’

He warned that ‘Ghana must avoid the curse of oil and the only way we can avoid the curse of oil is to open the process for giving out oil blocks so that we can attract the best companies to Ghana.

According to him, there is total lack of transparency in the bidding and contracting process of oil blocks in the country’s oil and gas sector.

‘Ghana does not have an open and competitive process for awarding oil blocks and we think that there is so much corruption in the oil and gas industry and if Ghana is to maximize the benefits of our oil wealth one cardinal value we need to adopt is transparency including transparency along the contract value chain,’ he stressed.

The lack of transparency in the sector, he claimed, has resulted in the award of oil blocks to small companies with no experience in deepwater field management.

‘Only small companies such as A-Z Petroleum, Sahara, among others, with little experience are coming in and not big ones. Most of them are Nigerian companies who have experience only in managing marginal fields and not in deepwater fields or upstream sector oil operation,’ Mr. Adam disclosed.

Those companies, he noted, were only profiting from the country’s oil resources.

Local Content
According to him, the element of local content is gradually declining within the oil sector.

Bill
Parliament is considering the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill. The bill, when passed into law, will govern the exploitation of oil and gas resources.

But ACEP has called for the revision of the bill, claiming certain provisions in the bill do not promote transparency.

Recommendations
Mr Adam called for a progressive regime in the oil sector that will allow for open and competitive bidding process for giving out oil blocks and the full disclosure of contracts signed in the industry.

He also called for mandatory disclosure of the owners of oil blocks.

According to him, government was grossly violating section 48 (2) (B) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Law, which requires that it to publish annual reports on the stages of completion of all projects funded with oil money.

He said even though the law came into effect in 2011, government had failed to comply with it, saying ‘ACEP shall take the government to court for failing to do so.

BY Melvin Tarlue & Roland Paa Kutin


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