The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, has, during the convergence of the global community at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), acknowledged the need for a balanced discourse on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the transition towards a net-zero economy, particularly in Ghana and other emerging oil countries.
Delivering to an audience at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, O-A Danquah unveiled the complexities of Ghana’s petroleum sector, outlining the nuances of its energy landscape and highlighting challenges along with key strategic opportunities for the fossil fuel sector as it navigates the global energy transition.
Foremost among the challenges is the reduction of financing from international institutions, a move that reverberates significantly within Africa’s oil and gas industry. The GNPC boss highlighted the urgency of finding alternative sources of support, recognizing that the sector’s vitality hinges on securing funding from diverse channels.
Addressing this financial conundrum, Mr. Danquah pointed to ongoing solutions as the Africa Energy Bank initiative. This locally driven initiative not only exemplifies a call for increased financing from within the continent but also underscores the strategic imperative of self-sufficiency. By garnering indigenous financial support, Ghana aims to fortify its energy sector against external financial shocks.
Ghana’s ambitious pursuit of universal electricity access encounters the energy trilemma, emphasizing the delicate balance between reliability, affordability, and sustainability. O-A Danquah stressed the need to leverage the nation’s oil reserves strategically. The sector, he underscored, “should not only serve as an upstream energy wellspring but also as a catalyst for broader societal benefits, aligning with the nation’s social and economic development goals”.
Citing the looming risk of leaving petroleum assets stranded in the so-called energy transition he emphasized, data-backed decisions, aligning them with global climate goals to ensure a responsible and sustainable approach to asset management.
He noted the challenge of the premature dismantling of fossil fuel-dependent infrastructure; thereby necessitating a measured approach.
Avoiding economic repercussions and regional inequalities, therefore, becomes paramount, whilst reflecting the delicate balance required in steering towards a greener future.
In the upstream partner selection process for oil and gas development, Mr. Danquah underscored the importance of caution. Aligning with entities that may not share Ghana’s unique vision towards a sustainable future would impede the transition and compromise the nation’s energy sovereignty.
According to the GNPC CEO, integrating low-carbon projects into GNPC’s portfolio signifies a proactive approach to balance risk exposures and explore diversified opportunities.
This strategic move positions the Corporation to navigate the evolving energy landscape effectively.
The energy transition poses challenges but also provides avenues for job creation. Mr. Danquah highlighted the potential for skilled workers from the fossil fuel industry to seamlessly transition into the renewable energy sector, fostering economic growth and stability.
“It is important to recognize that reducing emissions and embracing greener and responsible practices positions fossil fuel companies at the forefront of environmental stewardship. Energy companies that align with broader environmental goals stand as pioneers in ushering in a cleaner and more sustainable energy future,” he stressed.
In conclusion, O-A Danquah said GNPC recognizes the multifaceted nature of Ghana’s energy transition path and remains committed to navigating these challenges with strategic initiatives. He said the opportunities outlined underscore the potential for the petroleum sector to play a pivotal role in Ghana’s sustainable and competitive future.
As the world collectively addresses the climate crisis, GNPC stands poised to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable energy landscape.