Accra, Sept. 8, GNA - Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Energy, has advised indigenous Ghanaian companies to make good use of the Local Content Regulations and stop becoming frontiers for other international companies in the oil industry.
He said fronting for international companies had become “so common that the bases of Ghanaians becoming participants of the industry had been denied and the international Oil companies see us as people who are joking”.
Mr Amewu said: “If we decide and refuse to participate and rather prefer to front, then as a country, we will never be considered a serious entity playing anywhere in the upstream sector”.
The Minister said this on Friday at a maiden workshop organised by the Ministry, on the theme: “Encourage Equity Participation in the Petroleum Agreement by Indigenous Ghanaian Companies”.
It provided a forum to sensitise local companies in the oil and gas upstream sector on the opportunities available and how to capitalise on them as well as to provide a clear support pathway to bolster indigenous participation.
Mr Amewu said local capacity building was very key to the boosting of the Local Content Agenda in the Oil Exploration and Production (E&P) to benefit all Ghanaians.
The Minister expressed concern about the lack of capacity within the local Ghanaian companies that would enable them to play focal roles in the industry, emphasizing that the Petroleum Regulations 2013 (LI 2204) gave first preference to indigenous Ghanaian companies in petroleum activities.
Regulation 4 (1) states that an indigenous Ghanaian company shall be given preference in the grant of a petroleum agreement or license with respect to petroleum activities subject to the fulfilment of the conditions in the Regulations.
Additionally, Regulation 4 (2) states that; “there shall be at least five per cent equity participation of an indigenous Ghanaian company other than the Corporation to be qualified to enter into a petroleum agreement or petroleum license”.
Mr Amewu said: “Capacity can always be procured. If you don’t have the knowledge and the understanding but you have the money, you can procure the capacity to undertake the work”.
He said most often the international oil companies (IOCs) that had the responsibility to encourage the local participation have not been doing so according to the law.
“And it is important that the international oil companies, donor partners and people who are interested in extracting our resources must understand that first of all, natural resources of this country belong to the local people,” the Minister said.
He encouraged the local players to be up and doing and take advantage of the sensitisation workshop to deliberate on the ramifications of indigenous citizens’ participation in petroleum exploration as part of government’s efforts at building local capacity.
He said the industry in Ghana, had become one of the strong pillars of the economy and that the opportunities were enormous and, therefore, the need to harness them effectively.
Mr Amewu urged the more than 330 Ghanaian companies who have registered with the Petroleum Commission to forge the needed partnerships to enable them to take active and focal roles within the industry.
He said the upcoming Licensing Bid Rounds would enable three oil blocks to be allocated through open competitive tender.
The tentative timelines as announced by the Ministry of Energy has stipulated that activities leading to the award of the three blocks include the promotion of the blocks from September to November, launching in October, data view and sale, publication of Expression of Interest in October, and publication to pre-qualify in December, this year.
There would also be publication of invitation to tender by April 2019, Bid submission date by August 2019, public opening of bids in August 2019, publication of list of participating bidders and bid evaluation in August, while announcement of successful bidders and invitation to negotiations would be in October and the awards of the contract by December 2019.