A renowned energy economist, Dr Ishmael Ackah has charged the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to utilize experiences in managing community affairs at the Western Basin to guide their operations at the on shore oil and gas Voltarian Basin.
Dr Ackah emphasized that issues regarding community livelihood and adherence to local content and job creation must remain paramount when GNPC embark on operations on the Voltarian Basin.
“I think that going to the Voltarian basin we should look at…yes, the general local content but how we can package it in a certain way that those around those communities, if now we can even identify certain skills and start training them …giving them internship in some companies so that by the time we start we can recruit some of the people around there. When we see that our brother, our sister is working in the oil and Gas we feel that we are part of it. And these people spend within the area and it helps promote the area”, he stated.
Dr Ishmael Ackah noted that a decentralized governance approach is required to enhance mutual benefit and support from host communities, in order to safeguard the integrity and sustainability of the industry.
“Already there are a number of policies but I think some of those things can also be decentralised, for instance can we get the Regional House of Chiefs, and can we get the political leaders in the region to sit down with the potential and existing operators that this is what we want.”
He added that “yes you want to bring in social responsibility and others can we also do in these assessment within our own region and identify areas we want you to invest so that we make input. The findings will serve as input into your social responsibility and we want to do this annually so we can track and report to our people. But I think when the chiefs call them they will come so we can then decentralised some of these things and make sure we are getting a lot from the resources we have”
Dr Ishmael Ackah made this disclosure in an interview with Skyy News at the side-lines of the 5th National Policy Summit held in Takoradi on Monday 10 December, 2018.
About the Voltaian Basin
The Voltaian Basin is Ghana’s inland sedimentary basin, spanning an area of approximately 103,600 sq. km. (constituting almost 40% of Ghana’s land mass).
GNPC is pioneering exploration activities in the basin under a 5-year initial exploration programme from 2015 – 2019, called The Voltaian Basin Project (VBP). The 5-year programme will cover 2D seismic data acquisition and processing, environmental impact assessment, community relations management and drilling of two conventional wells. The main project objective is to establish prospectivity and enhance knowledge base on the Voltaian basin.The VBP is GNPC’s flagship project, to build capacity, increase local content participation, and open up a frontier area to expand exploration activities. The Corporation seeks to exert significant impact on the Ghanaian petroleum industry.
The VBP is borne out of GNPC’s renewed drive for commercial operatorship of its oil and gas assets, coupled with a strong national desire for Ghanaians to manage and retain maximum benefits from our own petroleum resources. Once an existing petroleum system is confirmed, full blown exploration will be started with the aim of increasing the hydrocarbon reserve base of the country.
Story: Janet Ama Okyere/Skyy News