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15.06.2009 General News

Make Oil Production A Blessing - Minister

By Daily Graphic
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The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Board has been inaugurated with a call on members to work harder to make oil production in the country a blessing rather than a curse.

“The debate has been going on as to whether the oil resource will become a curse or a blessing. But I believe when you work as a team and bring all your expertise to bear, you will help add value to the resource and make it a blessing,” the Energy Minister, Dr Joseph Oteng-Adjei, said when he inaugurated the seven-member board at his office in Accra yesterday.

The board is chaired by Mr Ato Awhoi and is made up of Dr Cadman Mills, Dr Kwaku Temeng, Mr Kyeretwie Opoku, Mrs Alexandria Amoako-Mensah, Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye and Awulae Attibrukusu III.

The minister reminded members of the board that for the GNPC to be effective, it needed to draft 21 regulations which were not ready so far, and therefore taxed them to help in coming out with such important regulations to ensure the effectiveness of the corporation.

The GNPC is charged with the mandate of encouraging investments and regulating the upstream oil and gas industry, a function it had been performing since the late 1980s.

The new board takes office at a time when the country is preparing for the pouring of its first oil in commercial quantities from the Tano Basin, offshore Cape Three Points in the Western Region in the third quarter of next year.

This goes with enormous challenges in ensuring that the country is prepared to absorb a lot of challenges such as disasters, putting up infrastructure to ensure the attainment of a zero gas flaring on the Tano Basin as well as managing expectations.

Since the country has very limited capacity in the oil and gas sector, there is enormous pressure to build local capacity, especially for those living in the immediate surroundings of the discovery so as to forestall unrest, and the board therefore has a huge responsibility in developing and approving programmes to solve such issues.

Dr Oteng-Adjei stated that the petroleum sector may not need new laws if all the regulations were developed and implemented, saying that would also help in creating more jobs for the people.

He enjoined members of the board to be abreast of the GNPC Law, PNDCL 64 (1993) to guide their operations and enable them to deliver effective results.

“My oversight responsibility is limited to giving directions as they relate to policy decisions and the national development agenda. I trust that you will fully apply yourselves to it in carrying out your duties and responsibilities,” Dr Oteng-Adjei stressed.

Mr Ahwoi, for his part, thanked the President, Prof John Atta Mills, for the confidence reposed in the board and said they would offer their best of services to help create a better Ghana.

“A lot is expected from us and we will do our best to achieve good results,” he said, adding that the board would conduct its discussions in a dispassionate manner and ensure that only the supreme interest of the country would be served.