The Ministry of Energy has set up a committee of experts to draw up a security policy document for the emerging oil industry as part of measures to safeguard the industry.
The policy is aimed at providing security for petroleum operations, installations and reserves.
It will also protect the petroleum industry against acts of terrorism, sabotage, piracy and vandalism and make for timely responses to emergencies in the oil and gas industry, as well as prevent the diversion and stealing of petroleum products.
Energy Minister, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, made this known in a speech read on his behalf at a workshop to extend the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to the oil and gas industry.
The workshop was designed to influence the formulation of a transparent EITI framework for the oil and gas sector in Ghana.
The EITI supports improved governance in countries rich in natural resources through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining.
Participants at the one-day workshop were drawn from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Office of the Vice-President, German Development Cooperation (GTZ) and civil society groups.
Dr Oteng-Adjei said the document would create a safe, secure and enabling environment to facilitate the exploration, exploitation and distribution of oil and gas in the country and also promote investor confidence.
He said the ministry had developed a draft local content policy that would ensure that the country achieved at least 80 per cent local content and participation in the oil and gas industry.
He added that the government was committed to ensuring that Ghanaians participated fully in the new oil and gas industry, both through employment and direct participation in the management of the sector.
It was his view that the government, through the workshop and other such fora, had signalled its intention to empower the media and civil society groups in the formulation of the policy and ultimately, question the management and utilisation of all proceeds from the country’s oil and gas find.
That, he added, would make it difficult for any selfish individual or groups to loot vital resources meant to benefit all Ghanaians.
A Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Mr Seth Terkper, for his part, said the government was committed to the timely extension of the EITI principles to the oil and gas sector as part of measures to prudently manage the resources that would be obtained from the sector.
He said creating a viable, integrated and diversified oil and gas industry could face many challenges, including negotiating contracts, safeguarding the environmental, social and cultural norms, as well as evolving investment tools that had the interest of future generations at heart and ensuring that the current revenue flows to the budget benefited all Ghanaians.
He said it was necessary to develop investment and microeconomic frameworks that did not expose the country to volatility in oil prices and excessive injection of funds that would compromise the safety of local entrepreneurs and workers.
The answers to those challenges, he noted, lay in the formulation of effective laws, systems and procedures that would stand the test of time as the country learned from the experiences of other oil-rich countries.
He urged the country’s development partners to provide technical assistance that would ensure knowledge and technology transfer to Ghanaians and add value to other sectors of the economy.