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11.02.2010 Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas forum opens

By GNA
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Oil and Gas forum opens
February 10, 2010
Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry on Wednesday started a two-day forum to deliberate on eight draft legislations for their possible adoption before the takeoff of crude oil production in the last quarter of this year.

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport convened the forum to give participants the opportunity to comment on the draft legislations to enable the Ministry to take the necessary action to seek cabinet approval for their enactment.

The stakeholders, including those in the maritime industry, Parliament, oil exploration industry and various ministries, departments and agencies are expected to make inputs in the legislations that would govern the new oil and gas industry.

Mr Mike Hammah, Minister of Transport, stressed the importance of the legislations which, he said, required urgent action and that any further delays would seriously affect the production schedule with high cost implications.

He mentioned the legislations such as the "The Marine Pollution Bill 2010"; "The Offshore Petroleum (Marine Pollution Prevention and Control Regulation 2010)"; "The Offshore Petroleum (Health and Safety) Bill 2010"; and the "Offshore Petroleum (Maritime Fees and charges) Regulations 2010."

The rest are the "Ghana Shipping (afety zone and pipeline protection area) Regulations 2010"; the "Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill 2010", the "Maritime Authority (Amendment) Bill 2010" and the "Ghana Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2010".

Mr Hammah said at present the only law in Ghana's statue books was the Oil Pollution Law of 1954 that dealt with marine pollution prevention and that needed to be upgraded to effectively address current issues.

Mr Issaka Peter Azuma, Director General, GMA, said aside the need for the most urgent statutory document for the smooth take-off of the oil and gas development, there was also the need for institutional strengthening and capacity building at all levels by the respective stakeholders for effective performance.

He indicated that GMA on its part had initiated action to recruit new technical staff and other experts to argument its existing human resources while a training programme had been drawn for the Authority's staff.

"In performing its functions the Authority will endeavour to do so in collaboration with other stakeholders whose functions are related to the function of the Authority for effective delivery," Mr Hammah added.

Captain (GN. Rtd) George Asubonteng, Board Chairman, GMA, said most of the drafted legislations should have been enacted by now as most of the basic ground works offshore like the rigs had been started already.

He called on the Ministry of Transport to as early as possible publish a gazette notice on the exclusive safety zones in order to enhance safety of navigation of all vessels at the vicinity of the oil and gas area.

Ms Sherry Ayitey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said as the regulatory framework was being put in place, there was the need to turn attention to its implementation and focus on enforcement through building of requisite capacity by training the officials of relevant agencies to carry out enforcement and implementation of the laws.

"Additionally, it is imperative that as a nation we make it a priority to seek technological advancement in all fields of endeavour and in particular in the setting of standards for industry to comply with on land and in the offshore area," she said.

GNA

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