John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Energy, has advised indigenous Ghanaian companies to 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 made this known speaking at the maiden workshop organised by the Ministry on the theme: “Encourage Equity Participation in the Petroleum Agreement by Indigenous Ghanaian Companies”.
He urged local firms to make good use of the Local Content Regulations, stating “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”.
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.
Lack of Capacity
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.