Takoradi — The 2018 Local Content conference and exhibition opened in Takoradi on Friday on the theme 'Five years of local content: Achievements and challenges'.
The three-day event, organised by the Petroleum Commission, which regulates, manages and coordinates upstream petroleum activities, drew participants from the oil and gas, banking, financing, insurance, logistics, waste management and other support services in the petroleum sector.
Topic to be discussed include Deep water Tano/Cape Three Points Development and prospects for indigenous Ghanaian companies, learning from the past, preparing for the future, challenges and prospects of joint venture arrangements, maximising benefits of upstream projects through sectoral linkages, exploring alternative means of funding upstream petroleum projects and four-years of implementation of the protocol on oil gas insurance placement.
In his keynote address, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Petroleum Commission, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr. said that five years after implementing the Petroleum Local Content and Local Participation Regulations and Guidelines, Ghana needed to take a step back and find what change could be made to improve the sector's performance.
He indicated that the commission had identified several provisions in the regulations and guidelines that needed to be amended and would soon send proposals to the Ministry of Energy for consideration and subsequent submission to Parliament.
The CEO said that initiatives on a new local content approach, cost audit, prudent monitoring and evaluation were not being implemented to stifle the businesses of International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other operators, but, to ensure the maximisation of value addition, job creation through use of indigenous Ghanaian expertise, goods, and services, businesses and financing were deepened for growth and competitiveness of Ghanaian companies.
According to Mr Faibille, the commission would continue to monitor activities of stakeholders as mandated by the law of fairness, transparency and also predictability.
He assured "The commission will continue to work with all stakeholder institutions, operators and sub-contractors to develop strategies to maximise local content in all aspects of the upstream value chain," adding "Let's work together to maximise the benefits for all who are lawfully involved in the industry."
The CEO, however, noted that several companies were found to be non-compliant or in breach of the laws and were notified to rectify the issues raised or appropriate sanctions given according to the magnitude of the breach.
He reminded all companies operating within the upstream industry that the commission, as a regulator, "is committed to the development of the industry and we shall not trivialise our mandate to ensure full compliance within the laws of the land."
A Deputy Minister for Energy, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, warned that the government would pursue bad companies who failed to comply with regulations guiding the local content businesses in the upstream petroleum industry.
He said "Let me turn to the issue of the behaviour of oil companies. There are certainly good and bad companies when it comes to compliance with policies and regulations of local content. Some oil companies have specialised in "beating the system, whilst others rely on local and offering experts to expose the weakness in our laws for their exploitation. Yet there are others, who cry above the roof about how expensive local content could be to their operations."
He stressed that the government would strengthen the Petroleum Commission to pursue the bad companies in the industry, stating that operators must stop viewing local content as just a legal obligation, but, rather see them as strategic drivers in project delivery and also legitimising long term commercial objectives of host governments.