Energy experts hail GNPC’s plan to acquire offshore oil fields


Some energy experts have hailed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC’s) plans to acquire offshore fields to enable Ghana to own its petroleum projects.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, first hinted in the 2021 budget review that the move will help accelerate exploration and production before energy transition takes over and destabilize the country’s nascent oil and gas industry.

“’Given the prevailing sentiments around energy transition, there is a strong possibility that Ghana may be left with stranded assets, unless we accelerate our exploration activities and develop a home-grown strategy to extract our fossil fuels” Ofori-Atta said.

Speaking on the Energy 101 show, petroleum economist, Dr Theo Acheampong said GNPC has enough justification to proceed with the move.

He said GNPC has always had a strategy of wanting to become a world-class operator by 2027.

He said documents by the national oil company in 2016 indicated its resolve to achieve that objective through four growth pillars.

“They talk about building and expanding their capacity, they talk about growing and replacing reserves, they talk about efficient capitalization which is where the money bit comes in and then they also talk about capitalizing local content development,” Dr Acheampong outlined.

There is no gainsaying that the drift from fossil fuels to other cleaner forms of energy will become the mainstay of global economies in the next fifty years giving the rapidity with which the trend is gaining ground.

The situation is being goaded by some multilateral funding organizations which are covertly restricting funding to new fossil fuel projects.

Furthermore, investments in oil and gas development are said to be on the decline and this will impact fresh investments.

This definitely will demand that emerging oil and gas economies including Ghana respond appropriately to safeguard their resources.

Under such a scenario Ghana’s underdeveloped resources will be stranded, making the energy transition a further threat to oil production in the country.

This means effective proactive measures must be taken sooner than later to forestall our resources from being stranded.

ExxonMobil departed Ghana after three years of controlling the Deepwater Cape Three Points oil block obviously in pursuit of fewer carbon emission projects.

The experts say if GNPC had the capacity it would have explored these resources. Touching on the benefits that Ghana stands to derive from the acquisition, Dr Theo Acheampong said the country will develop local capacity to exploit its own reserves.

Petroleum consultant Dr Yusiff Sulemana who also spoke on the Energy 101 show said he believes the move is timely as the country has no choice than to exploit its own resources at this time.

He however cautioned the government to be strategic with its moves. ‘’ for me the reason to whether to go ahead or not doesn’t come in. we don’t have a choice

Also, policy lead, Climate Change and Energy Transition at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) Charles Ofori, said believes that the government should not be in a haste to acquire the offshore fields.

He said there is the need to effectively analyze the situation before choosing the option to take.

Meanwhile, the government is said to have approved the proposal by the GNPC and is awaiting parliamentary approval.

Emmanuel Aboagye-Wiafe

Gh Extractives is an independent multimedia portal that seeks to provide credible information and news content to readers especially players in the extractive sector in Ghana, Africa and beyond. It also provides a unique platform for players in the energy sector to market their products and reach a wider audience

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