A Comprehensive gas policy would soon be laid before parliament for approval, to ensure that production and commercialization of gas in large quantities go a long way to address the perennial gas shortages.
To this end, the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), an agency of the Ministry of Energy, has been mandated to oversee proper management and development of a national network of gas pipelines, treatment of gas and storage facilities, as well commercial activities related to the safe operations of the resource.
The Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Buah, made this known at an oil and gas seminar in Accra last Monday, on the topic, ‘Ghana oil and gas industry in the next 30 years: Prospect, opportunities and challenges’.
Mr Buah said plans were far advance to site a gas processing plant at Atuabo in the Western Region, to commence the commercialization of the gas project.
Additionally, he said government, in its quest to protect the environment against the negative impact of the industry, had put in place a key policy objective to ensure consistence with international standards of environmental sustainability.
‘’Damage to the environment, by whatever means, will not be tolerated in the conduct of petroleum activities. Government aims to ensure that the environment today will not be much different from the environment, thirty years from today,’’ he said.
He said government aware of the high expectations on the potential benefits from the sector, had engaged many Ghanaians both directly and indirectly, in the industry.
According to Mr Buah, the greatest challenge the country would face as she joined the community of oil producing nations would be to ensure that development opportunities which the oil resources presented would neither be wasted nor transformed into ‘’resource curse.’’
He said the oil industry was a lucrative one and if managed efficiently, could accelerate jobs creations and facilitate the building of national capacity to harness advanced technologies.
Mr Buah noted that though Ghana had discovered oil in commercial quantities, traditional resources such as gold, timber and cocoa, continued to play a central role in the development of the economy.
The Deputy Minister assured the youth of government’s commitment in ensuring good governance in the oil and gas sector by creating conductive environment that would woo investors’ confidence in the country.
He urged the youth to acquire the requisite skills in their various field of endeavor to enable them to contribute their quota meaningfully to national development
Mr Mohammed Amin Adam Anta, an energy economist, advocated the need for the gas policy to enhance the monitoring, control and development of gas infrastructure in the country.
He argued that the sustained development of the country, there was the need to resuscitate the non-oil sector, which includes gold, diamond, timber, bauxite and cocoa which had played a central role in the development of the economy in no small measure.
He said though Ghana was being touted as the fastest growing economy in the world with a Growth Domestic Product (GDP) of 15 per cent,’ on one can belittle the contribution of the oil resource to the growth of the economy”.
He cautioned that care should be taken to avoid the Dutch Disease, a situation where people became more impoverished even when they had abundant natural resource to improve their lots.