The Minister for Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, has charged the newly inaugurated Board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to work aggressively to discover new areas for oil exploration in the country.
This, according to him, is because the country cannot rely solely on what it currently has for the next five to ten years, as production may decline.
Inaugurating the Board in Accra yesterday, Mr Boakye Agyarko expressed confidence in the new Board Members, while reiterating the effect of the task been imposed on the team.
He described the swearing in ceremony as solemn, explaining that, “you are about to carry on your shoulders a difficult task for this nation. Our current situation in the oil and gas industry is that we have found oil, yes, we’ve become an oil producing nation but we cannot rest on oars and wallow in the pleasures of what we have found.”
He added that, what the country has found “is only bread and butter”, and given another ten to twenty years without any further finds, the fortunes would begin to decline.
“We must, therefore, adopt the posture of aggressive exploration to add to our oil reserve,” he added.
According to the Minster the Central, Eastern and the Voltaian basins if properly explored, could add significantly to the national results, as they play a key role in the national economy.
“Apart from the revenue, we depend on oil for our power generation. And it must be the situation where we find enough, both oil and gas, to make us self-sufficient.
“The significance for jubilee cannot be overestimated. It is the largest oil find in the last fifteen years and we must keep our focus on the accelerator and keep looking.
“The fact that we are now an oil producing nation imposes an onerous responsibility on us as a nation, and more particularly on GNPC, to husband this unrenewable resource, maximize its use for the transformation of our nation.
“We must use it in such a way that if in the unlikely evident we run out in another fifty years, posterity will feel that it has been used wisely for their benefits. We cannot, therefore, afford to go down the slippery slopes as other nations of whom the blessing of oil has become a curse.
“Our nation and its people must feel intimately the benefits of oil. In all our ways it must touch their lives in the most meaningful and profound way”, he remarked.
The Minister spelt out the role of the Board in a governance system, which is to set the broad strategic vision and tone for GNPC.
He also indicated that the Board should outline what GNPC should be doing now and the foreseeable future.
“We must remember that this is an industry that has high standard, high expectation and serious volatility. It attracts the best in terms of resources both financial and human. You, as Board members must plan your resources in such a way that you also attract the cheapest money and the best human talents to face the talents on the other side such as the international oil companies will pose against you.
“You are also to become the sounding Board to ensure that GNPC follows the best Governance practices in a complex environment such the oil and gas industry.”
The Board Members are Mr Freddie Blay, Chairman, Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, as well as Mr Martin Kwabena Kwakye.
Others are Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Mr Yaw Kyei, Prof John S. Nabila, President of the National House of Chiefs and Nana Adjoa Hackman.
Giving his remarks on behalf of the Board members, the Chairman, Mr Freddie Blay thanked the Minister and to larger extent, the President of the Republic for the appointment, while assuring that the Board would work in line with the vision of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He said the Board is aware of the situation of oil and gas in the country and would definitely work hard to find new ways to sustain the oil production.
Speaking with the media shortly after the inauguration, Mr Freddie Blay indicated that the vision of the Board is to “help push GNPC itself to explore more oil and develop it for the benefit of this country. We are not moving from the vision. The focus is to deliver and increase the quantity of oil of the country.” He said his team would not only focus on the generations for the country but will also work for people to have value for whatever investment they make in the exploration of oil, citing that oil production is capital intensive and that investors would need value for their investments.
By Maxwell Ofori