Dr. Mohammed Amin, Executive Director, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP)
Dr. Mohammed Amin, Executive Director, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP)

Representatives from African oil and gas producing countries congregate in Ghana to seek the best governance countries for their oil and gas industries.

Dr. Mohammed Amin, Executive Director, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP)
Dr. Mohammed Amin, Executive Director, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP)

The two-day maiden African Oil Governance Summit organized by the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) would afford the participants the opportunity to assess the regime of oil governance practices in their various countries and chart the way forward.

Opening it, Ghana’s Minister of Petroleum Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah noted that West Africa had in 2011 alone exported 150 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods, with three-quarters of this being crude oil and finished products.

“Yet, regrettably the petrol-dollars do not appear to benefit the population at large. This has been blamed on institutional failures, bad policies, insufficient stabilization mechanisms, and corruption, among others,” Buah added.

He observed that news of the numerous discoveries of hydrocarbons in West Africa was greeted with a lot of expectation such as the promise of regional development, growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as well as improvement in the living standards of the average citizen.

After Ghana discovered oil in 2007, there was skepticism about Ghana’s ability to develop the necessary policy, legal and institutional mechanisms for transparent and efficient management of the oil and gas resources as many African countries had faced such challenges.

“Ghana has not been oblivious of this dilemma, therefore upon discovering oil in 2007, we resolved to make good governance a cardinal issue in our oil and gas development discourse,” Buah stressed.

He said Ghana resolved to build an oil and gas industry that delivered tangible benefits to the citizenry while protecting the environment, drawing useful lessons from both good and bad examples from abroad.

The minister said the new petroleum bill before parliament, which proposes the adoption of an open tendering process for acquiring oil blocks and a mandatory disclosure of oil contracts through a public register of contracts, was another way of demonstrating the commitment of the government to good governance in the sector.

The theme for the summit is “Africa Rising as Oil Curse Beckons for Most Countries- Is Good Governance the Missing Link Between Oil Wealth and Development?”

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the continent’s proven oil reserves grew by nearly 120 percent in the past 30 years, from 57 billion barrels in 1980 to 124 billion barrels in 2012.
It says Africa’s proven natural gas reserves have grown from 210 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 1980 to 509 tcf in 2012, representing growth of over 140 percent.

“Our story so far points to an enactment of a continent in fruitless search for development resources whilst so much of its resources at home are being squandered away through bad resource contracts,” Executive Director for ACEP, Mohammed Amin Adams pointed out.

He argued that Africa’s resource-rich countries had for decades been signing bad big oil and mining deals, but the process had been frost with corruption in some cases, “under-pricing of concessions and extreme secrecy that take decisions on the exploitation away from the citizens.”

Adams, therefore, said these developments provided the strong basis to have a new conversation about the future of the continent to track progress in the governance of natural resources and to build the desired consensus on a road map to resource prosperity. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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