The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday organised a day’s sensitisation seminar to build the capacity of the Media and Civil Society Organizations in the western region, on Oil and Gas development in Ghana.
The seminar, which is on Oil and Gas development, brought together 50 journalists and CSO from the various districts in the region and educated them on the EPA second phase Oil for Development Programme (OFD) so as to enable them interrogate and communicate to the public effectively on the issues of Oil and Gas.
Mr Kojo Agbenor-Efunam, Deputy Director of Oil and Gas, EPA said the purpose of the seminar was to sensitise some media personnel and civil society organisations on the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) oil for development programme in Ghana and environmental issues associated with oil and gas development in Norway and Ghana.
According to him, it was also to enable the participants to appreciate oil and gas issues and hoped that the seminar would be able to help the participants to interrogate more environmental issues concerning oil and gas development in Ghana with relevant and informed questions.
Answering a question on the depletion of fish stock in Ghana, Mr Agbenor-Efunam said the situation was not due to the oil and gas find, but rather as a result of bad fishing practices stressing that Ghana had only three wells producing oil as compared to Norway which had more than 50 wells and the leading exporter of fish and other sea products.
He said it was time for fishers to change their fishing methods and use the appropriate fishing tools to curb the situation.
Ms Anne-Grethe Kolstad of the NEA who took the participants through environmental issues associated with oil and gas development, said it was important for the EPA to start putting in place measures that would ensure the effective decommissioning of the FPSOs.
According to her 99.5 per cent of equipment used in oil and gas production could be brought on shore to be recycled adding that it was important to be mindful of the impact of Oil and Gas on fish stocks and other marine mammals such as whales, sharks, and seals.
She also called for the reduction of the number of seabed installations, noting that it would be difficult to easily identify and locate such installation if there were leakages.
Ms Kolstad further called for the proper disposal of water from the production of oil and gas and hinted that such water could be recycled and stored in the reservoirs of the oil fields instead of disposing them in the sea.
The Participants were taken through topics such as; introduction to oil and Gas development in Ghana, Environmental issues associated with oil and Gas development and NEA interaction with CSOs and Media in Norway.
The Second Phase of the Oil for Development agreement was signed in September 2015 with a component of the agreement to enable Norwegian experts to assist the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology and Innovation and the EPA in training of officers in producing relevant documents for managing environmental issues associated with oil and Gas development.