ACEP Organises Forum on Open Contracting In The Oil & Gas Industry

Mar 2015

A stakeholder forum for women and youth groups on Open Contracting in the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill 2014 has taken place in Accra.
About 60 participants attended the forum on the theme: ‘Getting Women, the Youth and Religious Bodies Involved in Oil Governance.’
It was organized by the Ghana chapter of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP Ghana), with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)— a West African organization which promotes democratic values.
In a presentation, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of ACEP, called for a progressive regime in the oil sector that would allow for open and competitive bidding processes for giving out oil blocks and the full disclosure of contracts signed in the industry.
Dr Adam noted that the new Bill—Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill 2014— was much progressive as it attempted to meet some of the open contracting processes, adding, however, that significant gaps remained in the Bill.
Dr Adam said Ghana’s current regime for licensing oil concessions fell short of international open contracting standards which should be standardized before the Bill was passed into law.
He said the open bidding process in the Bill, as it stood now, was undermined by the process for direct negotiation.
He said in the Bill, as it currently stood, there was no requirement for the disclosure of beneficial owners in oil deals and that unlike the legislative process, there were no requirements for public comments on oil contracts.
Dr Adam, therefore, stressed the need for a mandatory disclosure of the owners of oil blocks,   the publication of and justification of contracts awarded as well as the publication of other technical and financial requirements that formed the basis of the awards.
He also urged youth groups, young women and men, faith-based bodies, student leaderships, and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to join efforts at making inputs into the Bill and at enacting a good law on the utilization of Ghana’s oil revenue.                                                                              
In his opening remarks, Mr Ben Boachie, Director of Programs, ACEP, noted that as an Energy Think-Tank, ACEP had the responsibility to engage all stakeholders, including government, to craft a good law for the governance of the oil and gas industry.
Dr (Mrs) Jemima Nunoo, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of ACEP and Chairperson for the occasion, reminded participants of their role in shaping the outcome of the law.
Parliament is currently considering the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill which, when passed into law, will govern the exploitation of oil and gas resources.
The forum, therefore, aimed to sensitize participants to influence Parliament to review certain provisions in the bill which do not promote transparency.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)