Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has commended Ghana’s Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Commission for their efforts in expanding transparency mechanisms in Ghana’s upstream oil and gas sector through the launch of the Petroleum Register.
The register fulfils section 56 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919), which provides that “The Commission shall establish and maintain a register of petroleum agreements, licenses, permits and authorizations…[which] shall be open to the public.” This therefore positively signals government’s commitment to implementing the transparency provisions of Act 919.
The launch of the petroleum register comes as good news after years of ACEP’s advocacy against nondisclosure to the public of the terms and conditions of many petroleum contracts awarded by the government.
ACEP maintained the position that since petroleum agreements are long-term with outcomes that directly impact the well-being of the public, it is only fair that the contracts are published to allow for public scrutiny of the terms.
“With a publicly accessible petroleum register now in place, Ghanaians and all stakeholders will have access to relevant information on contracts. This will empower them to demand accountability from the government, hold companies to delivering on their contractual obligations, and shape the outcome of future contracts,” ACEP said in a statement.
ACEP is happy about the structure and content of the register. The publication of the full contract documents and summaries of the fiscal terms settles the fear of the civil society that Act 919 could have resulted in the publication of just a list of contracts.
ACEP, therefore, wishes to assure the Petroleum Commission and the general public of our full support in ensuring that the petroleum register achieves its purpose. “We will make use of the data provided to monitor outcomes of contract negotiations and monitor the performance of companies awarded petroleum contracts.”
“We urge the Ministry of Energy to complement the register with open and competitive tendering for petroleum contracts to ensure best possible outcome from contract negotiations.
This requires speedy completion of the development of regulations on Act 919 which was promised last year. We look forward to working with the Ministry of the regulations,” the statement signed by Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP said.
The Petroleum Register is an online platform (www.ghanapetroleumregister.com) of a Public Register that host Petroleum Agreements and contracts ratified by Parliament as well as Petroleum Permits, Certificates, Authorizations, Approvals and Consents.
It is aimed at broadening the boundaries of transparency and information disclosure in the Upstream Petroleum activities.
It will also ensure efficient and effective utilization of Ghana’s petroleum resources and provide the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) the single point or platform to monitor all upstream activities.