Seven years after oil production commenced, and several years after civil society sounded the alarm, the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has said it intends to implement the parallel metering system that is supposed to help monitor oil production volumes and safeguard revenues due the state.
In the past, government officials have parried concerns raised by the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas to the effect that the state did not have enough measures in place to monitor oil production volumes.
But a report of parliament’s committee on trade, industry and tourism admits that the absence of the metering equipment “is causing a huge revenue loss to the state”, adding that “a public-private arrangement will be put in place” to ensure all parties to oil contracts are sure of production volumes.
Presenting the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s 2018 budget for approval, Chairman of the Committee-Nana Marfo Amaniampong, urged the ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Energy and other agencies in the industry to pursue the policy of metering strictly.
His advice to the ministry follows the approval of GH₵418m for the year ending December 31, 2018, being budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Trade and Industry to enable it undertake its programmes and activities for the 2018 fiscal year.
Metering and calibration services are essential in order to guarantee precision and reliability and reduce costly errors in the oil and gas industry.
Utilising a common oil and gas pipeline or shared infrastructure brings the challenge of maintaining precise volume measurements, as even the smallest inaccuracy can come at a high cost.
Additionally, equipment used by businesses to check their own metering of fluids must be independently calibrated.
The report also states that GSA will expand its operations to include quality evaluation of petroleum products imported into the country, assaying of gold and other minerals for export, and ensure mandatory certification of all locally manufactured products.
In addition, the authority seeks to re-submit to Parliament for consideration and passage of the Ghana Standards Authority bill, which incorporates a review of the Ghana Standards Act,1973(NRCD 173) and Weights and Measures Act (NRCD 326,1975).
The committee also observed that the Ghana Standards Authority – the only statutory body mandated to do standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment – has seen its functions being replicated by other regulatory agencies in Ghana, due to the absence of a national quality infrastructural policy.