Government has said it will soon launch a Public Register of Petroleum Agreements, Permits and Authorisations, in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law.
According to the Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, the move is to outline Government’s commitment to “broadening the boundaries of transparency and information disclosure”.
“The Register will contain full-text Petroleum Agreements and other relevant documents of public interest. It is our expectation that, the register will serve as an important reference source for information”, he said.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the launch of the Independent Oil and Gas Information Resource Centre (IOGIRC), set up to enhance transparency and accountability in Ghana’s oil and gas sector. The Information Resource Centre operates by informing and educating various stakeholders and the general public through the provision of accurate, relevant and comprehensive information via a web portal.
Dr. Aminu Adam explained that one of the issues facing the oil and gas sector with regards to access to information, is the often technical and coded legal language with which petroleum agreements and other documents are drafted. This, he believes, makes it difficult for citizens to fully comprehend and appreciate the terms of such agreements and subsequently demand accountability from government.
“It therefore places a greater responsibility on the Centre to not only publish these documents but make extra efforts to simplify them in forms that are easy to understand by citizens,” he demanded.
“This in my view is the most effective means of linking the Public Register of Petroleum Agreements with the Independent Oil and Gas Information Resource Centre”, he added.
The IOGIRC, a World Bank sponsored project under the Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project (OGCBP), is spearhead by an online portal which contains comprehensive information about Ghana’s oil and gas sector.
Among other information the portal provides are regulatory frameworks, oil and gas agreements, companies and fields, government and non-governmental agencies and their roles.
It also has information on sector statistics, forecasts, industry analyses and current trends, as well as ongoing oil and gas projects and revenue management.
Project Coordinator of the OGCBP, Alexander Kyei, said the Information Resource Centre was independent and complements the Ministry of Energy’s supply of Information on the oil and gas sector.
“It also provides information by oil and gas companies, independent research and international journals and publications,” he said.
Kennedy Aryeetey Tetteh | thebftonline.com | Ghana