The country’s failure to adopt and implement a long-term national gas strategy – almost 12 years into commercial crude oil production – has been described as a major factor hampering the gas sector’s development, stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have said.
With production estimated to be dwindling in the major operating fields, the lack of an up-to-date national gas plan, the experts said, has the potential to affect the target of using gas as fuel for the country’s energy transition.
Available statistics show that beyond 2030, the country will not be deriving much from the Jubilee Field – stressing the need for more exploration leading to discoveries in a bid to ensure gas security and leverage the current energy transition momentum.
In a recent stakeholder’s consultation on energy transition by the newly-constituted national energy transition committee, the need for the gas sector to play a pivotal role in transitioning to net-zero was strongly advocated by government.
Based on this, it is expected that the National Energy Transition Strategy will reflect much more rigorously the challenges and opportunities currently faced in the gas sector.
It is on the back of this that Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye, noted the crucial need for government to have a long-term perspective on gas to ensure sustainability and tackle current challenges.
Speaking as a panellist at a dialogue on the future of Ghana’s gas sector, organised by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and ACEP, he recognised that over the period there have been inconsistencies in policy design and implementation for the sector.
This development, he said, stagnates growth of the gas sector and ultimately affects the economy.
While reckoning the gas sector challenges and how they are impacting its development, he said: “We need to have a long-term perspective – and in that time allow the plan to shape investment and the market desired to be developed for the gas sector”.
Also contributing to the discussion, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Upstream Oil and Gas Chamber, David Ampofo, indicated that an attractive business and regulatory environment is what will spur growth, noting that an up-to-date gas Masterplan remains key.
However, he mentioned that there appears to be too many short-term policies within the sector, and equally argued for consistency in implementing policies for the gas sector.
The General Manager-Engineering of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Victor Kofi Sunu Attah, noted the efforts made toward market development.
“We have the necessary resources and balance sheet to underwrite those agreements and provide the necessary securities and guarantees,” he said.
The Manager, Commercial Operations-Ghana National Gas Corporation (GNGC), Dr. Riverson Oppong, also mentioned that gas remains an important commodity; hence, the country is not doing badly in terms of combining hydro and gas, and adds that the country has a substantial quantum of gas that it can fall on from the Tano Field.
Policy Lead, Petroleum and Conventional Energy-ACEP, Kodzo Yaotse, speaking in an interview with the B&FT on the sidelines of the programme asserted that while gas has been the focal point for the country’s energy transition, there has not been any strategy on the pathways available to the country.
However, with constitution of the National Energy Transition Committee, he is hopeful the National Energy Transition Policy that will be developed reflects challenges bedevilling the gas sector.