Future trends to look out for in Ghana’s oil and gas industry outlook

Bismark AMEYAW

The discovery of oil in the last decade has presented an immutable opportunity in boosting Ghana’s economic growth. However, it has led to encountering some puzzling consequences into its resource exploitation.

For instance, in the upstream oil and gas value chain, every local and foreign entity carrying out operations has a responsibility to ensure local content forms a central plank of its operations. Although local content requirements may be seen as somewhat negative in foreign direct investment scenarios, the creation of expertized jobs between Ghana’s local economy and the oil and gas industry is a vital policy directive worth attention.

However, in an attempt to balance the gap between the local economy and the oil and gas industry, the government is faced with the trade-off impasse of whether or not to indirectly or directly tax oil companies on a performance scale to fund various projects. From a macroeconomic perspective, the puzzling consequence leading to the aforementioned trade-off impasse depicts the importance of the oil and gas industry to the Ghanaian economy. By so doing, the management of discovered resources should be subject to meticulous economic and industrial research as a result of varied historical concerns in low-income economies.

In oil-rich low and middle-income economies like Ghana, the industry is continually undergoing rapid transformations.

The introduction of new technologies has gradually shifted conventional drilling to a more sustainable unconventional drilling to augment operations.

To promote market growth, unique business models are being deployed and utilized to minimize operations in the upstream sector.

Based on this, major oil and gas companies in Ghana are undertaking various pipeline projects to expand their production levels.

Per popular projections, the consumption of oil and gas is set to increase due to surges in population and the seemingly stable economic growth.

As the industry continues to undergo rapid industrial transformations, there have been contented predictability to the boom and bust pendulum.

Oil and gas forecast is often associated with erratic and sometimes inscrutable fluctuations in prices and trade negotiations.

The contentious trade negotiations upend conventional demand and supply nitty-gritty that brings several challenges with unclear answers.

Due to the volatilities and futuristic demands in the sector, several companies are setting a growth course for accurate and sustainable investment decisions.

Aside from sustainable investment decisions which is one of the future trends to look out for in the sector, other trends will define the oil and gas industry’s outlook in the next decade.

Therefore, this article lists some future trends in the industry that is worth the attention of stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come to stay

AI is gradually becoming a workplace tool even in middle and low-income countries to achieve sustainable operational performance.

The oil and gas sector will require experts in pattern and image recognition analysis as well as natural language processing experts in some circumstances.

Therefore, Ghana gas, petroleum commission, Ghana national petroleum corporation, and other stakeholders should invest in AI to maximize performance and extract value from AI solutions.

  1. Investment in minimizing cyber-physical assets

Workplace task is to remain automated thereby, reigniting the digitization of business ecosystems. Oil and gas companies should begin to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital twins to monitor and predict problems in physical assets. Companies should begin developing new operation models to face this evolution in the future.

  1. Revision needed for rigid service models

Digitization calls for modern operation models. Therefore, revision for rigid service models will be required. More design thinking and user-centricity service models will be adopted and utilized.

  1. A boom in natural gas production

Per my analysis based on historical data trends and policy scenarios, there will be massive infrastructural developments in natural gas due to its low-carbon alternative to oil. There will be high surpluses in natural gas production of which some percentage of total production will be exported to various neighboring countries. Therefore, investment in natural gas will be a good and profitable decision for investors.

5. A massive deployment of 4D seismic technology

The cost associated with deep-sea exploration is huge thus necessitating the need for the massive deployment of 4D seismic technology to map out potential reserves for exploration. With the deployment of this technology, there will be lesser investments in areas deemed unproductive for business. The technology will also provide reliable data on changes in reservoir if required.

Bismark AMEYAW: energy economist, data scientist, and policy analyst. Email: [email protected]


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