The Emerging Oil and Gas Industry in Ghana: A Saviour or a Slayer?


The Emerging Oil and Gas Industry in Ghana: A Saviour or a Slayer?

Ghana in 2007 struck oil in commercial quantities. These discoveries have generated interest around the world as it is the biggest finds in Africa in recent times. As a result there has been the continual influx of International Oil Companies (IOC’s) to augment the activities of Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) in tapping this national resource to the wider benefit of the nation. The most crucial and critical question that bothers the minds of every Ghanaian is how best can this rich natural resource can be turned to positively affect the lives of Ghanaians? Living standard of the ordinary Ghanaian has remained in a marginal deplorable state for decades. Almost 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day . This increasing concern makes the question of how can the Oil and Gas wealth be effectively and equitably managed to positively impact on the lives of the Ghanaian nationals more alarming.

The former president of Ghana, His Excellency John Agyekum Kuffour advised that the oil resources be effectively exploited with a view to achieving immediate national goals of poverty reduction and the attainment of a middle-income status by the year 2015. Realizing the vision requires that every stakeholder in the Oil and Gas industry keep the vision in constant focus. Unfortunately it has become evidently clear that most often than not, the government fails to deliver economic and social progress on behalf of the citizenry who are to be the ultimate beneficiaries of these natural resources. This inequality is a potential source of social discontent and conflict especially between the indigenes in the mining areas and the mining companies. This has the effect of compelling the indigenous people who are directly affected by the adverse consequences of the activities of oil and gas mining to continually press for recognition of their claims to ownership and control over their traditional lands. Can this outcry by the indigenous people be ignored in view of the fact that the petroleum resource is state owned? Any such action will surely serve as a major threat to the growth of Oil and Gas mining companies and ultimately hamper development envisaged of this natural resource. The promotion and implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) remains the fulcrum around which the growth of Oil and Gas Companies and sustainability of the oil and gas resource can revolve effectively.

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