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Profile: CEO of GNPC Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah – spearheading Ghana’s oil and gas success

Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, who until his appointment as chief executive officer of GNPC was the deputy CEO, took over the top job at GNPC from K K Sarpong

The chief executive officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, has been in the vanguard, leading the management and staff of GNPC to position Ghana to reap maximum benefits from the country’s oil and gas resources since he assumed office in April 2022.

Danquah, who until his appointment as CEO of GNPC was the deputy CEO, took over the top job at GNPC from K K Sarpong. Dr Sarpong’s insightful decision to assign Danquah as the deputy chief executive in charge of technical operations in 2020 undoubtedly helped pivot him to the top spot.

His diligent execution of GNPC’s core operations won him the edge over competitors.

Ahweneeh Danquah’s appointment as the leader of GNPC came at a critical moment for Ghana’s oil and gas industry: at the time he took office the sector sorely needed to start making maximum use of the country’s little-exploited oil and gas reserves – at the very moment when “the West” had begun to call for an energy transition to renewables.

In the face of recent unwarranted and unsubstantiated social media and mainstream media attacks on him, with certain individuals going to the extent of deceitfully impersonating GNPC employees to launch critical comments, Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah has emerged as a beacon of leadership, driving the corporation and Ghana’s oil and gas sector towards unparalleled success.

Despite a barrage of false news aimed at tarnishing his reputation, Danquah’s steadfast commitment to excellence and transformative initiatives has earned him recognition and acclaim at home and abroad.

Continuity and consistency

Danquah’s visionary leadership has been instrumental in accelerating oil and gas exploration in Ghana with a view to establishing production and reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports.

Under his flagship project, the “Voltaian Basin”, industry experts expect to see a well drilled within the next couple of months. This would be the first time in Ghana’s modern oil era that GNPC becomes an operator onshore. Already, the coporation is exploring the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the “Voltaian Basin” under a reconnaissance licence.

This exploration involves a mix of geophysical, geological and geochemical techniques. Asked about the “Voltaian Basin” initiative, Danquah said: “If Ghanaians are to benefit immensely from our onshore oil and gas resources, then we should be able to own it through hard work that translates to sweat equity.

“Unlike the offshore oil resources where Ghanaians have a minority share, the resources in the ‘Voltaian Basin’ should be for Ghanaians, and therefore done by Ghanaians.”

Under Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah’s stewardship, GNPC has been actively involved in a broad range of exploration activities, providing continuity and consistency to Ghana’s exploration efforts. His initiatives to attract the right international oil companies through enticing and astute direct negotiation are continuing to reinvigorate exploration in Ghana.

“We saw some well-funded oil and gas companies leave at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “But they are all coming back, thanks to the right meetings with key decision-makers of these corporations and banks, which are all based abroad.

“More so, we have been able to halt the industry exodus and reduce the production decline within the country,” said the GNPC boss in an interview at his office on Friday 15 March 2024.

“Since assuming office as the CEO of GNPC, I have not taken a single day off work, simply because of the volume of work that has to be done. I have been exploring all avenues for financial, commercial and technological assistance to turn Ghana into an oil and gas powerhouse,” Danquah said.

“A sizable deepwater oil and gas development from exploration to production, for example, is in the billions of dollars and every single required technology patent is owned by foreign companies. It is therefore impossible to conduct effective business sitting in your office in Accra and expecting a miracle to happen.

“You have to proactively go out, meet with the movers and shakers in the oil and gas space and take the bull by the horns to get work done,” he said.

Social impact

Danquah’s leadership extends beyond the confines of the oil and gas industry. His commitment to good corporate governance and sustainability has led GNPC to make many positive impacts on the lives of Ghanaians.

Through the GNPC Foundation, the corporation has designed and implemented tailored intervention programmes aimed at alleviating the environmental, social and economic impact of its activities and to benefit all Ghanaians, especially the underprivileged.

The “Skilled Artisans Project”, for example, has trained, equipped and empowered thousands of young people across the county with employable skills in over 25 vocations. Under Danquah’s leadership, in 2023 alone, hundreds of scholarships were awarded to needy but brilliant Ghanaian students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Currently GNPC is sponsoring 200 medical doctors who are being trained in Cuba specifically with the aim of augmenting Ghana’s patient-doctor ratio. Other activities undertaken by the GNPC Foundation include hundreds of infrastructure projects, such as classroom blocks, dormitories, medical facilities, AstroTurf pitches and other recreational facilities.

Asked to shed more light on these developments, Danquah said: “Through the GNPC Foundation, we’re not just building a corporation, but a sustainable legacy, empowering communities through a three-pronged approach – economic growth, education and environmental stewardship.

“My vision extends far beyond the confines of the oil and gas industry, embodying a commitment to holistic nation-building.”

Changes at GNPC

Within the GNPC workplace, Danquah has introduced changes that can be described as a paradigm shift.

The changes, GNPC executives say, are moving the corporation in the right direction and employees of the corporation across various departments confirm this.

In an interaction with some GNPC employees about what they make of the CEO’s work ethic and the changes he has introduced, they unanimously confirmed that his understanding of the industry was impressive.

They also described the top man as diligent and committed to delivering the best for GNPC.


Under Danquah’s leadership, GNPC has not only thrived but has also gained significant recognition. The boss was honoured as the best chief executive for the upstream petroleum sector in Ghana by the Ghana CEOs Network.

This award is presented to an individual who exemplifies outstanding business practice, achievement, leadership, vision and creation of economic growth.

Furthermore, Danquah was adjudged the winner of the coveted Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Award for the year 2023 at the Africa Public Sector Conference and Awards. This is given to top-performing executives who drive value and transformation on the continent through innovation and sound leadership in the oil and gas sector.

The GNPC CEO’s visionary guidance has led GNPC to achieve remarkable milestones, cementing its position as a cornerstone of Ghana’s economic development.

Through strategic partnerships and innovative strategies, Danquah has spearheaded initiatives that have propelled Ghana on to the global stage as a significant player in the oil and gas industry.

Exemplar of leadership

As Ghana continues to harness its natural resources for the benefit of its citizens, Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah stands as an exemplar of leadership and excellence.

His steadfast dedication to advancing Ghana’s oil and gas sector while prioritising sustainability and inclusive growth serves as an inspiration to industry stakeholders and Ghanaians in general.

In these challenging times, it is important to recognise and celebrate the transformative impact of leaders like Danquah, whose contributions resonate far beyond the confines of boardrooms and oil rigs, shaping the trajectory of Ghana’s prosperity and progress.


Danquah has over 20 years’ experience in strategy across multiple businesses, with most of his focus in, but not limited to, oil and gas. He joined GNPC from Vallourec, where he managed its North American strategy, development and innovation team.

Before this, Ahweneeh Danquah held senior management positions at BHGE (Baker Hughes) and General Electric.

He was previously the global strategic marketing manager for Schlumberger’s upstream consulting arm Schlumberger Business Consulting (SBC). This was the consultancy that put in place GNPC’s current operational framework, post-Jubilee oil production.

Danquah also held a director role at Hart Energy, where he helped to establish the firm’s consulting and research group. His professional tenure includes further work for Wood Mackenzie, IHS CERA, Euromoney Institutional Investor and Bank of America.

He is the author of various industry publications and holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College in the United States, with a minor in French.

He also holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Tufts University, where his study focused on both international business and international relations. He completed the strategy coursework for his Master’s degree at Harvard Business School.

Danquah is an alumnus of Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (PRESEC, Legon) and represented the school in the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) in 1997.

The author of this profile is Dr Jones Campbell, an oil and gas expert 

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