Napo at OTC: Ghana must exploit and monetise gas for industrialisation

The Minister of Energy says the energy transition should not mean the abandonment of the country’s oil and gas resources

Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Energy, says Ghana’s huge gas reserves make it imperative that the country exploit and monetise them to leverage a national industrial take-off.

Dr Opoku Prempeh made this call when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, at his office in downtown Houston.

The minister is in the United States for this year’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), which is taking place in Houston, Texas. In attendance at the meeting were Ghana’s ambassador to the USA, Hajia Alima Mahama, Deputy Minister Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Yofi Grant, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), as well as senior officials from the ministry and some of its agencies.

Their discussions focused on the energy sector in the context of the energy transition, Ghana’s investment climate, international trade and empowerment of Africa in the global scheme of things.

Investment flows

In his remarks, Dr Opoku Prempeh said Ghana’s first oil find in commercial quantities was by Kosmos, a Houston-based company.

He further emphasised Ghana’s huge gas reserves which must be monetised for the benefit of the country’s industrial agenda whilst making the case for companies to invest in Ghana.

He noted that energy transition need not mean an abandonment of the country’s natural oil and gas resources, which is why Ghana is at this year’s OTC to encourage investment flows into the country’s energy sector.

“I can feel the pressure on African countries to conform to the energy transition agenda, even though Africa has contributed marginally to the phenomenon that is driving this agenda. We have so much gas that we need the co-operation of Houston and its domiciled energy giants,” the minister said.

Agreeing with the minister, Mayor Turner noted that from Senegal all the way to Angola, huge gas reserves in the Gulf of Guinea made it imperative to discuss ways in which the continent can benefit from them within the framework of the energy transition conversation.

He argued that, using clean technology, investment in carbon sequestration et cetera, it was possible to make good progress towards clean energy. Mayor Turner called on African leaders to become more involved in this.

“My commitment to Africa is very real, and people like me want to do everything we can to make it happen, which is why I think it is important to have the continent’s leaders engage with the energy companies,” he said.

Downstream drives growth

In response, Dr Opoku Prempeh revealed that West African energy leaders intend to meet ahead of the next World Congress on Petroleum in December 2021 to ensure synergies and co-ordination of their views and strategies for the industry.

For her part, Ghana’s ambassador to the United States, Hajia Alima Mahama, declared that Africa is going through certain reforms and recognises that the continent must develop through trade. She disclosed that the African Union recently ratified the secretariat of the AfCTFA, which is hosted in Ghana, so investing in Ghana is, by extension, an opening to a whole continental market.

On job creation in the petroleum industry, Hajia Alima Mahama said: “The downstream sector will play a key role in the stability of the continent as it is a greater job creation tool.”

The OTC is expected to end on Thursday 19 August 2021. Among the minister’s other engagements during the event will be the keynote speech at a West African Oil and Gas Forum, an encounter with the Ghanaian community in Houston and several private engagements with key players in Houston’s energy industry.

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