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Petroleum Commission to step up “technology transfer” efforts in upstream oil and gas industry

The Petroleum Commission will step up efforts aimed at enhancing technology transfer in the upstream oil and gas sector

The chief executive officer of the Petroleum Commission, Egbert Faibille Jnr, says the Commission will step up efforts in the coming year, 2022, with the aim of enhancing technology transfer in the upstream oil and gas sector.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for a two-day 2021 local content conference of the Ghana Petroleum Commission, held at the offices of the Commission under the theme “Optimising Technology Transfer in Ghana’s Upstream Petroleum Industry”, Faibille said that after a series of engagements with upstream petroleum companies over the past few months, the Commission has “realised that there is a gap in terms of practicalising technology transfer requirements in the industry”.

The most notable of the issues identified, the Petroleum Commission boss said, “is the fact that skills development” – such as the use of non-proprietary technologies, skills acquired from accessible certifications, training of technical personnel, acquisition and use of relevant industry software – “is the dominant component of technology transfer in the industry”. For this, he said, the Commission “applauds the IOCs [independent oil companies] that kept faith with it in transferring knowledge and skills” to Ghanaians.

“However, transfers of core technical skills required in the oilfield operations have been limited. We need to address this gap if we are to increase the level of competence in the core technical areas.

“Likewise, we need to also ensure that apart from skills development, other components of technology transfer such as technoware (tangible technologies, eg, tools, machineries); infoware (software, design drawings, information/database solutions); and organware (organisational development strategies), are also prioritised, integrated and transferred,” Faibille said.

“Doing so will open a new frontier of prospects in areas that require specialised and high-level technology, such as well engineering services, seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation activities, FPSO construction and O&M services, among others, to Ghanaians and Ghanaian businesses,” he also said.

Aim high

The oil and gas industry, Faibille says ,“is highly technical and utilises advanced technologies in all the operational phases”. He therefore called on local Ghanaian companies not to concentrate on just the knowledge acquisition but aim to participant in provision of high technical goods and services.

“Among the over 1,700 goods and services procured by exploration and production (E&P) companies, majority of them falls within the ambit of mid-to-high technical services hence have high commercial value.

“I therefore urge indigenous Ghanaian companies (IGCs) to proactively build competence in these areas and not only concentrate on the ‘low-hanging fruit’,” Faibille said.

“IGCs should explore ways to attract the right partners and develop their ability to receive technology in order to make the technology transfer process a smooth one and advance their chances of participating in mid-to-high technical goods and services,” he said.

Urgent national action

In a speech read on his behalf by the deputy energy minister Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, the Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, observed that despite efforts by both the public and private sectors in Ghana, “aimed at local content development and technology transfer in the petroleum upstream industry”, there is still “more to be done, given the changing dynamics within the petroleum space globally”.

“The energy transition is fast progressing with very drastic measures to compel its enforcement,” he said. “As a result, the world will continue to witness a steady decline in funding and investment from the West in oil and gas projects.

“Despite this phenomenon, Ghana remains committed to fully exploiting its petroleum resource in an environmentally responsible manner to enable her to fund her development,” Prempeh said.

“Consequently, Ghana (through the GNPC) must expedite the process of attaining the status of full technical self-sufficiency for exploration and production activities, bearing in mind the 2050 deadline set globally.

“The extreme image of all foreign contractors withdrawing from Ghana and leaving the nation incapable of producing oil on its own must forever drive Ghana to fully apply herself to technology transfer and local content development,” said the Energy Minister.

2021 LCC

Participants in the 2021 local content conference will be taken through three topics during the first day. First, “Technology Transfer: Prospects and Challenges of Local Content Development in Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry”.

The second topic will focus on bridging the “Technical Skills Gap in Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry: the Role of Industry Players”.

The last topic for day one will be “Developing an Appropriate Technology and Skills Transfer Model in the Oil and Gas Industry”.

Kwaku Boateng, director of local content at the Petroleum Commission, Ghana, together with Dr Fred Kyei Asamoah of the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) and Natalia Magaia Camba of the National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique, will facilitate the three sessions on day one.

Day two will commence with a look at a fourth topic, “Assessing the Gap Between Laws and Practice of Technology Transfer in Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry”, which will be facilitated by Adelaide Benneh Prempeh of B&P Associates.

Five other topics will be considered before the conference comes to an end. “Developing Future Technology in the Oil and Gas Industry” and “Overcoming the Barriers to Achieving Technology Transfer Targets in Ghana: the Role of Foreign Companies and Indigenous Companies”, are two of the remaining five subject areas under consideration.

“Optimising Local Content and Capacity Building in the Era of Energy Transition”, building up to “Learning Organisation to Embrace New Technology” and “Diagnosing Technology Transfer Processes in Ghana’s Upstream Oil and Gas Industry: Experiences”, will be the last three topics of the conference.

Wilberforce Asare

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