Keeping The Lights On Amid Exogenous Shocks (2)


IN THE face of disruptions in global supply chain and palpable crisis, where there have been recorded shortages of petroleum products in parts of the world, even including the UAE, Dr. Prempeh continues to ensure the availability of petroleum products for the Ghanaian consumer. He has engaged and continues to engage the Bank of Ghana to assist in the securing of forex, the issuance special forex auctions for the petroleum industry and also seeing to the establishment of a credit reference bureau for all dealers, oil marketing companies (OMCs), bulk distributing companies (BDCs), international oil trading companies & contractors (IOTCs) and other stakeholders. Also worth noting are the arrangements put in place to allow to bring on land, petroleum products and hold titles to these products.

This Energy Minister further continues to show keen interest in the activities of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) ensuring they live up to their mandate of holding up to 6 weeks of strategic stocks for our country.  BOST, basking fervently in this ministerial ambience has for the first time in so many years recorded a profit before tax of GH¢164 million in 2021, from a previous figure of GH¢2 million, from the period of recurrent losses. The minister has instructed the company to make frantic efforts at extricating itself from the quagmire of protracted debts. This is simply Napo’s Midas touch!

As Dr. Prempeh continues to oversee through the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation, the implementation of the Petroleum Hub agenda, where Ghana aspires to become a hub for refined petroleum products and petrochemicals in the West African sub-region, he has never lost sight of the strategic importance of a local oil refinery within the overarching context of our downstream petroleum sector development.  He is, thus, working to return the nation’s premier refinery back to work. A strategic partner is in the offing as part of efforts at revamping the refinery.

With 3 offshore and 1 onshore basin currently engaging in active E&P activities, the continued presence of 12 Operators with 14 Petroleum Agreements, 3 Producing fields – Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa Gye Nyame producing steadily with an average daily production of 150,000bbl/d and 380mmscf/d of gas, Dr. Prempeh continues to ensure the development of our upstream petroleum industry backed by strengthened legal and regulatory framework so that Ghana is not shortchanged.  He is leading a massive investment drive with the PC and GNPC for our hydrocarbon resources through strategic oil and gas roadshows of E&P acreages and farm-in opportunities in the sector to prospective investors.

This drive to position our oil and gas resources for investment is happening at a time where the energy transition conversation continues take center stage of global discussions. As a leading voice on the subject matter in Africa and beyond, he continues to argue strongly that, the transition conversation must be had within a careful context giving cognisance to our circumstances as a country and by extension, continent. He therefore posits that, we will transit gradually on our own terms, leveraging on our oil and gas resources for economic growth.

The scramble for energy in Europe as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war is a testament of the failure of renewable energy to meet global energy demands. This in Dr. Prempeh’s view means that we need to find a balance between renewable and fossil fuel investments, at least in the short to medium term, hence investment in oil and gas. Under no circumstance, he says, will he watch our country be left with stranded energy assets.

The National Energy Transition Committee under his able direction is thus, working with a clear blue-print that will ensure an energy transition that is the best interest of Ghana, of course cognizant of our international commitments in the Paris Agreement, the UN SDG7 goal and the Call for Action Conference of Parties (COP 26) accord to increase investments in green energy initiatives.

Local Content and Local Participation

For Dr. Prempeh, local content is an article of faith. He strongly believes that it is a medium through which local capacities could be built. He postulates that, Government’s policy intention which has basis in the local content law for the upstream sector for example, is that Ghana should not only be the recipient of direct revenues from petroleum operations, but also create value through local participation. Under his watch therefore, Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021. (L.I. 2435) has been passed to include channel partnerships and strategic alliances in the sector. Channel Partnership is where an indigenous Ghanaian company and a non-indigenous Ghanaian company including a distributor, a vendor, a retailer, a consultant, a system integrator, an original equipment manufacturer or a value-added reseller to market and sell the products, services, or technologies of the non-indigenous Ghanaian company in the country. Strategic Alliance on the other hand is where a Non-Indigenous Ghanaian Company and an Indigenous Ghanaian Company where the responsibilities of each partner are clearly defined and partners agree to share resources to undertake a specific mutually beneficial project while each retains independence.

These options alongside the incorporation of JVCs are to further deepen local content and local participation in the upstream petroleum industry.

Additionally, he is seeing to the review of Draft Regulations for Ghanaian Content and Ghanaian Participation for the downstream petroleum sector. He is keen on ensuring the passage of this law.  The Minister also continues to ensure the enforcement of Legislative Instrument (LI 2354) on Local Content and Local Participation in the Electricity Supply Industry passed in 2017


When one makes a fair assessment of the energy sector since the assumption of office of Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh as Minister, it will point clearly, to his unassailable transformational touch. BOST and VRA are recording profits after years of losses, the anti-theft machinery of the power sector is super charged, there is power stability even when it rains, cats and dogs, a phenomenon most Ghanaians say, is quite unprecedented in our recent history with consistent efforts at ensuring grid stability. The regulatory muscles of energy sector regulators are being flexed effectively supported by the relevant legal and regulatory regimes for the efficient utilisation of our hydrocarbon and other energy resources and indeed, the visible development in our renewable energy space.

His fiercest antagonists and critics, are on a daily basis eating humble pies openly under no coercion, and absolutely dumfounded at the leadership acumen of Matthew Opoku Prempeh. They are dazed by the fact that, in the midst of our current economic difficulties occasioned largely, by exogenous shocks, the lights are on.  Ahwenepa nkasa and it is very much so!

I am convinced without shudder, that the energy sector will see much more phenomenal transformation under his sterling leadership as he continues to work in a determined manner to surmount challenges that confronts the energy sector.

A consummate democrat and leader, I have no shred of doubt that, NaPo will leave behind one day, a power sector that is robust enough to support the economic transformation of our country as well as a petroleum sector that will be viable to support Ghana’s economic growth, where Ghanaians will experience the full benefits of our hydrocarbon resource across the entire petroleum value chain spanning upstream, midstream and the downstream sectors.

On the back of the available evidence, it is abundantly clear that, the transformation we are witnessing in the energy sector points Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh’s impeccable LEADERSHIP. The LIGHTS are on and the NATION IS MOVING and he is currently with   His Excellency the President on an Ashanti Regional tour, where he will assist the President to commission a 330kV Kumasi-Bolgatanga Transmission line project. President Akufo will also commission the newly constructed Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Primary Substation, all to improve power supply reliability.

Yes, God is the magic wand, but to make sense of the supernatural, his leadership, lack of inertia and hard work has made all the difference in this 1 year and 6 months at the Energy Ministry. Great Job done Hon. Minister!

NAPO’s Energy at Energy remains the looping aphorism and mantra. He keeps blazing the trail!

BY Kofi Abrefa Afena