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Ghana’s petroleum upstream regulator, Petroleum Commission, is estimating that over 450 Ghanaians working in the upstream sector will be losing their jobs because of the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Already, Tullow Ghana, Aker Energy, Halliburton, as well as Schlumberger, have reduced their workforce and more are yet to be sent home.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the West African nation, most of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) had planned to undertake drilling campaign, acquisition and interpretation of geological and geophysical data of their oil wells.

However, the outbreak of the virus has forced the IOCs to suspend all these activities.

Delivering a Keynote address at the opening of a three-day webinar organised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), an energy think in the Republic of Ghana, Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Commission, Egbert Faibille Jnr. mentioned the suspension of the development of the Eban 1X exploratory well of Eni, Nyankom 1X and Kyenkyen-1X appraisal programme of AGM, Afina -1X appraisal programme of Springfield, Exploratory well drilling campaigns of Amni, Eco Atlantic and GOSCO.

According to Mr Faibille, these projects worth US$324 million would have injected life into Ghana’s economy but for the outbreak of COVID-19, they have all been put on hold.

“The consequential effect of the cancellation of these contracts amid already reduced work force in the industry resulted in layoffs both expatriates and local personnel. Over 450 Ghanaians in Aker Energy, Tullow, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, etc. are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

He noted that though the upstream industry had chalked modest success in localising various positions including critical positions in major oil companies, the Commission expects about 40 more roles to be taken over by Ghanaians.

Egbert Faibille, however, expressed fear that the Coronavirus pandemic would have serious ramifications on local content development and localisation efforts of the country.

He said the Commission, on its part, would strive to ensure that upstream companies create the organisation of the future and urged IOCs to review their corporate structure to cut cost, improve operational efficiencies, redesign business models, empower local business, realign job roles and positions as well as reduce headquarters influence on local operations.


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