Ghana’s petroleum downstream regulatory institution, National Petroleum Authority (NPA) boss, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has highlighted regulatory measures the Authority has implemented to ensure stability across the West African nation’s petroleum downstream sector, following the global oil and gas market volatility caused by the Russian-Ukraine war and energy transition-related policies.
Speaking during a presentation at Africa Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) Week 2023, which is currently taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr Abdul-Hamid called for increased cooperation between African countries and players within the downstream sector, and between private and public sector institutions to ensure the security of energy supply and affordability.
“For the first time in 30 years, we have installed fuel caps as a measure to intervene and to control market instability,” he said.
This has helped restrict uncontrolled increases in fuel and energy prices at the height of the global market instability since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine started, he stated.
The regulator also spoke about the ‘Gold for Oil’ programme, whereby the country is leveraging its vast gold resources to buy petroleum from international markets.
“We exchange gold directly for petroleum products from international firms. We buy the gold directly from large and small mining firms and exchange it for petroleum. This has stabilised our industry and kept energy prices affordable,” he said.
In addition, the Ghanaian government, through the NPA, has also removed energy subsidies, with Dr Abdul-Hamid stating that “we have removed subsidies and deregulated our markets. Industries were shutting down because the government was finding it hard to find the money to provide subsidies and to this day, the industry is being powered by investments in the private sector and there are no complaints of supply. We are ensuring affordability and security for the vulnerable consumers through the removal of energy subsidies.”
With the lack of adequate refinery capacity being one of Ghana’s key challenges restricting the exploitation of local oil and gas resources to drive energy sector growth, the NPA has also created a special fund to help refineries to boost their capacity to reach 50bbl and be able to meet the country’s growing demand.
“Ghana has also ensured the NPA is a one-stop-shop for everything required for firms to participate in the country’s oil and gas industry. By so doing, we have the time spent in registering and getting projects and firms up to the ground,” he said.
Dr Hamid highlighted the roles of the Gas Master Plan, the Renewable Energy Plan and the Trade Policy in maximizing the country’s energy mix diversification and the exploitation of liquefied petroleum gas, as well as natural gas to boost electricity generation and consumer access to clean cooking while ensuring environmental sustainability.
“There must be a healthy balance of energy equity, accessibility and environmental sustainability in driving energy market growth. “We want to transform through natural gas which is the cleanest form of energy to date while accelerating local content development.
“We also want to use carbon credits to innovate our financing mechanisms,” he noted.