The Oil for Development programme in Ghana

Ghana has Africa’s fifth-largest oil reserves and sixth-largest natural gas reserves. The country started producing oil in commercial quantities in 2010.

Ghana sought assistance early on from Norway and other partners, with the aim of managing these natural resources well.

The aim is to enhance the legal framework and public sector capacity to avoid the ‘resource curse’ and secure inclusive growth from petroleum revenues.

Ghana has been a partner to the OfD programme since 2007 and now shares its expertise with other African countries that are embarking on oil and gas production.

The first five-year OfD programme between Ghana and Norway ended in 2014. 

The current agreements on resource and environmental management were signed in 2015 and will continue through 2019. A three-year agreement on petroleum revenue management was signed in March 2018.

Key achievements of programme activities

Enhanced legal and regulatory framework

  • Over a long period, the OfD programme has assisted the Ministry of Energy to develop the upstream petroleum sector legislation. The year 2018 marked a milestone in this respect, with the parliament passing the General Petroleum Regulation, the Regulation for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and the Regulation on Data Management.

  • Ghanaian and Norwegian experts continued the collaboration to develop the ‘Environmental policy for the oil and gas sector’ and the ‘Regulation for pollution control from petroleum exploration and exploitation’.
Increased institutional capacity

  • The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) supported the Ministry of Energy in designing the framework for the first competitive licensing round launched in October. A total of 16 international oil companies applied to become prequalified, among them several of the largest oil companies in the world.

  • The macroeconomic model used by the Ministry of Finance has been developed into an operational tool that gives insight into the Ghanaian economy. A draft user’s guide and a document describing the model has been produced. The model group in the Ministry of Finance was trained on how to update the model when new information becomes available. The group has also been trained on how the model can be used to create a baseline scenario for the Ghanaian economy and for policy analysis.

  • Statistics Norway assisted the Ghana Statistical Service to update the national accounts. Capacity building on the revision of the vital statistical business register and the compilation of oil investment statistics was also provided. Customised questionnaires for collecting oil investment statistics (projected and actual) and accompanying manuals were finalised and formally approved by the Government Statistician. Subsequently, the questionnaires were submitted to the oil companies for input.

  • The Petroleum Fund Secretariat at Bank of Ghana enhanced their competence on topics such as investment strategy, risk tolerance and investment portfolio analysis, enabling them to better fulfil their task of managing the Ghana Petroleum Funds.

  • The Petroleum Commission conducted two technical audits on metering and HSE with assistance from senior experts from the Petroleum Safety Authority.

  • Norwegian petroleum lawyers assisted the newly inaugurated Ghana Licensing Committee in drafting the new Petroleum Agreement (PA) and the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) so that the agreements are in alignment with the present legal framework.
  • The Norwegian Environment Agency supported Environmental Protection Agency Ghana (EPA) to prepare and conduct an environmental audit of an oil and gas installation. Furthermore, in 2018 the partners initiated the development of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) database, continued the work on a sensitivity atlas for onshore and offshore areas and worked to implement environmental standards under the Abidjan Convention.

  • Work continued on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the onshore Voltaian basin. The SEA will be finalised in 2019. Both the resource and environmental authorities on the Ghanaian and Norwegian side are involved.

Increased transparency and accountability
  • The capacity and dialogue with local authorities and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) was strengthened, notably through a workshop in the Keta region with the objective of sensitising the CSO community and local authorities on the planned petroleum activity in the region and the environmental consequences thereof. Previously, the OfD experts had assisted the EPA to carry out a standard EIA procedure, including with numerous stakeholder meetings in the region.

  • The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) partnered with selected media houses to offer mentoring and training towards increased qualitative reporting on the extractive sector to bolster public pressure on a series of specific reform targets. In several instances, news coverage resulting from NRGI’s media development work helped boost ongoing civil society advocacy on extractive issues.

  • Since 2014, Oxfam and partner Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) have advocated for transparency provisions in upstream petroleum sector laws – including the establishment of a public register of petroleum agreements. Following consistent dialogue and consultative meetings with government, in 2018 Ghana’s Petroleum Commission launched an online, public petroleum register, which includes signed petroleum agreements, licences and permits.
Oil for Development: Cooperation between Ghana and Norway
Ghana started producing oil in commercial quantities through the commissioning of the Jubilee field in December 2010. Norway has provided extensive petroleum related support to the country since 2008.
Published 02.07.2014
Last updated 27.06.2019