Foreigners dominate petroleum upstream sector despite local content law

The move to get local companies to substantially participate in Ghana’s Oil and Gas industry is still under pressure as figures released by the Petroleum Commission indicate that the value of activities ceded to indigenous companies in the Petroleum Upstream sector between 2010 and 2015 was only one billion dollars.

In all, total value of activities in the Petroleum Upstream sector between the period was 6.3 billion dollars with foreign companies having access to 5.3 billion dollars of the transactions compared to one billion dollars for local firms.

Meanwhile, there are currently 300 indigenous companies registered with the Petroleum Commission to work in the sector, while only 150 foreign companies do business in Ghana’s Petroleum Upstream Sector.

Speaking to journalists after a capacity building programme for indigenous companies, the Director, in charge of Special Services at the Petroleum Commission, Kwaku Boateng stated that it is important to build the capacity of local companies to adequately compete for contracts in the Petroleum Upstream sector.
“As for the law on Local Content, it exits but the local companies must show that they can deliver before a contract will be awarded. We want to increase their participation that is why we are organizing these workshops,” he said.

He explained that the workshop is aimed at promoting good Health Safety and Environment Management System among local companies to build their capacities in the upstream petroleum sector.
“Since its establishment, the Commission has been playing a lead role in the promotion of local content and local participation in the industry by identifying existing gaps between local companies and the more experienced international companies,” he said.
Mr. Boateng further stated that the move is intended at bridging the gap between local companies and foreign companies.
“These capacity building workshops have yielded results although there are still factors that work against the realization of the local content objectives in the law,” he warned.

Mr. Boateng also pointed out that there are still challenges such as the inability of local companies to deliver required services, limited technical capacity, and lack of access to credit among others.