The Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has advocated stronger cooperation between African countries and petroleum downstream sector players.
At the Africa Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) Week 2023, underway in Cape Town he said a bond between both public and private institutions would ensure security of energy supply and affordability.
The four-day conference unites stakeholders across Africa’s downstream sector to discuss the continent’s pressing challenges and opportunities for global investors with the aim of maximising energy security in Africa.
Focusing on Ghana, Dr Abdul-Hamid highlighted regulatory measures the NPA had implemented to ensure stability across Ghana’s downstream sector, following the global oil and gas market volatility caused by the Russian-Ukraine war and energy transition-related policies.
“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, according to Dr Abdul-Hamid had 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.
Touching on the Gold-for-Oil Programme, under which the country is leveraging its gold resources to buy petroleum from international markets, he said it had stabilised the industry and kept energy prices affordable.
In addition, he said, the NPA, had also removed energy subsidies, and deregulated the Ghanaian markets in a bid to address challenges associated with the former system.
“Industries were shutting down because government was finding it hard to find the money to provide subsidies and to this day industry is being powered by investments in the private sector and there are no complains of supply. We are ensuring affordability and security for the vulnerable consumers through the removal of energy subsidies,” he said.
Dr Abdul-Hamid said the NPA had also created a special fund to help refineries to boost their capacity to reach 50 barrels and be able to meet the country’s growing demand.
That, he said, was because the lack of adequate refinery capacity was one of Ghana’s key challenges which restricted the exploitation of local oil and gas resources to drive energy sector growth.
“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 Abdul-Hamid also highlighted the roles the Gas Master Plan, the Renewable Energy Plan and Trade Policy in maximising 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 said.