An online discussion on the topic, "Promoting Local (Ghanaian) Content in petroleum activities: Where does Ghana stand?" was held from Monday September 9, to September 20, 2013 with a number of key stakeholders including oil and gas companies, oil and gas experts, media, civil society actors as well as international organisation participating. This unique online discussion forms part of "Empowering the Media to Play Active Watchdog Role over Mining, Oil and Gas Revenue and Resources" currently being implemented by Penplusbytes with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana.
Key issues such as low awareness about Oil and Gas sector opportunities for skills acquisition and certification, the actualization of Local Content by way of skills transfer as well as measures taken by state to empower local entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector were captured at the close of the discussions.
In order to ensure these important recommendations are implemented, Penplusbytes on 3rd December, 2013 presented a report of the discussions to the Petroleum Commission, the petroleum sector regulatory in Ghana.
Receiving the report, the Director of Special Services at the Commission, Mr Kwaku Boateng, welcomed the initiative and praised Penplusbytes for its ingenuity. Present at the meeting was Abdul- Karim Adam of the Local Content office and Linda Kofi from the Communications Department of the Commission.
Mr Boateng pledged that the Commission would study and subsequently factor the suggestions arising from the local content online discussion into its decision-making.
Mr Boateng also pointed out that the Commission was already aware of some of the challenges and was implementing some interventions with regards to some of the online discussion recommendations, especially on the development of local standards and skills transfer to local businesses.
On the issue of standards, for instance, he said a committee had been set up in collaboration with Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) to develop local standards such that local companies will be assisted to meet those standards.
One of the key issues raised during discussions on the platform centred on how government intends to empower the local entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities in the oil and gas sector. Mr Boateng responded that the Commission has built a database of both local and foreign companies with the aim of connecting local companies with opportunities when they become available.
With regards to awareness creation, he mentioned that a series of workshops were being organised to educate local companies about projects going to be undertaken by the IOCs and subcontract opportunities which would become available.