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Lack of incentives for investors to blame for decline in Ghana’s oil production – ACEP

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Executive Director of the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye has raised alarms about Ghana’s dwindling oil production.

According to the 2023 Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) Annual Report, Ghana has experienced a steady decline in crude oil output for the fourth consecutive year.

The report unveils a concerning trend, showing a substantial drop in crude oil production from 71.44 million barrels in 2019 to 48.25 million barrels in 2023, marking an average annual decrease of 9.2 percent.

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Moreover, the report brings to light another troubling discovery: for the second consecutive year, the total proceeds of US$70,456,718.93 from the Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) liftings were not deposited into the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF).

In an interview on Citi TV’s The Point of View, Ben Boakye attributed this decline to Ghana’s unattractiveness to global investors.

He emphasized the importance of incentivizing existing investors and local companies to attract more investments into the sector.

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“When those in your country already producing are not incentivised to put in more money, you are only joking to think you can bring in more investors… Once you are roaming around looking for investors, the narrative globally is that Ghana is not attractive. And that is known to the industry.

“You have Wood Mackenzie, you have all the energy journals saying that Ghana is not attractive, you are only wasting money showing up at events to list what you have or showcase what you have,” he said.

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Mr Boakye noted that despite the global constraint on investments, neighbouring Cote D’Ivoire is successfully attracting substantial investments.

“I don’t think it’s a general problem, there’s a general constraint on investments, but again, oil is being consumed, the demand is growing, and therefore, we need to produce it. Countries that are strategizing around broad problems globally are still attracting investments.

“One example you can always reference is our next-door neighbor Cote D’Ivoire, which was not producing significant oil, they have the same investments, we have here,” he said.

Boakye pointed out that while global investment constraints exist, neighboring Cote D’Ivoire has been successful in drawing substantial investments.

He urged the Ghanaian government to strategize and optimize investments to leverage the country’s proven reserves, citing successful examples of countries that have benefited from flexible investment terms.

“We have proven reserves, but there’s room for more exploration and that costs a lot of money. So, you need to attract investments into those fields. If you have money to do it yourself, it’s always an option. But if you don’t have money, you always want to attract investments, discount the investments and be able to share the profits or the benefits,” he mentioned to host Bernard Avle.

The news of Ghana’s falling oil production serves as a wake-up call for strategic investment planning to revitalize the sector and ensure long-term sustainability.

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