The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)has encouraged the urgent need for Ghana’s national oil company, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to undertake risk assessments of its operations and activities geared towards the attainment of a just energy transition.
According to NRGI, pursuing business as usual would be the wrong response to conflicting pressures of sustainability in the midst of the green revolution.
To mitigate the risk of having stranded assets, the NRGI in its recent survey of 15 National Oil Companies (NOCs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa, noted that by embracing the energy transition and strategically adapting their operations, the GNPC can not only contribute to the country’s and global climate goals but also secure its long-term viability in a changing energy landscape.
According to NRGI, GNPC would need to adopt a strategy that prioritizes efficient spending, long-term planning, investment, value maximization, and cost reduction whiles developing a robust risk mitigation strategy and commitment to transparency and accountability as a way of building trust among stakeholders and potential partners and investors.
Speaking at the sidelines of a stakeholders dialogue on National Oil companies and the energy transition, the Senior Africa Programme Officer of the NRGI, Dennis Gyeyir, maintained that companies that aspire to thrive long term and their investors should be looking out beyond oil and gas to low carbon emissions and other strategic anchors that will ensure sustainability.
Further, he said, “The GNPC has an energy transition plan in place, but in the case that they didn’t, what is going to happen is that the GNPC will be left with stranded assets. They will have assets that they cannot produce, and they will not be relevant in the next few decades, because they will not be a player in the industry that they operate. What it also means is that we are going to have investments that will be locked in, monies will be pumped into GNPC for investments and exploration, and those revenues will not yield profitable returns,”
Mr. Gyeyir also indicated that based on the key results of the survey, it revealed that many of the companies that have high readiness for the transition are companies located in Latin America like Ecopetrol of Columbia, Amex of Mexico, and YPF of Argentina.
Additionally, he explained that these companies had their assets diluted so for instance they were listed companies with private investment into these NOCs – these are national companies but with shareholding by private people and so because there is a necessity to satisfy the requirement of stakeholders like shareholders and other investors, they were both open, they were publishing sustainability reports, risk assessment and undertaking investments that made them relevant going into the future.
GNPC should consider privatization
He also backed the calls and proposals for GNPC to consider some partial privatization.
“There is a proposal for GNPC itself to consider partial listing, if a minority stake in the company is listed, it will inject some private ownership, more openness, thoroughness in terms of the governance framework, appointment unto the board, governance framework, auditing of books, and the important thing is that GNPC needs to be sustainable and it can be sustainable if the governance structure are reviewed.”
According to the National Energy Transition Committee (NETC), the government is looking to raise $250bn to fund its energy transition plan from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The projected $250bn funds, are to be raised over the next 50 years. The anticipated funds are to help Ghana transition into a net zero carbon economy by 2070.
The National Energy Transition Committee (NETC), is the statutory body tasked with the mandate of developing a national policy document and strategy on steps to successfully navigate the global energy transition.
The NRGI notes that National Oil Companies (NOCs) play a crucial role in the global energy landscape, as they control significant reserves of oil and gas resources. However, as the world transitions towards a more sustainable and low-carbon future, NOCs are likely to face numerous challenges and opportunities, particularly new producers such as Ghana.
The NRGI in its survey advocates that NOCs diversify their portfolio, invest in research and development, improve efficiency in resource management, and improve transparency and reporting to achieve sustainable operations.
The study by the NRGI is aimed at Highlighting gaps in planning around the risk of the global energy transition for NOCs in specific countries that can be used in advocacy efforts.
Promoting knowledge sharing of the approaches and strategies of different NOCs and their potential challenges.
Providing ideas on how better management of transition risk can be achieved in line with what other NOCs are doing as well as showing gaps in knowledge as well as good practices that can be better understood through the development of in-depth case studies.