Petroleum Department

A. PREAMBLE With the advent of oil and gas development in Ghana, the EPA has created a Petroleum Department within its organizational set up at the Head Office to meet the challenges that this sector has brought. At the same time, the EPA is also strengthening its Western Regional office so as to keep up with the pace of development in that region due to the oil find in close proximity to the region. The purpose of these actions is to build environmental and social management capacity within EPA (as differentiated from the general (regular) regulatory / permitting mandate) The functions of the Petroleum Department include:

In view of the above, the Agency would need to enhance its human resource base and develop capacity of the staff to meet the environmental challenges associated with oil and gas development.

B. THE PETROLEUM DEPARTMENT

Within a period of five years the Petroleum Department is expected to have the structure below:

Five units are envisaged for the Petroleum Department:

1. UPSTREAM UNIT

This Unit shall be responsible for:

Receipts and approvals of applications for permit for bunkering, seismic surveys, drilling of wells, field development, production, transportation of crude, building of pipelines to transport bulk crude and gas in collaboration with EAA, Field Operations and CCMC. The UNIT shall also be responsible for development of checklists for inspections and monitoring of upstream petroleum operations and review of monitoring reports and other related reports

2. DOWNSTREAM UNIT

This Unit shall be responsible for:

Receipt and approvals for applications for permit for oil refining, power plants, gas processing plants, pipelines to transport refined petroleum products, LPG/LNG plants The Unit shall also develop checklist for monitoring and inspection of downstream petroleum operations

3. EMERGENCY RESPONSE UNIT

This Unit shall be responsible for:

The maintenance of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) and ensures that all actionable areas enumerated in the NOSCP for the Agency are implemented. It shall also ensure that all oil installations have their contingency plans prepared and have in stock adequate response equipment to handle spills emanating from their facilities. It shall also ensure rapid response to oil and gas related pollution emergency response.

4. DATA MANAGEMENT UNIT

Effective environmental management will be facilitated by a modern environmental information management system (EIM). The Government of Norway through the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research is providing marine reconnaissance surveys to collect offshore environmental baseline data in an area of up to 1,300 meter depth and 60 nautical miles offshore. The EPA permits for oil and gas development require regular monitoring reports from the operators. These and other data sources, including historic data such as the EPA 2004 eEnvironmental Sensitivity Atlas of the Coastal Areas of Ghanaf, are critical in developing a composite understanding of the petroleum sector impacts in the area-of-influence. Local environmental information management capacity to collate, store and map data is critical to effective environmental management.

The Unit shall be responsible for:

  1. i. Gathering, processing and management of petroleum related data
  2. ii. Update of environmental sensitivity database and maps
  3. iii. Update of oil and gas website
  4. iv. Liaise between the department, FO, EQ and EIDM on data generation, utilization and reporting

5. INCIDENT REPORT RECEIPT AND RECORDING UNIT

This Unit shall be Responsible for:

Receipt, recording and directing emergency response and public complaint calls to appropriate departments, region and officers for expedite action. It shall also be responsible for receipt of and distribution to appropriate department for action.

C. THE WESTERN REGIONAL OFFICE

The EPA Western Regional Office is responsible for the entire developmental activities within that region including mining, telecom, large scale plantations, industrial, etc. With the advent of oil and gas development Sekondi-Takoradi is being used as the support base for offshore activities. Thus, the oil and gas development activities in the region place an enormous burden on the Western Regional Office. The environmental regulatory oversight in the petroleum sector in the region therefore has to be strengthened in view of two great challenges, which are pertinent here: (1) The onshore environmental and social impacts are largely handled by local authorities that are limited in their capacity to mitigate impacts. The offshore developments currently relies heavily upon local government infrastructure and local and regional services. This infrastructure, including need for a hazardous waste disposal site is largely at its infant stage and technical services at the Western

Regional office are not fully prepared for the tasks expected of them. (2) Experience from elsewhere shows that anticipating future developments and potential long term, spatial impacts associated with a range of development scenarios in the sector is best practice toward attenuating environmental and social and impacts and optimizing social and local/regional development opportunities. Hence, building environmental and social management capacity within the Western Regional Office is very pertinent.

 

 

 

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