Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 2016, Act 919

Last updated: 23 December 2020

The stated purpose of this legislation is to ensure safe, secure, sustainable and efficient petroleum activities to achieve optimal long-term petroleum resource exploitation and utilisation for the benefit and welfare of the people of Ghana.  The Act outlines the requirements for permitting and authorisation to carry out oil and gas activities in Ghana. Most importantly, they ensure that all permits are publicly accessible so that productions limits are clearly visible and more easily tracked.

The act also decrees that all petroleum resources existing in a natural state in, under or upon any land, rivers, streams, watercourses, the exclusive economic zone and any area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf, is the property of the Republic of Ghana and is vested in the President on behalf of and in trust for the people of Ghana.

Upon commercial discovery of petroleum, the Act requires the contractor to submit to the Minister for approval a plan of development and operation in respect of any petroleum field to be developed. The plan must contain, among other things, a description of environmental components such as the prevention and minimisation of environmentally harmful discharges and emissions; and the disposal and use of associated gas where-applicable.

The Act also imposes limits on flaring and venting of petroleum, requiring regulated entities to obtain prior authorisation by the Commission in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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