Published 16 December 2020
In 2010, Ghana joined the emerging oil and gas producers in West Africa. Petroleum production presented the country with the opportunity to redeem its economic status - having just recovered from being a heavily indebted poor country. Yet, the country also had the herculean task of balancing the maximization of this new income stream with maintaining high environmental standards. Creating the requisite environment for oil and gas production requires, for example, good contracts, formidable legislation, and institutions. Whiles the oil sector seems to have enjoyed certain sustainability, what is yet to be adequately explored is whether this success reflects in all spheres of its operations. This article investigates whether Ghana´s decade of oil production reflects the enforcement of enabling environmental protection legislation. It further analyses the country´s preparedness to avert, contain or combat pollution caused by oil and gas activities offshore. It argues that non-partisan institutional leadership, improved institutional capacity, autonomy, etc., are required for better environmental protection. Additionally, a more practical National Oil Spill Contingency Plan is pertinent for addressing potential spill incidents. Lastly, the country could benefit from available regional institutions and norms - like those established by the ECOWAS - to improve its environmental governance in the petroleum sector.