Ghana's Upstream Petroleum Fiscal Regime: Historical Developments, Current Practice and Challenges
Published 19 August 2022
The legal framework guiding the conduct of petroleum operations in Ghana, and the contractual framework that was established to regulate the relationship between the Government of Ghana and the international oil companies (IOCs), was developed in the mid-1980’s following the creation of the national oil company, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) in 1983. GNPC served as the government agency under whose control petroleum sector activity would take place. This was largely the case until 2011 when the Petroleum Commission was established “for the regulation and the management of the utilization of the natural resources....”
Ghana made a large-scale commercial discovery of oil in 2007 and started producing in a record time of three years when a consortium of companies comprising Kosmos Energy Ghana, Tullow Ghana Limited, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Sabre Oil and Gas Holdings Limited and the EO Group in conjunction with GNPC discovered oil in commercial quantities in the Tano and Cape Three Points Basin in the offshore areas of the Western Region.
Prior to this large-scale commercial discovery, in the period leading up to the discovery, by a letter dated 4th June 2002, the Managing Director of GNPC, requested assistance from the Economic and Legal Section (ELS) of the Special Advisory Services Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat to review the suitability of Ghana’s existing regulatory regime - including its fiscal regime - for promoting petroleum exploration. In respect of the fiscal regime, as Acheampong and Ali-Nakyea aptly note, “The fiscal regime governs the relationship between the host government and investors. This risk-reward balance is anchored on the twin goals of investment attraction and revenue maximisation.”
Footnotes omitted from this introduction.