ACCRA, The future looks bright for Ghana’s oil and gas industry, says Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko, who is confident the sector has the potential to create many jobs to help reduce unemployment.

Addressing a stakeholders forum here Tuesday, Agyarko said the government was committed to championing robust plans to develop the oil and gas sector for economic growth.

The forum, on Ghana’s upstream petroleum industry: A decade after the commercial discovery of oil and gas, was organized under the auspices of the Petroleum Commission and the Ministry of Energy to mark the 10 years anniversary of the discovery of offshore oil in the country.

Agyarko said the government was directing its energies towards the development of a prudent regulatory framework to guard oil exploration and exploitation in the Jubilee, Tweneboah-Ehyenra-Ntomme, and the Sankofa-Gye Nyame oil fields.

Some of the regulations include the Petroleum Local Content and Participation Act, 2013 (L.I 2204) and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Measurement Regulation, 2016 (L.I2246) whilst other projects such as a comprehensive Petroleum Data Repository Register was being developed to record all upstream activities.

The move, he said, was to regulate the awarding of contracts and other significant activities in the oil and gas sector to ensure that Ghana benefited satisfactorily from its resources.

The Energy Minister said following the discovery of oil, the country haf attracted several foreign investors with some of them establishing their offices in Ghana.

Going forward government will ensure transparency through competitive bidding, he said, He also assured industry players of open doors for both foreign and local direct investment within the sector.

Theophilus Ahwireng, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, said the journey since the discovery of oil in 2007 had been challenging yet beneficial, with production increasing from the previous 100,000 barrels of oil per day to the present 200,000 barrels per day (bpd).

He said several human capacity building and skills development programmes have been undertaken to increase local participation and also ensure technology transfer.

Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, announced that the corporation would be awarding scholarships to 250 students in tertiary institutions who were pursuing courses in oil and gas-related sciences, this year.