Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission Egbert Faibille Jnr has hinted that over 500 Ghanaians working in the oil and gas sector are expected to lose their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to him, the consequential effect of the cancellation of contracts amidst the already reduced workforce in the industry will result in lay-offs of both expatriate and local personnel.
“Over 98 contracts worth over $389 million were awarded by Aker Energy, AGM, Eni, GOSCO and Springfield from Q4 2019-Q1 2020. The cancellation of these contracts such as the 5-year Maersk Drilling contract which was terminated in June 2020 together with associated sub-contracts would have a devastating toll on local businesses,” he explained.
Egbert Faibille Jnr said this on Friday, October 9 when the Petroleum Commission presented 2,000 pieces of its branded face masks and an operational sunsink to the Western Regional House of Chiefs to help combat the spread of Covid-19.
The CEO explained that the impact of the pandemic necessitated the freezing of the work programmes and a decision to restore the period lost.
As a result, critical operations and maintenance works on production facilities scheduled for the year have either been stalled or cancelled.
He announced that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to delay the country’s second licensing round as the government prioritises managing the domestic impact of the virus and “although oil production was ongoing, production and revenue forecast for the year has been significantly affected, largely due to the postponement of the Pecan Development Campaign”.
In a presentation on the Impact of COVID-19 On Ghana’s Upstream Sector, Project Evaluation Manager of Petroleum Commission Ebenezer Harmah revealed further that already some companies in the sector have reduced their work by more than 50 percent.
“More than 100 percent of workers have been laid off either temporarily or permanently by contractors and subcontractors. Again, over 450 potential direct and indirect temporary job opportunities have been lost due to the suspension of drilling campaigns by Amni, GOSCO, Eni and Eco Atlantic.”
He added that the 2020 Ghana Upstream Sector Internship Program (GUSIP) has also been postponed, stressing that will cause a delay in skills transfer.
He indicated that there has been significant changes in the manning strategy of the oil and gas companies.
“For Yinson, there is a 33 percent reduction in the personnel on board the FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor. For MODEC, there is a 52 percent reduction in personnel on board the FPSO John Evans Attah Mills and a further 56 percent in the personnel on board the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah. For Eni, there is a 46 percent reduction in personnel on the Onshore Receiving Facility and for Tullow, there is 50 percent staff rotation.
Nevertheless, he said the Petroleum Commission continues to find innovative ways to protect the “country against further shocks”.
“The Petroleum Commission and government as a whole continue to support producing fields to ensure that production rates are not affected. Contracts have also been advised to rationalize operations in low oil price environment.”