Business News of Thursday, 21 March 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Comply with marine guidelines – oil coys told

Oil & Gas exploration companies in the country have been advised to adhere to marine protection guidelines aimed at protecting aquatic organisms.

This was contained in the findings of a new offshore environmental baseline survey which revealed that Ghana’s waters contain living organisms and coral reef that can be affected by activities of oil companies.

Presenting an address at a day’s meeting to disclose the findings of the survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Institute of Marine Research, Norway, the Minister for Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Joseph Oteng Adjei said although the oil and gas sector has the potential to transform the structure of the economy, its activities should not affect marine lives negatively.

He said, “Marine fishing contributes about 4% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources is therefore important for the nation.”

He also observed that there is growing concerns that petroleum activities may have negative impact on the marine resources resulting in the reduction in fish stock or loss of marine biodiversity.

He therefore commended the efforts of the EPA and its partners in conducting the offshore environmental baseline survey to ascertain the current state of living creatures in Ghana’s waters.

He said the findings will, among other things, enhance the understanding of the nature and extend the knowledge of how the offshore oil and gas activities can affect the marine ecosystem.

“This would also be useful to apply appropriate measures to deal with an oil spill, in case there is one,” the minister said.

Director General of the EPA, Daniel Amlalo, said the findings of the survey is to contribute to developing institutional arrangements and capacities for a well-coordinated and results-oriented environmental health and safety management in the oil and gas sector.

He said the EPA is receiving technical assistance from Norway to undertake certain activities like conducting a strategic environmental assessment of oil and gas.

He later pledged the support of the EPA in protecting living organisms in the environment.