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Ghana to benefit from oil spill fund

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong 

Ghana as crude oil importing country will benefit from the International Oil Pollution Corporation Fund if the country witnesses oil spill at its ocean. 

“The fund is a global fund and it’s meant for the countries that import crude oil. The fund is voluntary but Ghana through the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) contributes annually on behalf of Ghana,” Mr. Kojo Agbenor Efunam, the Deputy Director in charge of oil and gas at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told the Daily Express. 

He explained that the fund is mostly for crude oil importing countries but not those into production and exportation. 

Mr. Efunam further explained that once Ghana is part of the fund, anytime there is an oil spill involving an oil tanker on the seas of Ghana, the country can apply for the fund to solve any problem resulting from the spillage. 

“If the incident does not involve a tanker the country does not benefit. But if the incident involves a tanker the country applies for the fund,” he mentioned, adding that there are rules that govern the administration of the fund. 

He told Daily Express that the amount a country can benefit depends on the level of damage that may occur saying it ranges from US$200 million to US$600 million. 

To adequately prepare for such incident and know the rules governing the fund, Ghana has put in place a National Oil Spill Contingent Plans to be able to handle any eventuality. 

Mr. Ehunam said four working groups have been initiated to look at the compensation regime of the fund and what Ghana can do to benefit from the fund. 
They are: Operation Group, Environmental Working Group, Chemicals Working Group and Waste Management Group. 

Meanwhile, a steering committee has been formed to oversee the implementation of the National Contingency Plans. It is made up of reps from Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, EPA, Petroleum Commission, Ghana Navy, National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ministry of Finance, Ghana Port and Harbors Authority, Ministry of Fisheries, Ghana Marine Surveyors, and Ghana Maritime Authority. 

He told Daily Express the unfortunate is bound to happen as far as the oil industry is concerned.  “And particularly for the coastal countries which include Ghana, you don’t even need to have oil and gas business to start planning for any spill because the ocean serves as highway for these tankers that take the oil from the production center to the consumer center.” 

“Once you are at the coastal the likelihood of you having an impact of vessel carrying oil damaging is very high. So the coastal states have to be alert and prepare for some of these incidents,” he added. 

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