Ghana’s Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has challenged African nations to pursue an oil and gas exploration agenda.

He admonished African countries not to shy away from exploration efforts.

The minister made the call at the West Africa Oil and Gas Forum as part of his engagement at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Texas USA.

In his opening remarks at the forum, he expressed his delight to be part of a conversation that explores the way forward for West Africa and the US on how best both parties can partake in the prosperity and opportunities that the oil and gas industry offers.

The minister reiterated that African energy sector required a multi- pronged approach to addressing energy poverty in all African countries, something he believes is a call in the right direction.

Highlighting one of the unfortunate realities in several West African countries, he stressed that the standard of living of the people is normally not commensurate with the wealth of resources extracted, leading to social and political agitation in several instances.

The Petroleum Revenue Management Act in Ghana determines how revenue from petroleum should be disbursed and reserved for future generation.

In Ghana, he said there were established programs and plans to have Exploration and Production (E&P) companies, give back to society through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and offer direct employment to indigenes to improve on their economic conditions.

Dr. Mathew noted that Africa’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is the cleanest of fossil fuel, and harnessing it to power generators could make a huge impact on the drive to accelerate universal coverage.

‘’Several million barrels of oil and million standard cubic feet of gas are produced on daily basis in west Africa and Africa as a whole, owing to the efforts of these foreign partners, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hess and others’’, he added.

For these reasons, he appealed to investors to look at ways in which both sides i.e. those in whose territories these precious resources sit, and those with the finances and the technology to exploit, could both benefit from the resources.

By Annie Wharton Savage