Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Paris conference to reveal future oil and energy potential in North-Africa and Middle East


With oil prices and production still going up, North Africa and the Greater Middle East remain the key anchor area in the world’s oil and energy markets and will continue to shape the dynamics of the global upstream industry, according to experts.
This assertion will be shored up, during the 10th Maghreb, Mediterranean, MidEast Upstream Conference 2013 that will take place in Paris, France from June 4 to June 5, 2013.
According to the organisers - Global Pacific & Partners, it will be revealed at the conference,  which new discoveries and production developments, gas-LNG finds, state oil/gas policies and investment and expansion opportunities are to be expected in the world’s richest hydrocarbon zones.
The conference is expected to bring together key government officials, national oil companies and corporate as well as industry players who will focus on upstream oil and gas-LNG strategies, exploration and development across North Africa and the Greater Middle East, strategies of corporate, government and national oil companies and new players on the market.
The programme will highlight presentations about future exploration potential in Morocco, Mauritania, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Lebanon and Libya.
Expert, Dr Dexter Krol, New Business Development Manager of Shell International E&P BV will focus on sustainable growth, while Roberto Pirani, Chairman of White Stream Pipeline Company Ltd, will talk about the southern corridor to provide gas supply diversification to the European Union.
Through its significant exploration and production plays, acreage leasing, investment portfolio, hydrocarbon potential and joint venture interests, the Maghreb, Mediterranean & MidEast oil, gas and energy landscape remains the key market of the global upstream industry.
Prior to the conference, the 10th MidEast-Mediterranean Strategy Briefing will be held on June 3rd,  with presentations by Dr Duncan Clarke, chairman of Global Pacific & Partners. He is expected to provide an in-depth examination of the upstream perspectives, oil and gas-LNG strategies in exploration and development.
Clarke will also evaluate in-depth, a range of critical near-to-long term perspectives now in play, and destined to reshape over fifteen key countries and the strategies of corporate, government and national oil companies, and new players.
Also as part of the conference the 50th PetroAfricanus-PetroArabian Dinner will take place on the evening of June 4th.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Accra walks for water and sanitation for Blind School

Over a thousand people took part in a walk for water and sanitation in Accra, Ghana on Saturday, March 23 and also to commemorate World Water Day, which was marked globally on Friday, March 22, 2013.
At about 7am, the large crowd of people comprising employees of WaterAid Ghana (WAG), Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) and Green is Easy Foundation, three organisations whose collaboration brought about the walk, as well as student groups, the Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Fire Service, Police and Ghana Armed Forces among others, commenced the 10km walk from the Aviation Social Centre.
According to organisers of the 2-hour fun walk dubbed “Accra Walks for Water 2013”, apart from commemorating the 2013 World Water Day, the walk was aimed at raising funds for an integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project for the Akropong School for the Blind, Ghana’s foremost educational institution for the visually impaired, which currently has a student population of about 400 and over 50 teachers.
Explaining what informed the collaboration with WAG, Preba Arkaah Greenstreet, Corporate Relations Director, GGBL stated; “As a business we believe in empowering vulnerable groups and communities through our ‘Water of Life’ programme, which is one of our major corporate social responsibility focus areas.”
She indicated that the target was GH¢79,000 and that GGBL will match all funds raised up to the full cost through employee donations and support from Diageo’s businesses in North America.
Addressing the large crowd before the start of the walk, Mr. Harold Clottey, Deputy Director, Water Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said the exercise exemplified the theme for the 22nd anniversary of World Water Day, “The International Year of Water Cooperation.”
“This walk exemplifies the cooperation in the theme and we at the Water Directorate commend you for this,” he told the organisers.
He said the Directorate recognised the important role WaterAid Ghana and Guinness Ghana are playing in providing deprived communities in Ghana access to water and sanitation facilities.
“We assure you of the Government’s support and the Water Directorate’s doors are opened to you for meaningful partnership for mutual benefit, which will eventually be of immense benefit to our country. I urge you to continue such service to communities to stop polluting water bodies, so that Ghana, WaterAid, Guinness and other private sector agencies, with government support that invests in water sector, can provide water for all Ghanaians by 2025,” Mr. Clottey stated.
Esther Peprah, a form 2 student of the Accra Girls Secondary School who took part in the walk, said she had joined in to promote water and sanitation. Disclosing in an interview during the walk that her school had an environmental club with more than hundred members, she said the walk was very significant because “First it brings out the importance of sanitation and promotes water for life.”
Rosina from the Ghana Prisons Service, who also took part in the walk, said she had joined the walk because “Apart from advertising water for life, it is also a health walk that can keep the body moving, so I think it is a good programme that everybody who has the opportunity must take part in to keep the body moving and also show that water is life and so is sanitation.”
She indicated that although there is water at the quarters for prison officers, it could still be improved, while affirming that because they as prison officers realise the importance of water to the inmates, polytanks have been provided to cater for any shortfalls in water supply, as without water most of their work is held up.
Giving his impressions after the walk, Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnerships, WaterAid Ghana, said “It has been fantastic, it has been incredible, for once in my life I have seen how ordinary folks, big people in society like Nana Kobina Nketia, WaterAid Country Representative, Guinness Ghana Managing Director walking for water to raise awareness on the need for water sustainability and to raise funds for an incredible worthy purpose of providing WASH facilities for the Akropong School for the Blind – I am satisfied.”
He said although 3,000 people were expected for the walk, they had over 1,000 participating, which was still a good enough number.
For her part, Dr. Afia Zakiya, Country Representative for WaterAid Ghana who could not hide her joy at the turn of events, said; “This has been a fantastic day. The support has been simply wonderful and people have become aware of the water, sanitation and hygiene situation, so this is a fantastic feeling.”
She said the next step after the walk will be to continue to have dialogue and keep organising people, adding, “The voice of the people should be heard and hopefully that will move government to act and take on its responsibility.”    
Dr. Zakiya stated further, that her organisation will continue to make people aware of their responsibilities in keeping their water bodies and environments clean and organise more walks, since it is also a healthy activity.
Adding to comments made earlier by his colleague on what informed the collaboration with WaterAid Ghana for the walk, Richard Ahiable, Corporate Relationship Manager, Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL), said it was in line with activities employees engage in every year to mark World Water Day.
“Two years ago we had a walk, last year we had an internal event, so this year we decided to make it bigger and in line with the world theme which is ‘the international year of water cooperation’ we decided to collaborate with WaterAid and not just to walk, but also to raise funds for the Akropong School for the blind,” he said.
“For us as a business, we have a corporate social responsibility project – ‘Water of Life’ through which we give access to clean drinking water to thousands of Ghanaians every year. So it was just an opportunity for us to collaborate to be able to do a project like that for the Akropong School for the Blind,” Richard Ahiable explained further.
He expressed his satisfaction at the turnout for the walk despite other similar events like the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC’s) health walk and Accra-based radio station -Joy FM’s workout programmes and was optimistic the number would improve in subsequent years.
World Water Day is commemorated annually as a United Nations designated day, to focus attention and to advocate for the effective management and use of fresh water resources. To mark the day, walks involving hundreds of thousands of people and dubbed ‘World Walks for Water and Sanitation’, were organised in several countries worldwide including Ghana, to raise awareness on the need for cooperation in the delivery of water and sanitation services.
By Edmund Smith-Asante

Friday, March 22, 2013

WMO-GWP launch Integrated Drought Management Programme

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Global Water Partnership (GWP), have launched a joint Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), to improve monitoring and prevention of one of the world’s greatest natural hazards - drought.
It was launched on March 13, 2013 at the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) in Geneva, Switzerland, where decision-makers and scientists from around the world met to discuss proactive, forward-looking national drought policies to replace the current piecemeal, reactive approach.
Commenting on the importance of the IDMP, GWP Executive Secretary, Dr. Ania Grobicki said; “Whether because of climate variability or climate change, droughts have a severe impact on water availability and quality, agricultural and energy production, and ecosystem health.”
“There is an urgent need to develop better drought monitoring and risk management systems, and for countries to have frameworks in place to manage drought risks through an integrated approach.  This programme aims to support countries in this endeavour, within their regional contexts,” Dr. Grobicki added.
For his part, WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, stated that “Without coordinated national drought policies, nations will continue to respond to drought in a reactive way.”
“What we need are monitoring and early warning systems to deliver timely information to decision makers, effective impact assessment procedures, pro-active risk management measures, preparedness plans to increase coping capacities, and effective emergency response programmes to reduce the impacts of droughts. The Integrated Drought Management Programme is therefore an important initiative,” he stressed.
Adding his voice to the importance of the programme, Alex Simalabwi, GWP’s global climate change focal point opined that “The increase in catastrophic events such as droughts and floods will impact lives, livelihoods, land values, and investment incentives, especially in vulnerable areas inhabited by poorer populations.”
According to Sabina Bokal, project manager for the new GWP Central and Eastern Europe drought programme located in Bratislava, Slovakia, “In co-operation with national hydro-meteorological institutions, river basin authorities, ministries, research institutions and the Southern and Eastern Europe Drought Monitoring Centre (DMC), the project will implement drought monitoring and risk assessments.”
The new programme capitalises on the ten years of success with the Associated Programme on Flood Management, a joint project of WMO, the Global Water Partnership, Japan, Switzerland and many other partners and will focus especially on sharing scientific information, knowledge and best practices to advise policies and management approaches.
A growing concern worldwide is that droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, due to climate change, which was discussed at the Geneva meeting where a GWP delegation from several regions and the Global Secretariat participated.
At global level, it is expected that the IDMP will contribute to best practices related to drought risk management through: better scientific understanding of, and inputs for, drought management; improved knowledge base, with better access to information and products; drought risk assessment, monitoring, prediction, and early warning; policy and planning for drought preparedness and mitigation across sectors; and drought risk reduction and response.
Better drought management is also one of the priorities of the Global Framework for Climate Services, the GFCS. This framework is now being implemented by governments with support from several partners from the United Nations System.
It is widely held that climate services can be a powerful tool to increase drought resilience, by improving climate information and services, especially for the most vulnerable, and that they will build on fast improving climate prediction capabilities.
GWP is responding to the climate change challenge through a portfolio of programmes and projects aimed at building climate resilience through better water management. Initial implementation of the regional drought programmes will however, focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Sahel (GWP West Africa) and the Horn of Africa (through GWP Eastern Africa). 
According to the Global Water Partnership, these regional programmes will contribute to the global integrated drought management programme located within WMO´s Water and Climate Department.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Indigenous knowledge holds key to sustainable community development - Daannaa

Dr. Henry S. Daannaa, Minister, Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs

Ghana’s Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Henry S. Daannaa, has indicated that research into indigenous practices of any people, is key to sustainable development of their community and thus advocated scientific knowhow of indigenous methods, to enable any form of development to be achieved.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of a five-day training course on local and indigenous knowledge for community-driven water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives in Koforidua on Monday, March 11, 2013, Dr. Daannaa stated: “In other words, our effort to achieve sustainable community development will be very much enhanced if we undertake scientific research into our indigenous knowledge or traditional/customary way of doing things, so to speak.”
“Our focus as a nation must be to examine our indigenous skills with a view to sharpening our indigenous knowledge and thereby avail ourselves with these local methods or techniques in the solution of problems within our local communities,” the minister stressed.
In his view, “The ultimate objective of us all as Ghanaians is to be able to sit up and address with all seriousness the question of our indigenous knowhow or cultural potential,” saying it is the hope of the Chieftaincy and Traditional Ministry and for that matter the Government of Ghana, that all stakeholders including the academic and research institutions will join in the march on the road ahead to examine with a view to improving upon Ghana’s local indigenous capabilities.
In her introductory remarks at the start of the course, Dr. Afia Zakiya, Country Representative, WaterAid Ghana an international development charity and co-sponsor of the training, said as a former assistant professor in African studies and political science, she has for most part of her life researched into villages, cities and other aspects of life on the continent and has become convinced through those specific experiences that “many of the people I spoke to and who I met, very much had clear concepts and ideas of how they wanted their life to be.”
“They had clear ideas and concepts of what it would take to move their communities to a place of wellbeing materially, spiritually, socially and other kinds of ways,” she stressed.
Dr. Zakiya said it has thus been her mission as an African woman to do what she can when she finds herself in places of decision-making, to “support African solutions to African developments.”
She urged participants to ensure that both the theoretical ideas that support the African world view and African culture to development efforts, are made as simple as possible and that the practical experiences, field work, theories and concepts that are engaged in during the course are made feasible to people in terms of realities and experiences.
“I think if we are able to do that, by what we do this week, the programme will have served its purpose,” WaterAid Ghana’s Country Representative stated.
For his part, Mr Bernard Guri, Director, Center for Indigenous and Organisational Development (CIKOD), organisers of the training, lamented that native practices which were insisted on by community elders, such as carrying of a hoe by anyone attending to nature’s call in the bush, was to enable digging and burying of the faeces, but all that had stopped in the name of modernity and people are now defecating openly everywhere.
“We think that we need to go back and learn these things that they have used before and see how if we want to support them we can help them to do it in a better way and in so doing what is the new knowledge that we can bring to them,” he said.
Mr. Guri disclosed that CIKOD has decided to employ the endogenous development method, which only means using the indigenous or local knowledge that people have and which participants will be apprised of during the course.

CIKOD holds five-day course in indigenous knowledge for development

Some of the participants at the training
A five-day training course in indigenous knowledge for the development of communities has begun in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital of Ghana.
It is being organised by the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), in collaboration with the Institute for Development Studies of the University of Cape Coast with support from WaterAid, Ghana and AustralianAid.
The training, which began Monday, March 11 and will end Friday, March 15, 2013, is under the theme “Local and Indigenous knowledge for water, sanitation and hygiene” and aims at introducing the concept of endogenous development, an approach to social and economic justice that “starts from within” and ensures initiatives are truly community-driven and based on their strengths that contribute to their own socio-cultural, economic and political development.
According to the course coordinator and Director of CIKOD, Mr. Bernard Guri, the 25 participants benefitting from the training, comprise heads of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, directors and senior staff in community-based organisations, as well as non-governmental organisations and local government departments looking to ensure that their programming is respectful of, and benefits from local and indigenous knowledge.
While facilitation of the course will be done jointly by CIKOD and WaterAid Ghana partners with experience in piloting the community organisational development approach in their WASH programmes, the course content will be complimented by special guests - Professor Irene Korkoi Odotei, Institute of African Studies, Director, Institute for Research, Advocacy and Training and President, Historical Society of Ghana; Dr. Afia Zakiya, Country Representative of WaterAid Ghana and Dr. H. S. Daannaa, Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs among others, who are all playing leading roles in articulating the concept and practice of endogenous development.
The organisers of the course say its key objectives include strengthening competencies to analyse how different world views influence development and social change, gaining a critical appreciation for local and indigenous knowledge and strength based approaches, learning innovative strategies for including local and indigenous knowledge in development practice and building skills for integrating local and indigenous in one’s own practice.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fund to fight Climate Change in Africa becomes operational in 2013


The fourth meeting of the Board of Programme Directors of the Climate for Development in Africa Initiative (Clim-Dev) has been held in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), on March 6 and 7, 2013,  the high-level meeting marked a turning point in Africa’s fight against climate change, particularly in Africa itself.

As a result of the meeting, the Clim-Dev Special Fund (CDSF) – an ad hoc investment fund set aside to finance climate change activities in Africa, becomes operational this year.
According to AfDB, in addition to the Fund, resources and the possibility of disseminating robust and viable statistical data on climate and its evolution in Africa, CDSF will finance concrete operations on the ground.

Meanwhile, 14 projects are being reviewed under the Climate for Development initiative in Africa currently.

Established in 2009 under the joint auspices of AfDB, AUC and UNECA, the Clim-Dev Africa Initiative was launched in 2012 and its initial resources further enhanced by contributions made by African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) countries in February 2013.

Whereas management of the Clim-Dev Special Fund has been entrusted to the African Development Bank, Clim-Dev Africa is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (OSAN) within the AfDB.

Some 30 other delegates alongside AfDB Managers and Bank experts participated in the Tunis meeting, representing the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Regional Economic Communities (RICs), as well as the donor community and civil society organisations.

AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Fatima Denton, Officer-in-charge of climate change adaptation programmes in Africa undertaken by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Abdirahman Beileh, Director of the AfDB’s Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, were also in attendance.

Atlantic Energy makes case for indigenous companies in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry


Mr. Scott Aitken, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Energy, has stated that while International Oil Companies (IOCs) are responsible for over 90% of production in Nigeria, there are hundreds of undeveloped onshore discoveries, which calls for more indigenous companies like Atlantic Energy to join in taking the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry forward.

He also informed that recently, the Nigerian government tasked the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), an operator (and fully owned subsidiary of the NNPC) who are in a strategic alliance with Atlantic Energy, to develop a number of NPDC’s assets to drastically increase its production of crude oil and natural gas.

NPDC has 130,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) of current production, with a target of reaching 250,000 bopd by 2015 and significantly increasing the supply of domestic gas to the country to enable an increase in power generation and support local manufacturing industries. Atlantic Energy through its Strategic Alliance with NPDC, is expected to assist NPDC attain this target.

Making these statements at the recently concluded 13th Nigerian Oil and Gas conference in Abuja, the New Atlantic Co-CEO said that a significant portion of Nigeria’s marketed natural gas is processed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and that this natural gas only constituted 4% of the country’s energy consumption as at 2010; although the power sector privatisation is driving an increased demand for gas, with an installed capacity of 7,000 MW and a target capacity of 16,000 MW by the end of 2013.

Mr. Aitken further stated the challenges facing companies like Atlantic Energy and the wider industry and proffered solutions to the problems ranging from old infrastructure, swamp and land terrain, community stakeholder relationships and expectations, multiple partners/new models, to ambitious targets.

He said they can be addressed through detailed evaluation and phased infrastructure replacement/upgrade, encouragement of swamp and land terrain asset management, community engagements, adding that updates should be assessed, there should be project prioritisation and clear centralisation management structures including strong relationship building, while there is a need to have fast track solutions to deliver early results to fund further development.

Mr. Scott Aitken spoke as chair for a panel discussion on the topic: “Focus on Independents – How are Indigenous Companies Transforming the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry?”

Key points that were discussed included: Creating an enabling environment to encourage Nigerian companies to enter and expand operations; What are the fiscal and regulatory incentives that indigenous companies require?; How can indigenous companies access the technical know-how and financing to further their operations?; and The divestment process from IOCs to indigenous companies successes and pitfalls.

Atlantic Energy was a platinum sponsor at the 13th Nigerian Oil and Gas conference, one of Africa’s largest oil and gas conferences held earlier this week, which attracted a gathering of over 1000 national and international senior level delegates from the Upstream, Midstream and Downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Representatives including the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, H.E. Diezani Alison-Madueke; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), represented by the Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu and Group Executive Director, Exploration & Production, Abiye Membere; International and Indigenous Oil Companies (IOCs), Service Companies; Nigerian and international banks amongst others, attended.

Atlantic Energy is a private upstream oil and gas group founded by Nigerian and international exploration and production (“E&P”) executives with experience in the Nigerian E&P sector and currently operates in Nigeria.

GJA 2010 Award Winners

GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

GJA 2011 Award Winners

GJA 2011 Award Winners
GWJN's 2011 GJA Award-Winning Team

New WASH-JN Executives

New WASH-JN Executives
They are from left - Edmund, Ghana, Aminata: Guinea, Alain: Benin, Paule: Senegal and Ousman: Niger

Celebrating Award

Celebrating Award
The benefits of Award Winning!

Hard Work Pays!

Hard Work Pays!
In a pose with my plaque