The Petroleum Commission has made moves to boost local participation in upstream oil and gas sector as it hosts stakeholders at a conference in Takoradi in the Western Region.

The 2-day Local Content Conference and Exhibition on the theme “Increasing in-country value and capabilities of domestic businesses” is scheduled for November 9-10 and it forms part of efforts at ensuring that the benefits derived from the country's oil and gas resources are maximized.

The sector according to the Commission has made some substantial gains in the area of local participation particularly following the  passage of the Local Content Law in 2013.

About 70 percent of the 6,800 or so people employed by the sector according to the CEO of the Commission, Theophilus Ahwireng, are Ghanaians with about 480 out of 680 companies registered and engaging in a range of business activities also being indigenous companies.

This he says is remarkable considering that the industry is largely, a technology-driven one and that Ghana commenced oil production just a little over 5 years ago.

Mr. Ahwireng added that between 2010 and the last quarter of 2016 about "$7.5 billion worth of contracts have been issued out of which 20 percent have gone to indigenous companies, a marked improvement from the 5 percent local participation derived in 2010."

The role played by local companies in the area of metal fabrications towards building the country's second FPSO he says should be lauded given that the first was an outright purchase.

This certainly creates value for not only local businesses but the economy as a whole he told Joy Business, adding "enforcing the Local Content Law will eventually ensure skills transfer which can be taken advantage of by other sectors like the mining sector, among others to the benefit of the economy."

The conference and exhibition which will be an assembly of some key players in the upstream oil and gas sector is aimed at shedding light on the progress made so far in respect of local participation.

It would also consider the steps being taken to improve not only the number of players but the quality of services, among others.

"We are also hoping to have more of the indigenous financial institutions also come on board because there is an array of activities in the sector in which they could participate in," Mr Ahwireng noted.