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Accepted Paper:

“We need to accelerate the exploitation of oil and gas, pump as much as possible.” Examining the response of Ghana’s national oil company to the global energy transition  
Matthew Tyce (King's College London) Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana Business School) Kojo Asante (Ghana Center for Democratic Development)

Paper short abstract:

Utilising a political economy approach, our paper examines how Ghana’s National Oil Company is responding to the global energy transition and the challenges that it is facing, and likely to face, in navigating the agenda

Paper long abstract:

At COP27 in November 2022, Ghana’s government unveiled an energy transition strategy that, in many senses, ran counter to global headwinds by pledging to significantly increase oil & gas (O&G) extraction (both because of the importance of oil exports in generating revenues for Ghana’s fiscally-constrained state and the role assigned to gas as Ghana’s domestic “transition fuel” up-to-and-beyond 2050). Ghana’s National Oil Company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), looks set –rhetorically, at least– to play a critical role in delivering on this strategy, as it is being tasked with driving exploration and production activities as International Oil Companies (IOCs) increasingly divest. Our paper examines the challenges that GNPC is likely to face –and, indeed, is already facing– in assuming these responsibilities in reality. Adopting a multiscalar political economy approach, we argue that GNPC currently lacks the organisational capacities and autonomy to implement this high-risk strategy, as GNPC has increasingly been (mis)used by national political elites as a vehicle for dispersing patronage and influencing electoral outcomes within the context of Ghana’s highly-competitive, clientelist politics. This prevents GNPC from operating with a commercial, strategic mindset. Shifts in the global O&G industry are presenting further challenges for GNPC, as escalating IOC divestments are pressuring it into making rushed investment decisions and emboldening political elites –who are increasingly invoking the urgency of the global energy transition– to try and push through highly-particularistic deals with minimal scrutiny and debate. Ghana’s active civil-society has, though, consistently resisted these efforts to-date, tempering risks around stranded assets.

Panel P27
The extractive politics of Africa’s energy transition: A new dawn or more of the same?
  Session 1 Friday 28 June, 2024, -