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 Oil rig at sunset, Papua New Guinea

Officials trained to assess multi-billion dollar petroleum investments

5 November 2020

More than 90 government officials from 11 nations have gained new skills that will help them make sound decisions on petroleum field development plans submitted by oil companies, to ensure they promote sustainable development.

Officials recently completed a seven-day course titled ‘Government reviews of field development plans’ organised by the New Producers Group (NPG). The NPG is an initiative by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chatham House and the Natural Resources Governance Institute that supports countries relatively new to the oil and gas industry.

Naadira Ogeer, economic adviser and the Commonwealth Secretariat’s project lead for the NPG, said: “Our mandate is to help member countries with the sustainable development of their natural resources, and the approval of a field development plan is a critical milestone for a government to achieve this. This issue in particular was identified by members as an area in which they needed to build government capacity.”

Sustainable Development Goals

Field development plans (FDP) outline how a company intends to develop a petroleum field and represent significant foreign investment in a country – often billions of dollars.

Decisions taken by the government when they review the FDPs are therefore extremely crucial, as they can affect the field value, associated benefits as well as social and environmental impacts of the project in the country for 20 years or more.

Ms Ogeer continued: “Collectively, the government officials who attended this training will be involved in the approval of over $100bn of investments within the next three to five years. This represents an incredible opportunity for translating learnings into tangible action which can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

South assisting South

Delegates from Belize, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Mauritania Mozambique, Namibia, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania and Uganda took part in the training held from 12th to 21st October.

The training covered the process of developing FDPs, elements of a robust FDP, the factors from both the company and government perspective that influence the FDP, and mechanisms to ensure regulatory oversight.

Berit Tvedt, Managing Director of Petrad, a Norwegian government foundation and NPG knowledge partner, said: “I think the course was extremely successful. There was a good mix of presenters and the group was very engaged with so many questions. It worked very well and is an excellent example of South assisting South.”

The course was originally scheduled to be held in Suriname in May 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was repurposed for virtual delivery.

Learn more about the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work in Natural Resources