What kind of partnerships are you looking for to contribute to the country's growth?
MYLES BOUVIER-BAIRD We want to grow. We believe in win-win partnerships and strategic alliances since these allow us to link local demand with our global supply networks. As a bulk distribution company, Blue Ocean Investments buys fuel from international traders and stores it in its facilities. By buying 100% of our product from the traders, we are able to access their infrastructure, and Blue Ocean is able to establish relationships with global trading companies. Blue Ocean Investments was the first business development community to offer gasoline in the western region of Ghana. Before their depot was built, all the gasoline requirements for the Western Region were moved every day through hundreds of tankers on the road from Tema to Takoradi, with the National Petroleum Authority providing the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF), a reimbursement for the cost of transport. Blue Ocean's investment into gasoline storage in Takoradi means the government saves money, as it no longer has to pay UPPF for gasoline in this region. PUMA Energy is also partnering with dynamic local oil marketing companies (OMCs) to provide synergies that combine global know-how with local knowledge. For example, we have just partnered with an indigenous OMC called Jusbro Petroleum.
GAUTHIER POURCELLE In Ghana, Technip FMC has developed partnerships first and foremost with the universities. We have two collaborations with Regional Maritime University and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, whereby one of our qualified engineers mentors about 15 students at each university in their final year. Once they graduate, we offer students two-month internships, and after one year of national service, send them abroad to Asia, Europe, or the US to complete their training programs. We prefer engineers from the university so we can ensure they understand the oil and gas process from the beginning. The idea is to take them from university, put them in the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) training center, and assign GNPC staff to learn our processes. We have five GNPC people in the GTES engineering center available in Ghana for any client, even including the competition. We have a total local content of 85% within all entities of Technip FMC. Two years ago, we had five lead expats, though now there are only two. As far as engineering is concerned, a partner is needed in Ghana to open a JV, and our first choice was GNPC because it is the national oil company and will still be here in 10-20 years' time. We also have seven JVs through Technip Ghana Ltd. with Amaja, Orsam, and others. For example, there is equipment such as jumpers to connect subsea equipment to FMC equipment that is designed here and manufactured through our Orsam partner.
What are the main opportunities in the Ghanaian market, and how do you approach them?
MBB Although it has improved dramatically, the lack of infrastructure in some areas is both a challenge and an opportunity. PUMA Energy has addressed some of the petroleum infrastructure issues; however, multinational players need to partner with local companies to find the right balance. Another huge opportunity lies in the speed and efficiency of the regulatory environment. At the moment, the availability of illegal products represents a well-known problem in the downstream industry. Illegal fuel not only hurts companies who have invested a great deal, but also leads to safety and environmental concerns. The speed and strength of reaction from industry regulators to matters like this can dramatically influence the confidence of investors. The industry needs to work together to fight these issues. We pay all our taxes and license fees and ensure we follow all the industry regulations, so in return as a private sector player we ask the regulator and government bodies to set a clear framework and fair playing field. We have already seen the regulator in Ghana set a fantastic lead in the deregulation of the downstream petroleum industry, which has spurred efficiencies through competition.
GP When we decided to come on our own, we decided to find a country where we can have visibility and commit to our investment since that's where the opportunity is. The way that we want to acquire those opportunities is by becoming a local player. The group has done it in Brazil, Angola, and many other countries so the aim is to arrive here to set up, invest, and become a local player by adding a competitive edge. The border dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast has been and will continue to be an opportunity, rather than an issue. It has helped us develop a steady speed over the years in order to grow organically and build stronger local capacity.