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HomeNewsGNPC CEO spearheads Ghana’s Oil and Gas success

GNPC CEO spearheads Ghana’s Oil and Gas success

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah since assuming office in April 2022, has been at the forefront of leading the management and staff of GNPC to position the country to reap maximum benefits from her oil and gas resources.

Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah who until his appointment as CEO of GNPC, was the deputy CEO, took over the top job at GNPC from Dr K.K. Sarpong. Dr Sarpong’s insightful decision to assign Mr Danquah as the deputy chief executive in charge of technical operations in 2020 undoubtedly helped pivot him to the top spot, due to his diligent execution of GNPC’s core operations.

Ahweneeh Danquah’s appointment as CEO of GNPC came at a critical moment for Ghana’s oil and gas industry. The sector as at the time he took office had a dire need to maximise its use of the country’s little-exploited oil and gas reserves at the very moment when “the West” had begun calling for an energy transition to renewables.

In the face of recent unwarranted and unsubstantiated social media and mainstream media attacks on him with individuals going to the extent of deceitfully impersonating GNPC employees, Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, has emerged as a beacon of leadership, driving the corporation and Ghana’s oil and gas sector towards unparalleled success.

Despite the barrage of false news aimed at tarnishing his reputation, Danquah’s steadfast commitment to excellence and transformative initiatives has earned him recognition and acclaim both home and abroad.

Oil and gas sector

Danquah’s visionary leadership has been instrumental in accelerating oil and gas exploration in Ghana with a view to establishing production and reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports.

His flagship project, the “Voltarian Basin” is expected to see a well drilled within the next couple of months. This would be the first time in Ghana’s modern oil era that GNPC would become an operator onshore. Already, GNPC is exploring the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the “Voltaian Basin” under a reconnaissance license.

This exploration involves a mix of geophysical, geological, and geochemical techniques. When asked about the “Voltaian Basin” initiative Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah said; “if Ghanaians are to benefit immensely from the onshore oil and gas resources, then we should be able to own it through hard work that translates to sweat equity. Unlike the offshore oil resources where Ghanaians have a minority share, the resources in the “Voltaian Basin” should be for Ghanaians and therefore done by Ghanaians”.

Under his stewardship, GNPC has been actively involved in numerous exploration activities, providing continuity and consistency to Ghana’s exploration efforts. His initiatives to attract the right international oil companies through enticing and astute direct negotiations is continuing to re-invigorate exploration in Ghana.

“We saw some well-funded oil and gas companies leave at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are all coming back; thanks to the right meetings with key-decision makers of these corporations and banks, who are all based abroad. Moreso, we have been able to halt the industry exodus and reduce the production decline within the country, the GNPC CEO said in an interview in his office on Friday, 15 March 2024.

“Since assuming office as the CEO of GNPC, I have not taken a single day off work simply because of the volume of work that has to be done. I have been exploring all avenues for financial, commercial and technological assistance to turn Ghana into an oil and gas powerhouse,” Opoku Danquah added.

“A sizable deepwater oil and gas development from exploration to production for example, is in the billions of dollars and every single required technology patent is owned by foreign companies, it is therefore impossible to conduct effective business sitting in your office in Accra and expecting a miracle to happen.

“You have to proactively go out, meet with the movers and shakers in the oil and gas space and take the bull by its horns to get work done,” he further stated.

CSR impact

Danquah’s leadership extends beyond the confines of the oil and gas industry. His commitment to good corporate governance and sustainability has seen GNPC impact the lives of Ghanaians positively.

Through the GNPC Foundation, the corporation has designed and implemented tailored intervention programs aimed at alleviating the environmental, social, and economic impact of its activities to benefit all Ghanaians, especially the underprivileged.

The “Skilled Artisans Project” for example, has trained, equipped and empowered thousands of young people across the county with employable skills in over 25 vocations. Under his leadership, last year (2023) alone, hundreds of scholarships were awarded to needy but brilliant Ghanaian students pursuing undergraduate and post graduate programs.

Currently, GNPC is sponsoring 200 medical doctors who are being trained in Cuba to augment the country’s patient-doctor ratio. There are numerous other activities undertaken by the GNPC Foundation that includes hundreds of infrastructure projects such as classroom blocks, dormitories, medical facilities, astroturfs and other recreational facilities.

When asked to shed more light on these developments, Danquah said, “through the GNPC Foundation, we’re not just building a corporation, but a sustainable legacy, empowering communities through a three-pronged approach which are; economic growth, education, and environmental stewardship. My vision extends far beyond the confines of the oil and gas industry, embodying a commitment to holistic nation-building”.

Changes at GNPC

Within the GNPC workplace, Danquah has introduced unique changes which can be described as a paradigm shift. The changes are said to be moving the corporation in the right direction and same has been expressed by employees in the various departments.

An interaction with some employees of GNPC about what they make of the work ethic of the CEO and changes he has introduced, everyone unanimously confirmed that his understanding of the industry was very impressive and was very diligent and committed to delivering the best for GNPC.

Recognitions

Under Danquah’s leadership, GNPC has not only thrived but also gained significant recognition. He was honored as the best chief executive for the Upstream Petroleum sector in Ghana by the Ghana CEOs Network. This award he got is presented to an individual who exemplifies outstanding business practices, achievements, leadership, vision, and the creation of economic growth.

Furthermore, Danquah was adjudged the winner of the coveted Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Award for the year 2023 at the Africa Public Sector Conference and Awards. This award is given to top-performing executives who drive value and transformation on the continent through innovation and sound leadership in the oil and gas sector.

The GNPC CEO’s visionary guidance, has led GNPC to achieve remarkable milestones, cementing its position as a cornerstone of Ghana’s economic development. Through strategic partnerships and innovative strategies, Danquah has spearheaded initiatives that have propelled Ghana onto the global stage as a significant player in the oil and gas industry.

Exemplar of leadership

As Ghana continues to harness its natural resources for the benefit of its citizens, Opoku Danquah stands as an exemplar of leadership and excellence. His unwavering dedication to advancing Ghana’s oil and gas sector while prioritizing sustainability and inclusive growth serves as an inspiration to industry stakeholders and the general populace alike.

In these challenging times, it is imperative to recognize and celebrate the transformative impact of visionary leaders like Opoku Danquah, whose contributions resonate far beyond the confines of boardrooms and oil rigs, shaping the future trajectory of Ghana’s prosperity and progress.

Profile of Opoku Danquah

Danquah has over 20 years of experience in strategy across multiple businesses, with most of his focus in, but not limited to, oil and gas. He joined GNPC from Vallourec, where he managed the North American strategy, development and innovation team.

Before this, Ahweneeh Danquah held senior management positions at BHGE (Baker Hughes) and General Electric. Prior to that, he was the global strategic marketing manager for Schlumberger’s upstream consulting arm Schlumberger Business Consulting (SBC).

Interestingly, this was the consultancy that put in place GNPC’s current operational framework, post-Jubilee oil production. Danquah also held a director role at Hart Energy, where he helped to establish the firm’s consulting and research group.

His professional tenure also includes work for Wood Mackenzie, IHS CERA, Euromoney Institutional Investor and Bank of America. He is the author of various industry publications, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College in the United States, with a minor in French.

He also holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Tufts University, where his study focused on both international business and international relations. Danquah completed the strategy coursework for his Master’s degree at Harvard Business School.

Danquah is an alumnus of Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (PRESEC, Legon), and represented the school in the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) in 1997.