Preparations towards oil and gas exploration in the Voltaian Basin has gathered momentum as series of stakeholders’ forums to comprehensively address all environmental concerns are held.

Heads of department and coordinating directors drawn from the various districts across the Eastern Region were on hand at one of such forums in Koforidua to make input into the development of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for the activity.

The Basin covers 40 per cent of the land mass of the country and stretches over five regions - Eastern, Volta, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Northern.

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has now applied for environmental permit for seismic survey be conducted in the area, this year to confirm the presence of oil and gas deposits for commercial drilling.

Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Daniel S. Amlalo, said the forum was to tease out from stakeholders the key issues which needed to be tackled when it was finally decided that the Basin should be opened up for oil and gas exploitation activities.

The goal, he said, was to ensure the integration of environmental and social considerations into the offshore exploration to promote sustainable development.

The SEA was to also help identify potential environmental sensitive areas and provide guidelines for their protection to reduce risk, he added.

Mr. Christopher Terlar of the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council appealed to the Ghana SEA Core Team, which had been holding the stakeholders forums to make sure that the concerns of farmers and fishermen were taken seriously and properly dealt with.

Source: GNA