Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources
Roger TissotResearch Fellow, KAPSARC
Anthony PaulAdviser to the Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of Ghana
Ekpen J. OmonbudeEconomic Adviser, Oceans and Natural Resources Advisory Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

This paper seeks to present policy-makers of emerging producer countries with a structured framework for considering the multiple factors that come into play in the development of a local content policy.

A worker stands on a platform next to the Tullow Oil Plc Prof. John Evans Atta Mills Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Sembcorp Marine Tuas shipyard in Singapore. Photo: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg via Getty Images.A worker stands on a platform next to a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Sembcorp Marine Tuas shipyard in Singapore. Photo via Getty Images.

Over the last decade of escalating oil prices, classic corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes have fallen out of favour. Instead, in return for access to new sources of oil, governments (and communities) in producing countries expect jobs, capacity-building, meaningful local content and the maximization of in-country value. But in a context of low oil prices, emerging oil and gas producers face a complex array of questions and issues in designing local content policy. Indeed, assessing local capabilities in relation to the typical demand for labour as well as the goods and services of the sector, is not a straightforward process.

This paper proposes a template for designing local content policy that is adapted to the resource base, anticipated petroleum activities, capacity levels available in country and guided by national development aspirations. It seeks to present policy-makers of emerging producer countries with a structured framework for considering the multiple factors that come into play in the development of a local content policy. The simple roadmap reviews key considerations for assessing the expected petroleum sector demand and existing national capabilities. Policy considerations are presented in a decision tree format, to highlight the sequencing of geological steps typical of emerging producers when they move from exploration to discovery and on to production.