AfricaLive: The word indigenous is featured prominently throughout your webpage, why is that?
Frederick A.Sam: We need to stress the fact that we are an indigenously owned company. The Ghanaian oil and gas industry has attracted major multinationals that control large portions of market share. We are proud to be one of the indigenous companies in the sector that is actively competing.
Jordan K. Mathia: We have aspirations of becoming a multinational ourselves one day, but at the moment, we are an indigenously owned Ghanaian oil and gas business that has overcome great odds. It is essential to emphasise the word indigenous so that our people see that locals can compete.
AfricaLive: Please tell readers a bit about the DNA of Freddie Jordan Oil Company and your motivation for starting the enterprise.
Frederick A.Sam: We began operations with the knowledge that oil and gas was an area with so many opportunities. We were fortunate to be mentored by people who had a lot of experience in the sector, and before long; we got started in our journey. It was important to take advantage of the fact that the oil and gas industry in Ghana was quite young at the time, and we executed well.
Jordan K. Mathia: Our company began at a time when the industry was in its infancy, and the Ghanaian government wanted to increase the stake owned by local players. Our local content policy made it possible for local companies to have a stake in the industry. Indigenous players were encouraged to link up with experienced companies to build synergies that would help us learn the ropes.
AfricaLive: In your opinion, how can the relationship between the private and public sector be enhanced?
Frederick A.Sam: The relationship should always be strong and should be centred on formulating the right formula to create a win-win situation for both sectors. The way forward must be continuous engagement so that we can form relationships that push us to become a better industry.
Jordan K. Mathia: There must be continuity when it comes to engagements between the private and public sectors. Strong synergies with the public sector are vital. If the relationship between the private and public sector is strained, it leaves a gap that creates problems for the whole industry. Such a gap would put the country in a vulnerable position, and we won’t be able to benefit from the riches that lie beneath our soil.
AfricaLive: What are your ambitions, both in the short term and long term, when it comes to trading internationally?
Frederick A.Sam: In the mid to long term, we are looking to be an international player in the oil and gas sector. We are ready to go for any opportunities we identify in other African countries. The ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement will help us scale the business to other countries in the region and beyond. Our success will heavily hinge on the way the AfCFTA agreement is enforced and managed. Signing a historic deal like that is big, but it will be useless if there will be a lot of red tape and efficiency problems.
Our international exploits will not just be limited to the African continent. As we speak, we are looking to take advantage of the oil finds in Guyana. We are deeply engaged with the Guyanese government and are involved in the tendering process. Our foray into Guyana shows that we are not afraid to venture out and grow. If the AfCFTA agreement is executed well, we will be able to venture far and wide all over the continent of Africa. We have made contact with oil and gas players in Egypt and even in Nigeria, so our Africa agenda is well on course.
Jordan K. Mathia: Historically, there has been a lot of resistance and barriers when it came to intra-African trade and empowerment. Whenever Africans have tried to create synergies that genuinely empower us, foreign powers work to sabotage it. Not to sound too political, but our long-term plans are always affected by negative outside influencers who believe they should dictate the future of this continent.
A prime example is the ECO currency which was developed for the West African bloc to enhance trade. The ECO dream is being derailed by foreign interference, and that is my fear when it comes to the AfCFTA agreement. Though there is a lot of sabotage and underhandedness, we have to move forward and set our agenda despite the resistance. No one will develop this continent for us, so we must be ready to fight and defeat any agendas that come up to stunt our progress.
AfricaLive: How are you embracing the latest trends in your industry and fostering a culture of innovation in your agenda?
Frederick A.Sam: Embracing and profiting from the latest trends must start with building credibility. We are a very upright organisation that subscribes to international laws. Our exposure around the world makes us understand the latest trends better in times of how they came to be and what the future might hold in store. Jordan’s twenty-five years of experience in the Norwegian industry is a great asset for us as we tool up for the future.
Jordan K. Mathia: We look to align with companies that are embracing the latest technologies. Our innovation agenda involves putting in the time to learn from the best and implement the knowledge to suit us. We are aware that we are operating in a very nascent industry, and we are very open to information or knowledge that can move us to the next level. Our focus is not on trying to reinvent the wheel but to keep the wheel moving forward by learning and educating our people.
AfricaLive: What do you consider to be the primary opportunities and threats facing your sector?
Frederick A.Sam: Operating in this part of the world is not easy. Financing is difficult to come by, and some of our people are not empowered enough to see the benefit of indigenous businesses like us. The opportunities are numerous though, and we are prepared to weather and storm to take advantage of them.
Jordan K. Mathia:Our opportunities lie in our readiness. Success at the moment heavily depends on oil prices and the effects of the pandemic. Going into the future though we are looking to see recovered economies and more favourable oil prices. We also have the opportunity to link up with partners soon whom we can work together with to help regulate oil prices. Streamlining our processes and managing our costs is also a high priority for us. Our moves from now on will focus on readiness for any adverse conditions that may arise.
AfricaLive: What main issue do you believe Ghana’s leaders must unite together on for the good of the industry & country?
Frederick A.Sam: There must be a mindset change and a focus on doing things differently. We must make this industry resilient enough to handle shocks like the one we are experiencing at the moment. Their focus must be on how to enhance the industry by making it more efficient and robust.
Jordan K. Mathia: I would urge them to unite. So much of our fortunes depend on our ability to unite around ideas and issues that matter to us. Partisanship must be shelved in favour of our national issues.
AfricaLive: What is your outlook for the next decade?
Frederick A.Sam: In the next ten years, we want to achieve global gas player status.
Jordan K. Mathia: We want to be big marginal field operators that stand out in the region, and then make a name for ourselves internationally.