An Exploration of Accountability Issues in Managing Oil and Gas Revenues in Ghana

  • Emmanuel Tetteh Asare

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This study investigates accountability and transparency issues in the management of oil andgas (O&G) revenues in Ghana through public discourse. It establishes the factors thatinfluence accountability and investigates how accountability is discharged amongststakeholders in the O&G industry in Ghana, with respect to contemporary accountabilitytheories.The thesis develops a contextualised analytical framework drawing on Dhanani andConnolly’s (2012), and Gray et al.’s (1996) conceptualisations of accountability, in additionto other contemporary accountability concepts, mirrored through the ethical variant ofstakeholder theory to classify, analyse and interpret the issues of transparency andaccountability in revenue management in the O&G industry in Ghana. It uses this frameworkto analyse and interpret questionnaires and interviews of stakeholders in the O&G industry inGhana; these include the government, civil society groups and upstream oil companies.The thesis establishes that the accountability relationships (Strategic, financial, fiduciary andprocedural) between accountees and accountors in the O&G industry in Ghana arehierarchical, bureaucratic and fussy, making the discharge of accountability unintelligent,ineffective and vulgate and only routinely given for cosmetic purposes. Consequently, theaccountors in the O&G industry in Ghana employ the positive variant of the stakeholdertheory, motivated by legitimisation practices to regularise their activities, contrary to theexpected ethical variant of the theory. The outcome reflects the practices of for-profitorganisationssuch as upstream O&G companies, but conflicts with the government’sfiduciary responsibilities towards citizens and the espoused communal values of the legal andregulatory framework of the industry. Current perspectives on positive stakeholder andlegitimacy theory therefore appear to explain existing stakeholder relationships and howaccountability is discharged in the O&G industry in Ghana.The thesis contributes to the public accountability and transparency literature in a number ofways: First, the study presents an empirical basis to advance discourse about accountabilityand transparency in natural resource management in developing countries, by developing acontextualised theoretical and analytical framework drawing on Dhanani and Connolly’s(2012) and Gray et al’s (1996) accountability concepts, and using the ethical stakeholdertheory as a lens for interpretation. Second, it provides an empirical basis for rethinking thehierarchical managerialist approach to accountability suggested by the positive variant of thestakeholder theory and its legitimisation mechanisms between accountees and the accountorsin the O&G industry in Ghana, and suggests the adoption of the ethical variant of thestakeholder theory with its moral imperatives. Third, the study provides significant insightinto governance issues in Sub-Saharan Africa that could inform policy formulation for theregion by international bodies, including the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD), by critically reviewing accountability and transparency issues in theoil sectors in Angola, Nigeria and the DRC and juxtaposing this evidence with empiricalfindings for Ghana. Finally, it advances understanding of the public accountability practicesand transparency issues in the O&G industry in Ghana, while pointing out significantgovernance implications for policy-makers, civil society and advocacy groups, think-tanks,the O&G companies and academics.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorTheresa Dunne (Supervisor) & Bruce Burton (Supervisor)


    • Accountability
    • Ethical Stakeholder Theory
    • Ghana
    • Oil and Gas

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