This study investigated the benefits and challenges associated with oil and gas exploitation from the Ghanaian perspective. A case study design that embraced both quantitative and qualitative methodologies was adopted for the study. Communities close to the oil and gas production area (that is, the Jubilee Oil Field) were specifically targeted as the study population. The population covered three communities; 547,368 residents of Shama, Newtown and Takoradi in the Western region of Ghana of which a sample of 400 was accessed. Both probability and non-probability sampling frames guided the study. Questionnaire was the main tool for assessment of the perspectives of people in communities near the Jubilee Oil Field. Descriptive statistics, relative importance index and significance testing using one-sample t-test was applied for the analysis and discussion of the study results. The study identified five main environmental impacts of oil and gas exploitation in nearby communities; low fish catch, loss of jobs and livelihoods, increase in accommodation cost, environmental degradation or pollution and cultural change. Major benefits of oil and gas development were evident in activities such as the development of social amenities and appreciation of income levels for people living near oil and gas development sites. The research recommended the need to address the adverse effects of the oil and gas exploitation through the reinforcement of strict rules and regulations regarding oil and gas exploitation activities in Ghana.
Key words: Oil and gas, exploitation, benefits, challenges, impacts.