According to the ‘resource curse,’ countries with large endowments of natural resources perform worse than countries who are less endowed. So while Ghana’s recent oil discovery presents tremendous opportunities to assist in poverty alleviation, this so called curse has been unfortunately attributed to economic decline, democratic breakdown, environmental degradation, and civil unrest. Therefore this thesis seeks to evaluate Ghana’s preparedness in dealing with effects of new oil wealth and the impacts of oil exploitation on its environment and society. Interviews with members of civil society organisations, NGOs and government personnel revealed tremendous deficits and constraints in environmental protection, the rule of law, and political will; all of which will be further challenged by the onset of oil development in Ghana. Observations from interviewees, as well as the findings of contextual research provide the foundation for the goal of the research, which is to understand how prepared Ghana is to manage its future petroleum industry so that it encompasses environmental stewardship, economic development and social responsibility.