Cabinet, last week, approved the Gas Master Plan designed to usher Ghana into the production of indigenous gas, the Minister for Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has announced.
The Plan, he indicated, was a major boost for the petrochemical industry and would also transform the economy of Ghana, with the Western Region becoming the hub.
Mr. Buah disclosed this on Monday, at the opening of a new Western Regional Office for the Petroleum Commission, located at the Germ Kiss Estates at New Amanful, near Takoradi, off the Takoradi- Elubo highway.
He said the Gas Master Plan, was intended to guide the nascent gas industry from 2016 to 2040, on the projected gas demand, supply and the infrastructure requirements, hoping that this would be followed by a gas policy and an Act.
“We believe that we are on the right track using gas to power our thermal plants and ultimately create a petrochemical industry all of which to be centred in the Western Region.” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, he said, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill had been laid before Parliament.
Tracing some land marks so far in the petroleum sector, he said, the Western Region had become the centre of operations particularly with the Jubilee and TEN projects and the Off Cape Three Point (OCTP)/ENI project.
The OCTP project, he reported, was progressing steadily, with the construction of the Floating Production Storage Offshore (FPSO) facility ongoing in Singapore, while the sod cutting of Onshore Receiving Facility was a critical milestone for the gas development project.
Oil production from the project, he said, would start in 2017 and peak at about 40,000 barrels per day in 2019 while gas production was expected to start in 2018, with daily production of 170 million cubic feet.
According to Mr. Kofi-Buah, the gas from the OCTP project was expected to support 1,000 Megawatts (MW) of domestic power generation, approximately 40 per cent of the currently installed generation capacity, stressing “these will transform our economy and have the potential of making the petroleum sector the number one contributor to Ghana’s GDP.”
Additionally, he hoped that the work done by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) in the Volta basin would add a new frontier to Ghana’s petroleum exploration efforts as the corporation was leading seismic data collection in the basin, gifted with significant hydrocarbon reserves.
Mr. Buah said many international oil and service companies, like ENI, Expro, Schlumberger and Halliburton had relocated their regional offices to Ghana while the various infrastructure and gas related projects in the Western Region being part of the vision of the government to become the hub of petroleum activities in West Africa.
He said: “It is without doubt that the projects including the Atuabo Gas Project, Sanzule Onshore Receiving Facility, Lonrho Oil and Gas Free Port at Atuabo, the Liquid Gas Export Facility at Bonyere and Domunli and the Western Corridor Road will transform the Western Region and ultimately change the lives of the people of the region in particular and Ghanaians in general.”
Mr. Kofi-Buah said that significant progress had been made in ensuring Ghanaian participation in the industry, adding that over 238 indigenous companies had registered with the Commission to provide various goods and services in the industry, with about 64 Ghanaian companies also forming joint ventures with foreign companies for technology and skill transfer to Ghanaians, running over $1.2 billion of contracts.
“Two major Operators- Tullow Oil Ghana and ENI Ghana increased significantly the value contracts awarded to indigenous Ghanaian companies between 2015 and 2016. Tullow increased contract awards to indigenous companies from $162 million (over 50 per cent increase) and ENI has also awarded $750 million contract to Ghanaian companies since the commencement of the OCTP project.” he added.
The Minister, however expressed concern about the persistent encroachment on the safety zones around the petroleum installation, reporting that in 2015 alone the Commission recorded 595 incursion in the established zones, thereby posing serous risks to the fishermen, the offshore installations and the workers.
He therefore, appealed to the Commission and the industry to helps address these challenges.
From Clement Adzei Boye, New Amanful