The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is to establish a subsidiary limited liability company that will see to the handling of Ghana?s gas infrastructure among others, an official of the Corporation has told BusinessWeek.
This is GNPC?s intended way of promoting the utilization and commercialization of gas and it follows recent criticisms from leading figures that the country lacks fundamental plans for the development and utilization of gas, especially the one expected from the Jubilee field.
The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Ishack Diwan, recently told newsmen in Accra that the development of infrastructure for the utilization of associated gas from the Jubilee oil field is being hampered by the lack of a gas pipeline development plan.
According to him, the government does not appear to have a plan for laying pipelines to convey the gas from the offshore location of FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to land, which is a contributing factor to the delay in the development of the gas infrastructure and not the lack of investment capital as the public may be made to believe.
When established, the entity will be in charge of everything gas, including activities related to the 50 to 60 kilometre gas pipeline, the gas processing plant to be sited at Bonyere, the processing of dry gas into power generation, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic purposes.
According to the BusinessWeek source, the board of the corporation has already given approval to the plan and it is expected that evidence of this will show before the end of the year.
Speaking at the just-ended Policy Fair in Accra, the Board Chairman of GNPC, Ato Ahwoi, confirmed this, saying the move is intended to create more jobs locally while enabling Ghanaians to physically enjoy some of the benefits of the oil discovery.
?This is what will bring money, employment and industrialization,? he stated.
He was of the view that the country must not bank all its hope on the oil but must take advantage of other areas related to the commodity.
?There are enough opportunities in the gas sector. Let us start thinking big,? he stated, while assuring that the process will take about 18 months to complete.
Highlighting the utilization of gas and its benefits for Ghanaians, the gas infrastructure project coordinator at the GNPC, Victor Sunu-Attah, said generally there are significant challenges that come with the development of gas for which reason any serious government which wants to develop gas must show commitment towards it.
He said there are three fundamental ways of dealing with gas in its raw form; either it is injected back into the earth, flared or refined for the market.
?We need to develop an infrastructure to enable us to send the product to the market,? he stated.
According to him, there must be mechanisms to enable Ghana to generate power from gas, saying energy from gas is far better than hydro energy which is what Ghana is currently using.
He noted that about 60% of Ghanaians are into agriculture and that it is also important that the country looks at manufacturing fertilizer from gas to meet the demands of the market.
He was optimistic that gas from the Jubilee field, when well processed, can sustain Ghanaians and also for export.
A businessman and an industrialist, Goosie Tanoh, stressed the need for Ghana to abandon the policy of gas flaring and put its gas into god use.
He said if Ghana wants to achieve its power generation target of producing about 5000 megawatts of power by 2015 then it must turn to gas at the earliest possible time.
?Gas is an essential component that will enable the country to reach the 5000 megawatts target. We need to have clarity of the institutional system we want to put in place and clarity in institutional delivery,? he stated.
Tanoh, said ?Ghana doesn?t have the money to do this gas business; we need to invite the private sector to the business through Investor Private Partnership (IPP). We must also create institutions that can go outside Ghana and search for investors.?
?Nigeria flares about 14,000 cubic of gas a year. That?s a waste of resources. We must learn from Nigeria and avoid their mistakes. Let us put a lot of laws and institutional mechanisms in place. We need to stop talking and start acting. Let us not follow the mistakes of those who sought for oil and neglected the gas sector,? Tanoh concluded.