The Helmet Feeds Stay updated with every news article on your favorite constrcution news site. Ghana: Atuabo Gas Plant almost ready Gas plant

President John Mahama has said the coming on stream of the Atuabo gas project will be a “game changer” in Ghana’s development agenda.

The president who toured the plant site at Atuabo in the Western region on Tuesday, said the project will help “macroeconomic stability in terms of reducing the pressure on our foreign exchange reserves.

It would save us almost half a billion dollars a year in light crude purchases, and another billion dollars in foreign exchange savings for the purchase of light crude oil, and that is because the VRA will be able to purchase the gas in Cedis."

The project which is believed to be 99.87% will be producing four different core products.

This includes 107 million standard cubic feet of lean gas per day, 500 tonnes of LPG a day, 80 tonnes of pentane and 45 tons of condensates per day.

According to Mr Mahama, the gas project will facilitate his vision of an increased generation capacity of 5000 MW of power and positioning Ghana as a self-sufficient energy producer and net exporter to other countries.

“The important thing about this gas is that it allows us to have energy security in terms of putting in more thermal production, and it fits our programme of turning Ghana into the energy hub of West Africa.

"All the companies that we have signed Memorandum of Understandings with for installation of IPP thermal plants will feel secure to go ahead because they know that by the time they finish their thermal projects, gas will be available to power those projects” he stated.


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]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:58:18 -0500 Ghana: 50 benefit from Tullow Scholarship scheme Tullow Scholarship beneficiaries

Mr Charles Darku, General Manager of Tullow Ghana Limited (TGL), a leading independent oil & gas, exploration and production group, has stated that the investment in the Education sector through the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme (TGSS) is designed to distribute some of the benefits from the oil resources through a competitive selection process to positively impact as many Ghanaian households as possible.

“Tullow’s aim of bringing long lasting sustainable growth to the oil and gas sector and the Ghanaian economy as a whole remains unchanged”, he said.

Mr Darku was speaking at an event in Accra last Friday night to send off beneficiaries of the 2014/2015 Tullow Scholarship Scheme.

The beneficiaries would study at the post-graduate level in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The courses of study include Water and Environmental engineering, Marine Spatial Planning, Bio-technology and Business Enterprise, Journalism, Media and Communication, Law and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The send off event was attended by forty-eight beneficiaries of the scheme and their families, the Minister of Energy & Petroleum, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, the acting C.E.O of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Vice-President of the Western region House of Chiefs. Others were representatives of the Petroleum Commission, the British Council of Ghana and senior managers of TGL.

“In 2012 when this scheme was launched after initially piloting with 24 Ghanaians drawn from the public sector, we set out to support post-graduate studies relevant to the oil and gas industry as well as other sectors that contribute to economic diversification. This, in my opinion is largely being achieved in many ways, particularly through the contribution of Tullow to the value supply chain sector of the country. I am also happy to note that Ghana remains the largest beneficiary of the scheme which is run out of nine countries”, the General Manager said.

On the future of TGSS, he said that in response to feedback received from some major stakeholders of the scheme, new programs at the pre-tertiary and tertiary levels will be introduced from the next academic year to broaden the scope and reach of the scheme, and thereby further enhance its benefit to the country.

The Minister of Energy & Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah who was the Guest of Honour, commended Tullow for instituting the scheme and called on other companies in the Energy and Petroleum sector to emulate the laudable initiative.

“Four years into the role out of the TGSS, I can proudly say that government institutions that have benefited from it are better off today as a result of the knowledge and expertise that alumni of the program have brought to bear in our Ministries.

“My wish as a member of Governmentis to see a lot more oil companies committing equal resources towards developing the knowledge base of the industry, even if just at the local level”, the Minister said.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Charles Aheto-Tsegah, the Minister for Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman added her voice to the commendation of Tullow for not only instituting the scheme, but also sustaining and maintaining its quality.

Ahead of the event, Mr Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive of Tullow Oil plc commented: “The Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme, now in its fourth year, is helping to create a legacy of academic and technical expertise, supporting students to gain employment and bring their enhanced capacity to their countries’ Oil & Gas industry. The scheme aims to address industry skills gaps and national capacity development requirements, and demonstrates our commitment to the countries where we operate.”

Mr Godfried Boakye, Acting Director of British Council, managers of the TGSS, said his outfit received a total of 5,501 written applications nationwide, out of which 595 applicants were invited for aptitude tests, group assessments and presentations in Accra, Takoradi & Kumasi.

He said a final selection of 48 scholars was made, which included 10 from western region and seven from various state ministries/agencies.

Tullow also fulfilled their commitment to the memory of Late President John Evans Atta-Mills by awarding the top 2 graduates from the Ghana School of Law with a scholarship to study at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science, the late President’s Alma Mata.

“As an organisation with over 40 years of experience in scholarship management in Ghana the British Council has remained true to its values of integrity, valuing people and professionalism in managing the recruitment and selection of candidates.

“We have followed meticulously the agreed criteria for selection to ensure that the most deserving candidates are successful. At each step of the way, the process has been objective, transparent, fair and robust”, Mr Boakye indicated.

Annually, the TGSS awards one hundred and ten (110) full scholarships to citizens of Ghana, Uganda, Gabon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, French Guiana and Bangladesh out of which fifty (50) are awarded to Ghanaians. About $2.7million is spent on the 50 beneficiaries each year. To date, one hundred and seventy-four (174) Ghanaians have benefitted from the scheme.


]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:25:17 -0500 Ghana: Tamale Airport Expansion and Upgrading project kicks-off President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday announced that Government would build three new airports to augment the existing ones and make air travel accessible to all Ghanaians.

The new airports, he said, would be sited at Ho, Bolgatanga, and Cape Coast.Tamale Airport

President Mahama said this when he broke the grounds for the commencement of work on the expansion project of the Tamale Airport into an international airport as part of his two-day official visit to the Northern Region.

Phase one of the expansion programme would include installation of Aeronautical Ground Lightening and would be able to accommodate Boeing 747 up to Boeing 800 series of aircraft.

The $100 million project would also extend and expand the runway up to 4,000 metres with additional aprons and perimeter road and security fence.

The programme was also attended by ministers of state, paramount chiefs from the region, members of Parliament and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

President Mahama said with globalisation it was expedient for Government to upgrade facilities at various airports to fall in tune with current international standards.

He said apart from the Tamale Airport, similar upgrading facilities would be provided at the Kumasi Airport in order to have three international airports, while the Takoradi and Wa airports would also be provided with permanent terminals.

President Mahama appealed to vegetable farmers to take advantage of the expansion programmes to step up vegetable production to feed international markets.

Mrs Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport, said Government would soon acquire a national airline that would reclaim the past glories of the performance of Ghana Airways.

She said Government was also carrying out expansion programmes at all the airports and airstrips in the country.

Mr Charles K. Asare, Acting Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited, said growth in the aviation industry had a correlation with economic development in terms job creation and market stability.

He said within the last past years, the aviation industry had increased by 25 per cent which had also increased airport tariffs for upgrading and construction of more airports in the country.

Mr Asare said major security measures were underway to take care of the traffic that would be experienced as a result of the expansion projects.

He said as part of those measures, CCTV cameras would be installed at the Kotoka International Airport and subsequently to all other airports in the country.

Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, Northern Regional Minister, gave the assurance that every community in the region would continue to receive its share of development projects in spite of the economic challenges Government was facing.

He commended President Mahama for fulfilling his campaign promises in the 2012 general election and appealed to the traditional authorities to provide the necessary support for the execution of development projects.


]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:12:29 -0500 Ghana: Upper West chiefs worried over sudden increase in mining activities The Upper West Regional House of Chiefs has expressed worry over the rising interest and the acquisition of mining concessions in the Upper West Region. According to the chiefs, most of these concessions were granted without the involvement and consultations of traditional authorities.

A statement from the Regional House of Chiefs pointed out that the situation is rapidly destroying their land, water, agriculture and sacred natural sites.effects of galamsey

It is also negatively impacting the lifestyle of youth in communities such as Charikpong and Danyorkura.

They note that most of these concessions were actually granted without the involvement and consultations of Traditional Authorities.

According to them, since the advent of reconnaissance, prospecting and exploration work by these large scale mining companies in the Upper West Region it has witnessed the highest incidence of illegal mining which is very fast destroying the land, water, agriculture, sacred natural sites and lifestyle of young boys and girls in communities such as Charikpong, Danyorkura and many more. Most of these communities have since not known peace with the increasing crime and deteriorating social cohesion.

Their Pledge

"We use the occasion to pledge our commitment to collaborate with the appropriate stakeholders to nip “galamsey” in the bud The operations of Azumah Resources Ltd since 2007, has been a source of worry to the people of the affected communities and their leadership, both traditional and formal".

The chiefs are therefore calling on the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines to as a matter of urgency, “place a moratorium on the operations of mining companies in the Upper West Region.”

]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:04:29 -0500 The audacious Ghanaian 5000MW dream versus realities of fuel availability Load shedding

That Ghana has been undergoing power rationing in recent times is not for want of generation capacity; the lack of stable power supply in the country is, in the main, a fuel supply issue.

And while President Mahama’s goal of achieving 5000megawatts of installed capacity by 2016 appears achievable, certainly not by the 2016 target though, the lack of adequate supply of fuel could render the many thermal power projects the nation is embarking on white elephants.

If government does not pay equal or a more serious attention to the fuel supply side of the electricity value chain, the country could have so much installed capacity and still grapple with stable power supply.

That is already the situation the country finds itself in and it could get worse as thermal generation, which relies on light crude oil or gas, takes centre stage in power generation.

Fact is, there is enough install capacity to ensure uninterrupted power supply, but for want of affordable fuel power has to be rationed every now and then across the country.

Sector managers say that the country has 2845megawatts of generation capacity while peak demand is around 2000megawatts. Ideally, therefore, Ghana should not be in a power crisis.

Out of the close to 3000megawatts, however, only about 1600megawatts is available due, principally, to the fuel supply challenge, minimally to maintenance and expansion issues.

As the Millennium Challenge Corporation readies its power sector support package, and as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank group agrees to support power generation, the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) argues that the idle installed capacity needs to be interrogated.

“This is because if we do not take into consideration how to make all the over 2840megawatts available how do we talk about bringing in new generation capacity?” asked Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, ACEP’s Executive Director.

Gas supply from Nigeria has particularly let the country down, and the West Africa Gas Pipeline has so far, fallen far short of what ECOWAS expected of it when it conceived the idea in 1982 – a key propeller of sub-regional integration.

At the best of times, even before the breakdown of the pipeline, WAPCO has provided only about 40% to 60% of the contractual volumes of over 120million standard cubic feet per day of gas.

For a whole year, from August 2012 to August 2013, the three countries –Ghana, Togo, and Benin – received no gas from the pipeline because it was damaged by a vessel in Togolese waters.

Supply resumed when the pipeline was fixed, but the quantity never went close to the 120million cubic feet per day contractual volume.

“Nigeria's commitment to the project is only to project influence,” Dr Kwabena Donkor, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, argues.

The electric power situation, he says, is a national security one and that Ghana should not continue to tie her national security to the availability of gas from Nigeria, a country grappling with an even worse power situation. Today, volumes supplied to Ghana have dropped to an all- time low, making it difficult for the solely gas-reliant Sunon Asogli power plant (200 megawatts) to stay on.

Indeed, the Shenzhen Energy Group, mother-company of Sunon Asogli, told the Energy Minister Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah upon his visit to China earlier in the year that but for the challenges with gas supply, they would have started the second phase of the project involving some 360 megawatts of power.

As the hydropower potential of the country is said to have effectively run out, there is an increasing emphasis on gas for power generation. According to the VRA, the country currently demands some 300 million cubic feet of gas per day.

The construction of infrastructure for gas from the country's own Jubilee oilfield, a maximum of 120 million standard cubic feet per day, has run far beyond its initial completion period and is not expected until the end of the year.

President Mahama believes though that Ghana Gas will be a significant source of fuel for the power sector. He called it a “game changer” upon a recent visit to the project site at Atuabo in the Western Region.

“It will save us almost half a billion dollars a year in light crude purchases, and another billion dollars in foreign exchange savings for the purchase of light crude oil; and that is because the VRA will be able to purchase the gas in cedis,” the President said.

According to power sector managers, however, significant as the Atuabo gas is, the 107 million standard cubic feet of gas per day expected from the project will not suffice for the increasing gas demand.

The managers are therefore agreed that other sources of gas have to be explored if the country is to have enough sufficient cheap fuel to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

The country has to decide now, according to Dr Kwabena Donkor, to get a regasification facility and import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to complement its expanding energy demand and treat gas from Nigeria only as a “bonus.”

“We must be thinking about our national security,” he said.

Projections by the VRA indicate that the country will require over 1000 standard cubic feet of gas per day by 2020, a strenuous efforts must be made to secure varied sources of the commodity.


]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:47:26 -0500 Ghana: President Mahama inaugurates electrification project in Kotingli electricity lines

President John Dramani Mahama yesterday announced that Ghana has the highest electricity accessibility in the West African Sub-Region.
He said although accessibility in Ghana is 76 per cent, the highest in West Africa, government would still pursue measures that would step up access to ensure the sustenance of small and medium scale enterprises.
President Mahama made this known during a symbolic inauguration of rural electrification project in Kotingli for 22 communities under the phase one of the Northern Region Rural Electrification Programme.
A total of 400 communities in the region would benefit from the first phase of the programme, while another 400 communities would enjoy similar services in the second phase.

President Mahama who is on a two- day official visit in the Northern Region inspected on- going affordable housing project at Lahagu near Tamale and would also cut the sod for expansion programme on the Tamale Airport to international standards.
He said the provision of electricity is not meant for providing lights alone but to boost business activities and enable many enterprising youth to establish businesses.
On the re-organisation of the Ghana Youth in employment programmes, he said it is being packaged for parliamentary approval after which it would be placed under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
He gave the assurance, after parliamentary approval, the Ministry would be empowered to roll out better employment programme for the youth of Ghana.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu Minister of Employment and Labour Relations urged the people to throw their support behind the government to provide them with basic social amenities that would uplift their living standards.
The Tamale Metropolitan Assembly in partnership with Tamale Community Cooperative credit Union provided the land with a commitment to provide access roads and services such as electricity.
The Population and Housing census which placed the region as 7.7 also indicates that the social housing project in Tamale would shelter 1,500 persons and create jobs for about 600 persons.

Source: GNA

]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:36:35 -0500 Petra makes over USD 10m diamond find diamonds

PETRA Diamonds has recovered a 232.08-carat white diamond at its Cullinan mine in South Africa, which three analysts said could fetch between $10m and $16m.

Shares in the diamond miner climbed as much as 6.5% in early Tuesday trading, the biggest rise on Britain’s FTSE-250 Midcap Index.

The find is Petra’s largest of a white diamond since it unearthed the 507-carat Cullinan Heritage diamond in 2009 from the same mine, the source of many large diamonds.

That rough diamond — whose clarity grade was assigned as "flawless" — fetched a record price of $35.3m.

"We estimate a sales price in the order of $10m to $15m, given Gem Diamonds’ recent sale of Type II white at about $70,000 per carat and assuming some losses for cutting/polishing," Numis Securities analysts said in a note.

The diamond miner, with five producing mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, said it expected the diamond, which has no measurable nitrogen impurities, to be sold in October-December, the second quarter of its financial year.

The Cullinan mine boasts the largest rough gem diamond ever recovered — the 1905 Cullinan Diamond, which was cut into two stones that are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels.

Petra bought the mine from Anglo American’s De Beers unit, the world’s biggest diamond producer by value.

The miner’s stock was up 6.1% to 187.6 pence at 7.30am GMT on the London Stock Exchange.


Source: Reuters/

]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:09:05 -0500 Mining giants appeal for international support against Ebola Ebola

TORONTO ( – A group of 11 miners operating in West Africa on Monday called on the international community to step up its effort to help combat the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region that had, to date, killed nearly 2 100 people, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The companies, including African Mining Services, ArcelorMittal, Aureus Mining, Dawnus Group, Golden Veroleum Liberia, Hummingbird Resources, Iamgold, London Mining, MonuRent, Newmont Mining and Randgold Resources, in a joint statement said they were concerned about the impact of the Ebola virus on affected countries’ economies and the wellbeing of their people, which was being compounded by subsequent decisions and actions that affected travel to and trade with West Africa.

“We … recognise that a larger coordinated global effort is required. The global community has a strong track record in responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. We need a similar strength of resolve to tackle an epidemic that has the potential to cause great harm to this region,” they stated.

The group urged the international community to pool its resources and lend support to help reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from having to deal with the epidemic, pointing to US President Barack Obama’s declaration on Sunday pledging US military support in the region, saying this was exactly the type of action that was required.

Britain on Monday also said it would send military and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to set up a treatment centre for Ebola victims.

Further, the group expressed its dismay that travel restrictions to the countries most impacted by the virus would only aggravate the growing humanitarian crisis.

“We are calling for the immediate opening of humanitarian and economic corridors to the affected countries and urge the international community to respect the [Economic Community Of West African States’] call to lift any travel bans in accordance with the WHO recommendation.

“Without the support of the international community, the situation for these economies, many of which are only beginning to return to stability after decades of civil war, will be even more catastrophic,” the companies said.

Despite Ebola being a horrific virus, it was avoidable and containable with the right understanding, precautions and processes in place.

“Our companies have made long-term commitments to these countries and their people and we intend to honour these commitments. We have strong ties to hundreds of local communities that depend on our operations. Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing where possible with normal operations, with the health and safety of our employees being the absolute priority at all times,” it said.

The group added that it was committed to support the organisations and selfless individuals working to contain the outbreak, as well as the governments concerned to bring the epidemic to an end.


]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:03:40 -0500,_Angola_and_Tanzania South African Sasol to expand into Ghana, Angola and Tanzania sasol station

Johannesburg - Sasol is eyeing potential expansion into Angola, Ghana and Tanzania but Mozambique remains its immediate focus in Africa, the South African petrochemicals company's chief executive said on Monday.

Sasol reported a 14 percent increase in full-year earnings on Monday, boosted by higher chemical prices and a weaker rand but still short of analysts' expectations.

Chief executive David Constable said in the results presentation that nine of the 17 largest gas discoveries in the last five years were in sub-Saharan Africa and Sasol saw huge hydrocarbon potential in the region.

Sasol is conducting a study to build a gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant in northern Mozambique with Italian oil and gas group Eni and Mozambique's national oil company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos.

“Our first priority is Mozambique,” Constable told Reuters in an interview.

Asked what countries Sasol would consider expanding into where it is currently not operating, he replied: “Angola, Ghana onshore and Tanzania, those types of countries is where we'll take a run.”

Tanzania has made big natural gas discoveries off its southern coast and hopes to use its deposits to end chronic energy shortages.

As of April, the government said Tanzania's natural gas discoveries stood at 46.7 trillion cubic feet.

Constable said Sasol could go into producing assets, into existing blocks as a non-operator, or take part in oil or gas exploration in these countries.

Sasol said the economic outlook in its domestic South African base “remains challenging as the country is still recovering from a five-month long strike in the platinum sector, with business and consumer confidence levels remaining low.”

It also said that rand exchange rate and oil price assumptions, the biggest external factors impacting the company's margins, could be volatile because of increased geopolitical tensions and the likelihood of rising interest rates in the world's top economies.

Diluted headline earnings per share rose to 59.64 cents from 52.53 cents the previous year, below a Reuters forecast of 63.4 cents, based on a poll of 11 analysts.

It still expected a solid production performance for the next financial year and saw capital expenditure of 50 billion rand for 2015 and 65 billion rand for 2016.

The group also said it had obtained all the air, water and wetlands permits for its mega-projects in the southern US state of Louisiana, an ethane cracker and derivatives plant and an integrated gas-to-liquids and chemicals facility, which are expected to cost around $16 to $21 billion (R226 billion) to build between them.

“We are making good progress on the financing,” Sasol said.

On the ethane cracker, which is expected to cost $5 to $7 billion, Sasol said it expects to make a final investment decision this calendar year on the project.

A cracker takes ethane, a component of natural gas, and turns it into ethylene, which is used in the manufacture of plastic products.

Source: Reuters

]]>,_Angola_and_Tanzania Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:56:48 -0500 Ghana: Vivo Energy opens new Ashaiman service station Shell station

Vivo Energy Ghana, the company that distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants, as part of its retailer site expansion initiative, has inaugurated its new service station at Ashaiman.

The inauguration of the station brings to 138, the number of Shell Service Stations owned by Vivo Energy Ghana and the second station located in the centre of the Municipality, which serves as the hub of commercial activity with heavy vehicular movements.

Mr Kwame Ackah, Retail Manager of Vivo Energy Ghana, said the company is fully committed to growing and improving its businesses in Africa by injecting new capital for investing in new service stations, facilities and constantly improving customer experience.

He said Vivo Energy has ambitious plans to grow business in Africa and built and rebranded more than 100 new service stations across Africa last year.

"Vivo Energy Ghana is here to offer customers the very best of Shell products and services, including supply reliability, technical expertise and unmatched customer service. In doing so, we are committed to achieve and maintain the highest Health, Safety, Security and Environment standards and to deliver Shell's high quality fuels and lubricants in an environmentally and socially responsible manner," he said.

Mr Abraham Baidoo, Municipal Chief Executive, said the Shell brand is one of the best recognised in the world and expressed joy over the siting of the brand in the centre of town.

He also applauded Shell for employing local folks to operate the service station and advised the company to maintain the industry standards.

Shell-branded souvenirs such as T-shirts and air fresheners were distributed to invited guests including members of the commercial transport unions who graced the occasion and showed a high level of customer satisfaction about Shell products.

All motorists who purchased products were also given free gifts on the day of the inauguration.

Source: GNA/

]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:50:33 -0500 Ghana: Kosmos Energy committed to Ghanaian Success A release signed by Mr George Sarpong, Director of Corporate Affairs for Kosmos Energy and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said by listening to the advice and insights of respected business leaders, Kosmos is preparing to play a more active role in helping Ghana reach its full potential.
According to the statement, creating the independent Advisory Council confirms Kosmos’ long-term commitment to Ghana and supports its business interests for the benefit of both Ghanaian society and Kosmos’ shareholders.
Members of the advisory council include Mr Philippe Ayivor, a retired executive of The Coca-Cola Company; Mr Felix Addo, Country Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ghana; Mr Seth Kwasi Dei, Founder of Leasafric and Blue Skies Ghana Limited; and Mr Ishmael E. Yamson, non-executive Chairman of Unilever Ghana Limited and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited, and former Chairman of Ghana Investments Promotion Centre (GIPC).
Commenting on the formation of the Advisory Council, Mr Ken Keag, Vice President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy Ghana, said: “We are pleased to have such respected business leaders join our council of advisors. Their individual and collective knowledge and experience will add great strategic insight to Kosmos’ work in Ghana as we celebrate 10 years of success and look toward to an even brighter future.”
Mr Ayivor in his remarks, said “International companies working in Ghana have a role to play in helping the country reach its full potential. Kosmos believes in our future and recognizes that its success is tied to Ghana’s overall prosperity. I am pleased to be a part of their Advisory Council.”
Mr Addo said, “It is reassuring to see a global SEC registrant reaffirm its commitment to Ghana and devote significant resources to creating and realizing a shared agenda that is mutually beneficial to both company and country.”
For his part, Mr Kwasi Dei said, “Job creation and broad economic development are the best legacies that a company can give its host country. After 10 years of investment in Ghana, Kosmos continues to increase its level of engagement and wants to be a part of creating our country’s future. With my business background and expertise, I can support their efforts.”
And according to Mr Yamson, “Kosmos has a healthy and realistic understanding that its continued success is linked to the promise of Ghana’s future. The creation of an independent Advisory Council is a strong signal that Kosmos takes this matter seriously and wants to better understand local perspectives, challenges, and opportunities.”
Kosmos Energy is a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production company focused on frontier and emerging areas along the Atlantic Margin.
Its assets include existing production and other major development projects offshore Ghana, as well as exploration licenses with significant hydrocarbon potential offshore Ireland, Mauritania, Morocco (including Western Sahara), and Suriname.

Source: GNA/

]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:41:03 -0500 Ghana: ASN Properties set to make home ownership less burdensome Having acquired licence to operate non-banking financial services, home-builder ASN Properties says it intends to ease the burden of potential home-owners by underwriting its own mortgages at the much cheaper interest rate of 12% to 15% with thirty-year tenure.ASN
With interest rates on mortgages imitating the unbearably high rates of over 30% in the country generally, the company believes it is making it possible for the average middle-income earner to own a home.
The subsidiary to offer the mortgage, ASN Financial Services Limited, has started business in earnest and is hoping to attract Ghanaians who live and work here, and not necessarily those living abroad who tend to be the usual target of the market.
“Because we are the vendors of these properties, our margins have already been factored into the pricing — therefore our interest rate of 12% to 15% is a plus to sustain the currency, making it very affordable to the Ghanaian middle-class. We have 200 two-bedroom and 200 three-bedroom houses to start with,” CEO of green, Prince Yaw Sarpong, told the B&FT.
“In this real-estate business, people make up to 200% from the price on the table before they send it to the housing companies,” he said.
“So once you are making that margin, and you are the vendor and the financier, you can offer good rates to the prospective buyer. If these real-estate companies had their own way to go to the market and raise bonds, and have private equity firms or hedge-fund companies coming to their aid, they would not go to these financiers.
Because if they have funds for 15 years they will build the house for US$100,000, put a margin of 20% or 30% on it and give it to the client at an interest rate of about 10% or 15%. But in the prevailing circumstances, there is a limit to what the real-estate company can do and there is a limit to what the financier also can do. In our case, we have the two coming together.”
Asked why real-estate companies charge so much for their houses, Mr. Sarpong blamed the lack of government support in the provision of infrastructure, among other things, for the situation.
“Some people will argue that now you can build a house for US$50,000. But government is not providing any infrastructure. If you go to our site, electricity, water, roads, and drainage were all done by us. You cannot build such infrastructure and then charge rates that are not helpful to your business.”
With income levels being generally low in the country, many Ghanaians are incapable of affording mortgages, especially when interest rates on them are so high.
According to Asare Akuffo and HFC Bank, only 5-8% of Ghanaians can afford a house from their own resources; about 60% need financial assistance; 35% are not capable of owning or building a house in their lifetime.
Between 12% and 15% comprising mainly top civil servants and staff of financial institutions have access to mortgage loans. For this reason, about 60% of the market participants are resident non-Ghanaians or non-resident Ghanaians.
“What ASN is trying to do is to build our own houses and underwrite this by own mortgage institution to minimise the cost of housing for Ghanaians, and this is going to change a lot of the story,” Mr. Sarpong said.
“This licence is going to help us meet the Ghanaian at a point where most of the real-estate firms cannot.
The problem for most of the real-estate companies is underwriting, but we can raise a bond on the back of this licence. It becomes an asset base of our institution for 30 years.
We can raise as many bonds as possible to fund what we are doing, thereby not keeping the burden on the client of raising upfront cash. This licence enables us to go to other financiers to raise funds to build.”

Source: B&FT/

]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:30:51 -0500 Zimbabwe commences USD 533m 300MW expansion of Kariba Dam The Karibaa Dam in Zimbabwe

HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Thursday officiated the expansion of the country's second largest power station, a massive hydro-power project partially funded by China and undertaken by a leading Chinese construction company.

The expansion of Kariba South Power Station will raise Zimbabwe's power generating capacity by a quarter in more than three years, officials said, moving a step closer to end the country's chronic power shortages.

The Chinese contractor, Sino-Hydro Corporation Limited, will add two power generating units, each providing 150 megawatts of electricity a year, to the hydro-station which runs six 125- megawatt generating units.

The power station, straddling at the mid-section of the Zambezi River on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, was built by the Italians in the 1950s, two decades before the independence.

The project will cost 533 million U.S. dollars, about 319 million U.S. dollars of which is covered by a preferential buyer's credit, or a soft loan, offered by the Export and Import Bank of China, officials say.

Zimbabwe, relying mainly on Kariba South and Hwange Thermal Power Station, produces about 1,400 megawatts of electricity a year, a far cry from the annual demand of 2,400 megawatts.President Robert Mugabe Launching the Project

Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire said the expansion of the power station is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and will significantly reduce "load-shedding" which has become the order of the day in power-thirsty Zimbabwe.

"Power projects are an important part of our goal towards an empowered society, and a growing economy," Mugabe said. "Adequate power supply infrastructure, not only helps attract investors to our country, but in bringing electricity to rural areas, which improves the quality of life of our rural people."

Mugabe said the hydro-power station expansion has been on the state power company's drawing board "for a very long time", but its coming to fruition has been hampered by many challenges.

"We are aware that hydro-power generation projects are costly to undertake. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Chinese government for extending the loan," he added.

Sino-Hydro, a Chinese state firm which had 524 hydro-power contracts in 74 countries around the globe, is also awarded with the 1.3-billion-U.S.-dollar project to expand the power generating capacity of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

President Robert Mugabe

"The project entails the construction of an additional two 150MW power generating units, to the current six 125MW generating units. This increases the total capacity at Marina Hydro Power Station from 750MW to 1050MW. This additional capacity will serve the peak demand, significantly reducing the load shedding that we are currently experiencing," said President Mugabe

The launch of the project came on toe of Mugabe's state visit to China from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28, during which a series of contracts have been signed, including a government grant of 20 million U.S. dollars and a loan of 218 million U.S. dollars to Zimbabwe's state telecoms company NetOne, according to Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin.

Lin again pledged China's support to Zimbabwe's economic recovery and efforts to improve people's livelihood, saying China is particularly ready to take part in the construction of Zimbabwe's special economic zones and industrial parks and lead the cooperation in infrastructure construction, mining, and manufacturing.

China has been Zimbabwe's top source of foreign direct investments. Last year, Chinese investment to Zimbabwe reached 603 million U.S. dollars, according to Chinese statistics, surpassing Chinese investment to any other African country.

]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 06:12:17 -0500 Ghana: IMANI Alert: Can the Tema Oil Refinery deliver today Franklin Cudjoe

The energy sector is undoubtedly the most essential sector if Ghana is to come out of its current economic atrophy.  President Mahama underscored this fact when he declared that the Atuabo Gas project is his view, is the game changer in Ghana’s energy mix and an attempt to resurrect the near moribund economy.  That the second Millennium Challenge Compact is dedicated to energy attest to the vision.

One essential player in the energy picture this sector is the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).  TOR was established by Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah with financial and technical support from Italian investors. TOR’s mandate at the onset was refining crude oil for Ghana and her neighbouring countries. TOR’s core business has over the years been broadened to include procurement, storage, refinery and distribution of crude oil. However many observers have argued that the ambitions of TOR whilst in keeping with a growing economy such as Ghana’s was not strategically anchored in a future vision for running it as a serious profitable business, hence its current near defunct and financially broke natural order.

We have seen successive governments design strategies some of which have involved large financial investments and bailouts of the institution-the result of which is the current recovery levy which became a public debate with various analyses emerging on how the country could generate value from such an economic venture. Such debates and discussions that did not bring closure to the TOR debacle, have resulted in the establishment of institutions such as Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BOST), Bulk Distribution Companies and Oil Marketing Companies with various responsibilities and duties being assigned to each of these institutions to ensure that the procurement, refinery, storage and distribution of petroleum products within the supply chain are comprehensive to prevent frequent shortages. Recent developments have prompted further discussions of the revival of TOR and how to make it an efficient economic entity. However the following factors must be considered prior to undertaking such investment.


The Tema Oil Refinery’s role in Ghana’s history has been a tumultuous one. Set up during Kwame Nkrumah’s regime as the Ghanaian Italian Petroleum Company (GHAIP), it is a facility fitted to refine light and sweet crude oil at the most reasonable price. For many years, this meant that the Tema Oil Refinery imported and refined crude oil from Nigeria, our closest oil blessed neighbour at the time. Over the last five years however, activity at the Oil Refinery has steadily come to a halt. It has become an inefficient facility due in part to delayed or unattended maintenance. With the discovery of substantial oil reserves (of up to 800 million barrels) off the Ghanaian coast in 2007, it was expected that the Tema Oil Refinery would play a key role in the new-born oil industry. However, for TOR to be a significant player it requires a total of USD 200 million, an amount it can only dream of at this stage. The facility itself has been a source of alleged massive corruption. Under the Kufuor administration it was a source of government debt of a disputed GHC 1.5 billion (the New Patriotic Party which was in power at the time has challenged this figure, stating instead that the debt totalled GHC 927 million.) This debt put the Ghana Commercial Bank, the main financiers of TOR on the verge of collapse. Even at its most efficient, the refinery can only cater for about 50% of the petroleum demand in Ghana.

The above situation led to a partial de-regulation of the downstream petroleum market through the introduction of Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) as earlier mentioned.
Some financial and media analysts have alleged that the challenges of TOR as evinced today are either self-afflicted and politically motivated, implying that there is some deliberate attempt by government and its acolytes in business to prevent the efficient operation of TOR so they can cash in on licensing BDCs and get kickbacks. For instance, it is alleged that Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, though a national institution, has refused to supply TOR with its share of oil as part of its carried interest in the jubilee fields. Assuming without admitting that that notion has merit, it is very important to situate the analysis within a very ‘sane’ economic perspective, for whether or not the petroleum sub-sector is highly privatised or government led, the inherent efficiencies and inefficiencies will be borne by the economy at large.

Economic and operational inefficiencies at TOR                            

It should be noted, that for any institution involved in the supply chain of petroleum products to resort to TOR for its refinery needs, it will consider some economic factors such as its ability to obtain in full with acceptable operational losses the quantity and quality of crude oil that it supplies TOR for refining. TOR must therefore demonstrate beyond any economic doubts, its economic and operational viability in this regard. The hard economic truth is that no ‘sane’ distributor in this country be it private or public (GNPC) will see an economically, operationally and competitively viable TOR and decide against the conventional economic wisdom of using some foreign refineries particularly when we are lifting crude oil from the shores of this country. Indeed the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, Mr Alex Mould has consistently made this fundamental point. Other players in the industry have equally held and still hold the view. It is not possible for all these individuals and institutions to defy financial and economic reasoning particularly when they will stand to gain from decreased lead times for supplies, and carriage costs if they refine their crude in Ghana. The fundamental losses of TOR will have to be addressed through a comprehensive business strategy which makes economic and financial sense in its addition to value of the economy. It must be operationally and financial profitable.
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy, an independent energy-focused research institution has also mentioned in a report that, TOR should be allowed to refine crude oil ONLY if it would sell at a cheaper price than what is currently being imported into the country.
Many observers and sector analysts have also suggested the privatisation of the institution or in partnership with private investors. Whichever way, the operational inefficiencies must be fixed before any further engagements on resuscitation.

Where can government focus its attention to create value in the sector?

A general overview of the business of government in the sector reveals key advantages that government can take to ensure that it creates value in the form of jobs (employment), and return on investments.
An increase in investments in GOIL (an OMC) for instance could be considered by government assuming it has the resources today to resuscitate TOR. After all GOIL controls 20% of the downstream market. We stand to get more value as the opportunity cost of such a decision will far exceed investments in TOR at the current prevailing conditions. Indeed GOIL for instance has demonstrated potential for long term sustainability and value addition to the economy, following its corporate rebranding and restructuring. Given governments share in the entity, further investments to ensure expansion of its operations, could give the company a better competitive edge over other OMC’s in the industry. Comparing the financial viability of GOIL to that of TOR reveals more. TOR has been reeling under heavy debt and operational difficulties, having lost about $63 million since July 2012, and resorting to a government bailout with close to GHS 1 billion from the financially sapped Ghana Commercial Bank-debt financier of TOR.

Earlier this year, President John Mahama stated in his State of the Nation address that TOR was close to signing a Joint Venture agreement with Petro Saudi International, in order to revamp the operations of the refinery. It is however hoped that this impending arrangement does not suffer the same fate as the $900 million in financing that TOR had supposedly secured from BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered. Interestingly, the people of Ghana continue to be taxed by government on loans contracted by TOR, imputed in the price of petroleum products, and also pay the salaries of its workers although the facility is not operating. This cannot be acceptable even under the most dirigiste of economies anywhere on the globe. So why should we accept this in Ghana?

It is quite suspicious that in the face  of all these facts and views from experts, there is the view that the government and some ‘cabals’ such as BDC’s and OMC’s are responsible for the non-functionality of TOR. Granted, the government cannot be exonerated from its role played in the current mishaps of TOR. Issues of ineffective deregulation of the petroleum sector, unnecessary assumption of subsidies which it cannot absorb and pay on time (a condition which is significantly affecting the smooth operations of BDC’s and OMC’s in the industry), and direct political influences have significantly affected the operations of TOR in the past. It in no way implies that the absence of these factors will change the fortunes of TOR overnight. The resolve which must be made is that, TOR is a business entity, and until we treat it as such, no business entity will want to transact business with it. 

]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:49:16 -0500 Ghana: Sekondi Residents kick against Coal Plant residents demonstrating

The government of Ghana’s idea to establish coal power plant in the country has received unwelcome reception, with a section of youth along the coastal belt describing the idea as detrimental to their environment and health.
“Already, as a country, we are unable to handle the harmful effects of mining, which is destroying our water bodies, farms, fishing and so on, thus there is no need to add another problem which comes in coal to it,’’ says KwekuAdjei, a youth in Shama district of the western region.
According to Adjei, the coal power plant would cause heath related problems such as anaemia, besides other problems including acid rain, water pollution and generally climate change.
He is of the view that government needs to find alternative measures which are environmentally friendly such as solar, and wind, given that these are abundant in Ghana throughout the year to produce energy.
At a youth forum and rally organised by Ghana-Reducing Our Carbon, (G-ROC), a climate change movement in Nkofueku a community in Sekondi-Takoradi, majority of the youth expressed dissatisfaction on the intention of the government to establish coal power plant citing that the governments needs to involve people in such decision making process due to its effects.
AbenaEssel, another youth, says having a coal plant establishment in the region will destroy most of the farming activities in the region such as fishing and crops farming which forms bulk of their livelihoods.
Coal power plant produce lots of nitrogen oxides. The health effects of nitrogen oxides exposure range from eye, nose and throat irritation at low levels of exposure to serious damage to the tissues of the upper respiratory tract, fluid build-up in the lungs and death at high exposure levels.
Among the array of air toxics emitted by coal plants, mercury is the pollutant of greatest concern. After mercury is released to the air, it is deposited in bodies of water where it is converted to an organic form that accumulates in fish tissues. Humans are exposed to mercury primarily through the consumption of contaminated fish. The neurotoxic effects are particularly threatening to fetal and child development. Fetal exposure via the placenta can cause mental retardation and brain damage, while continued exposure in early childhood can result in learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.
The acting queen mother of Shama Traditional Council, Nana AkosuaGyamfiaba II says the gas flaring at Aboadze is bringing forth diseases in the name of electricity provision, “let’s all stand together to fight against coal power plant establishment and other agents of climate change such as gas flaring’’.
Currently Ghana emits about 24 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year and developing a coal fired power station will certainly compromise the state of the environment as it spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“At each stage of its life cycle, coal pollutes the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land that we depend on,” Chibeze Ezekiel, the National Coordinator of G-ROC says.
“The mining and processing of coal displaces communities, destroys forests and generates hazardous waste’’.
“The transport of coal releases coal dust, which harms the health of nearby communities’’.
“The burning of coal in power plants pollutes our air and water with heavy metals, particulates and other toxins,” he emphasised.
Renewable energy such as solar, wind, as well as biogas is the right alternatives and there is the need for the government to channel available resources towards this area, Ezekiel emphasised.
The objectives of the youth forum and rally seeks to sensitise the youth in the community on climate change issues and how to can adapt, create more allies or support base of young people to collectively fight against climate change effects and raise young renewable energy advocacy champions.


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