The Helmet Feeds Stay updated with every news article on your favorite constrcution news site. Prospects and challenges of oil find in Ghana Ghana joined the legion of oil producing countries in 2010 as it marked the year, with commercial production of hydrocarbon resources.

Production of crude oil begun with 85,000 barrels a day at the Jubilee Field off the coast of Ghana as announced by Tullow Ghana Limited, one of the jubilee partners.

The Floating Production Storage and Offloading has the capacity of processing 120.000 barrels of oil and injecting more than 230.000 barrels of water and 160 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Danish International Development Agency Ghana Business Development Profile 2012 said the oil production stands at 105,000 barrels a day with the discovery of more wells offshore.

In 2011, the structure of the economy changed dramatically as a result of the commercial oil production as it witnessed a significant growth in the industrial sector from 5.6 per cent in 2010 to 36.2 per cent at the end of the year.

The 2012 budget statement stated that the three oil liftings in the past amounted to 2,980,720 barrels worth $337.3 million or GH₵ 506 million. Of that amount, $112 million was transferred to the Consolidation Account and $54.8 million went into the Stabilisation Account, and $14.4 million was put in the Heritage Fund.

In 2012, the oil and gas sector contributed 8.0 per cent to Gross Domestic Product. Oil production during the second quarter period of 2012 fell short of projected output. Since the start of production at the Jubilee Field, Ghana has produced more than 37 million barrels of oil.

Currently the commercialisation of the oil has generated about $ two billion.

To ensure whether the state’s resource is managed effectively, Ghana News Agency sought the views of stakeholders on their perspective of the commercialisation of the country’s oil find.


Mr Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, at a meet the press encounter, echoed the signing of the eight new petroleum agreements to ensure improved fiscal terms.

The agreements involved the exploration and production of oil and gas in commercial quantities offshore the Cape three Points.

He said the agreements have been ratified by parliament with improved fiscal terms. The State’s initial and participatory interest, Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) is to partner oil companies to operate a number of the blocks.

“The GNPC, in line with its strategy to acquire capacity to conduct petroleum operations on its own has taken commercial interest in a number of blocks and intends to operate these blocks with the contractor through the establishment of joint venture companies,” he added

He said the new agreements have paved the way for an aggressive exploratory campaign to be launched to add on new reserves in order to ensure that production profiles are maintained or increased.

However, civil society organisations including the African Centre for Energy Policy and some politicians have raised concerns that the agreements were rushed while less due diligence were done on the companies.


Ghana passed the local content bill in November 2013 to encourage local participation in the oil and gas industry.

Mr Buah said there has been significant improvement in the number of local participation in the award of contracts since the inception of oil production.

From 2008 and the first quarter of 2014, $ 584 million has been awarded to Ghanaian companies.

He said the country has earned in excess of $ 2.1 billion dollars from the commercial production and export of crude from 2011 to June 2014.

Ghana is currently implementing its local content law expected to ensure that the citizens benefit from foreign investments.

Mr Buah explained that as at December 2013, a total number of 6,929 personnel were employed in the petroleum upstream sector.

“This consisted of 5,589 Ghanaians and 1,340, expatriates representing approximately 80 per cent and 20 per cent respectively,” he said.

Speaking at the 3rd Local Content Workshop for small and medium scale enterprises on the topic: “Creating Opportunities for Local Content and Participation in the Upstream Petroleum Industry,” in Takoradi, Mr Buah said the country has a huge potential to grow and transform the economy through industrialisation, job creation and equitable distribution of wealth.

He said the passage of the Local Content Bill sought to increase utilisation of local expertise, goods and services and businesses along the petroleum value chain.

The Energy Minister noted that, the Commission has developed medium term strategies to ensure the smooth implementation of the law. This includes the development of guidelines, templates and monitoring and evaluation systems.

“The Commission regulates the engagement of expatriate workers by requiring all foreign companies in the sector to submit succession plans indicating the timelines and associated training requirements for Ghanaians to replace expatriate workers.”

He said there are about 152 Ghanaian companies out of 232 companies registered with the Petroleum Commission providing direct and indirect services to the upstream industry.

“Services provided range from catering, hospitality services, logistics supplies and freight forwarding, fabrication and waste management services.”

Mr Theophilus Ahwireng, Acting Chief Executive of the Commission, said his outfit has developed National Internship Programme, to provide graduates and technicians with the requisite skills and experience to address unemployment as well as bridge the skills gap in the oil sector.


Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Acting Dean, Central University Business School said the oil industry has lot of benefits in terms of financial and the opportunity to develop the country if the revenue is utilised productively.

“Many countries have used their natural resources revenue to develop their economy. For instance Trinidad and Tobago has moved from the third world to the first world working with its oil and gas resources effectively. Other countries are Norway, Brazil and Botswana which are into other sectors of natural resources,” he added.

Mr Mathew Kwaku Gyan, Manager of Jubilee Technical Training Centre said the new facility was opened on the Takoradi Polytechnic in Western Region in June 2013, funded by the Jubilee Partners.

He said the facility is the first vocational training centre in West Africa to offer NVQ level accredited courses for Instrumentation, Process, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

“I think were we are going is positive especially because of the creation of the local content to encourage local participation in the operations of the oil and gas industry. So far so good and we hope for the best,” he added.


Prof Appiah-Adu said there would be challenge in the industry if the proceeds earn from the oil resources go into the pocket of the few, which might end in competing interest and lead to conflict instead of developing the country.

The Fishermen Association in Sekondi in the Western Region have also expressed concern about the discovery of oil on their operations.

The members said they taught the discovery was going to improve their operations instead, it has affected their livelihoods.

They said the pre-mix oil is expensive and as such they are limited in their area of fishing.

“In fact our businesses have fallen, we are suffering, some of us find it difficult to pay our wards fees.”

The fishermen said global warming and activities of per trolling affect their work.


Source: GNA/vibeghana

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:35:41 -0500 Ghana positioning as energy hub of West Africa Lights out

Recent erratic power supply in Ghana has left citizens bewildered; most especially, businesses and industries that require constant and steady power supply to ensure continuous productivity.

With citizens’ complaints and frantic efforts by government to find a lasting solution to the energy situation in Ghana, President John Dramani Mahama’s declaration of a probable end to the continuous inconsistent power supply has been well received.

Most topical among his declarations was the ambitious quest for Ghana to become an energy hub in West Africa. This followed his inspection of the Atuabo Gas project which is expected to generate 550MW of power. This addition in power generation is in line with the vision of the government in positioning Ghana as a net exporter of energy.

The Ministry of Energy has revealed that Ghana’s current electricity demand stands at over 2000 megawatts (MW) and further estimates an annual capacity addition of about 200MW.

Over the years, Ghana has added about 1,000 megawatts (MW) of thermal generation capacity. As a result, Ghana’s current generation capacity of 2,125 MW is made up of about 50 percent hydro and 50 percent thermal plants. Nevertheless, inadequate and unreliable power supply remains a major constraint to future economic growth.

Current electricity demand in the country is said to be growing at about 10 percent per annum and Ghana is estimated to require additional capacity of about 200MW to match the increasing demand in the medium to long term.

Ghana’s total installed capacity is 2884.5MW but electricity supplied does not meet demand. This has resulted in the ongoing power rationing.


The Power Problem

Databank Financial Services research revealed that the power cuts in the country, compelled companies to incur unplanned operating costs of about $62 million per month or $744 million per annum due to the use of privately acquired generators.

Though the commissioning of the Bui Hydro dam, Ghana’s second largest hydro plant, by President Mahama, was believed to have set the country on its way to becoming a major producer of power in West Africa. The dam is currently producing 90MW of electricity despite its installed capacity of 400MW.

Ghana’s power sector is faced with the problem of inability of installed plants to operate at full capacity. This is due mainly to the limitations in fuel supply owing to rising fuel prices and uncertainty in rainfall and water inflows into the hydroelectric power facilities.


Atuabo Gas: Hope for Ghana?

“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 Independent Power Producers (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”.

These were the words of President John Dramani Mahama when he visited the Atuabo gas project in the Western Region of the country.

According to him, the project, which is 99.8 percent complete, would be a game changer for the struggling Ghanaian economy, but most especially, positioning Ghana to be a net exporter of energy.

President Mahama believes that when completed, the Atuabo Gas project would drastically reduce the pressure on Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves.

He revealed that with the coming on board of the Gas plant, Ghana would save 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 [Volta River Authority] will be able to purchase the gas in Cedis.

“The multiplier effect of [gas] project will be enormous within our economy”, he added.


Ghana as energy hub in West Africa

The gas project when it comes on stream, will produce 107 million standard cubic feet of lean gas, 500 tonnes of LPG, 80 tonnes of pentane and 45 tons of condensates daily.

According to information on united world Ghana, government’s plans to build up the energy industry are still developing, but many aspects of it are already clear. The country’s electricity generating capacity of 2026 megawatts is targeted to be raised to 5000 megawatts by 2015.

The energy ministry is also studying the possibility of building up a refining and petrochemical industry, though the government is very much aware of what must be done before that process can start.

Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum explains the idea better; “We are building capacity in different sectors. We need assistance to partner with our educational institutions, improve infrastructure and improve the training of more petrochemical engineers and more people to study the oil and gas industry. We need to train more geologists and economists and legal people in the industry. We also need the capacity to strengthen our institutions.”

The information further revealed that the project to extend Ghana and West Africa’s power grid is already underway. Currently 67 percent of Ghana’s residents have access to electricity, and the network is being enlarged, with the goal of reaching 100 percent by 2020.

Power plants are being planned and built, with one at Sunon Asogli recently completed, fueled from a gas line connecting Nigeria’s oil fields to the new generating station. Transmission lines need to be built to Ghana’s eastern, western and northern neighbors, such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria, and agreements with many of the countries involved have been signed.

Inusah Abdulai Fuseini, minister for lands and natural resources also had this to say on Ghana becoming an energy hub for West Africa; “The prospects of tapping into Ghana’s resource base, in particular as regards the energy sector, are huge. We can become market players in the sector and Western Ghana will become an energy hub by producing power and selling to other landlocked countries.”

The goal, of course, is to use the country’s petroleum resources to power the planned electrical grid. The government has made great progress in extracting, selling, processing and using the oil, and is also studying closely how to minimize the environmental impact and make sure the wealth generated is put to use by improving the lives of Ghanaians.

“We have to be very focused on the things that we have to do to ensure that it will be a blessing. We do not compromise when it comes to environmental issues. We have made it very clear that there are companies that are coming to Ghana, and you have to apply the same international standards that they apply everywhere,” the energy minister further stressed.

Some have wondered why uninterrupted supply of power should be a problem when Ghana’s demand is less than installed capacity. They have also argued that Ghana is in this situation because of the inability of the power plants to operate at full capacity due to low levels of water and inadequate fuel supply.

Emmanuel Kofi Buah, has promised an increase of 1000 MW by next year when the Ghana Gas Company begins full operation.

The World Bank also believes Ghana has the right power policies but is failing to implement them and run the sector efficiently.

According to the Bank, the “solutions to the sector’s problems are well known; the challenge is to carry them out.”

“Proactive leadership of the energy sector, with a focus on efficiency and timely delivery, is crucial to Ghana’s ambitions for economic growth”, the World Bank has said.


Source: Businesstoday

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:19:45 -0500 Ghana: Residents of Nkroful attacked over mining concession Nkroful attack

Security personnel’s of Adamus Resources, a subsidiary of Endeavour mining corporation with the help of some military men attacked some residence of Nkroful in the Western Region including the assembly man of the area over a piece of land which the company claims is part of their mining concession.

But for the intervention of God, the Assembly man for the Nkroful Ebanso Electoral Area, Lord Cudjoe would have met his untimely death on Saturday 20th September 2014, after trying to protest the demolition of newly constructed buildings on a piece of land belonging to his people in the area by the mining company without any prior notice to the indigenes.

Narrating his ordeal to this journalist, Lord Cudjoe said he received a call from one of his people informing him about a demolition exercise going on at the area so he quickly rushed to find out for himself and upon reaching the area, he discovered that newly constructed buildings of the people including his own in-law was being destroyed by an excavator with a heavy security presence believed to be hired by the Adamus Resources.

He noted that due to the operations of Adamus Resources, the District Assembly has decided not to give building permit to anybody in the area with the reason that, until the mining company gives a report on the land since they claim ownership of the area.

On the suspension of granting building permit, the assembly man hinted that “When I contacted the chief of my community Nana Kwasi Kutuah V, he also received the information with surprise and said he had not been informed of it, agreeing that clarifications be sought”.

Lord Cudjoe therefore lamented the situation as bitter and expects the District Chief Executive of the Elembelle District Assembly, Hon. Daniel Eshun to be more proactive in bringing a better conclusion to this matter.

“There are some reasons why I am feeling that Management has not been fair to the people of Nkroful and its leadership, especially the Assembly members and the Chief.

As Hon. Assembly members representing our people at the Assembly, we ought to get the right information to be relayed to our electorates and not the other way round.

As things stand now, the people are informing us of a critical situation affecting them. What is more embarrassing is that we (Assembly members affected) have no explanations to give them as to the rationale behind this directive.

Again, as the Convener for the Mines and Environment Sub-Committee of the Assembly, I believe that whatever is the backdrop for this directive will hinge on the environmental implications which could emanate from the building of the houses in the area being affected by this directive.

Nkroful mining disturbances

Against the above background, one is but forced to believe that the Assembly is steadily shrinking into just the core Management, waging a ‘psychological war of redundancy’ on most of its sub-committees and by extension, on the Assembly members.

However, Management ought to be cognizant of the fact that for the Assembly members to be given the respect they deserve from their electorates which will make them repose confidence in the District assembly, depend on a large extent to the quality and timeliness of information they get equipped with, largely from the District Assembly for relay to the communities” Lord Cudjoe laments.

Besides the ban on building permit, farmers of Nkroful has no access road to their farm-lands because the mining company has barricaded the area as security zone therefore one has to write official letter to the management of the Adamus Resources before it can be granted access to their farmlands, a situation which one of the residence described as preposterous and pathetic.

“How can the birthplace of Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which is supposed to serve as a tourist community be treated with such vindictiveness” she asked.

When I called the DCE to hear his response on the matter, he said he is having a big event with the regional minister and the Minister for Energy therefore we should reschedule the meeting.


Source: spyghana

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:13:20 -0500 Ghana: Chamber of mines urges Government to formalize small -scale mining Chamber of mines logo

Mr. Sulemanu Koney, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has asked government to strengthen efforts at formalizing the small-scale mining industry, to leverage its enormous potential as a catalyst for economic growth and development.

He said the industry’s diversified grounds for alternative businesses should be harnessed to help sustain the industry, and minimize the negative operational impact on the environment after the exit of mining companies.

The acting CEO, who was handing over a research finding commissioned by his outfit on “Sustaining the Mining Industry” to the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Sarpong, in Kumasi on Tuesday, said this was the path to travel, to also rein in illegal mining in order to prevent it from destroying the environment.

“The fact that gold ore is a finite commodity should not be lost on anybody, and looking at ways to keep mining communities economically- viable after these areas have been exhaustively mined, is critical,” he said.

Mr Sulemanu pointed out that formalization will facilitate operational permitting and monitoring, to ensure that small-scale miners work within only authorized concessions.

“It would also infuse sanity into the industry by bringing all small-scale miners under one umbrella, for the dual benefit of presenting an organized front to source for funds needed for the capital intensive business, while also simplifying revenue mobilization for government.”

Added to this, the Report is also pushing for the establishment of a plant pool to provide the right equipment to the miners, so as not to destroy the environment, he said, adding that monitoring and supervision from government should guide their operations to ensure sanity.

Mr Sarpong lauded the CEO for the incisive recommendation proposed by the Chamber of Mines in the Report, and said its implementation will help in the radical transformation of the extractive industry to revamp the country’s economy.

He said most companies register as small-scale miners, and are given permits to operate as such, but flout this to use heavy equipment which should only be used by large-scale mining companies.


Source: GNA/spyghana

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:01:26 -0500 Consumer Protection Agency Boss tasks Ghanaians to reject tariff hikes Kofi Kapito

Head of Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Kofi Kapito has asked Ghanaians not to accept the increase in water and electricity by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

“Utility tariffs keep increasing for no good reason, they should stop throwing dust into Ghanaians' eyes because we have had enough of them,” he warned.

PURC has announced new tariffs which will take effect from tomorrow October 1. The cost of electricity has gone up by 6.54 percent while that of water has been increased by 4.54 percent.

The Ghana Water Company will, however, not be able to charge the new rates until certain challenges are fixed.

The PURC says the marginal increases have been necessitated by the shift to crude oil for generation of power occasioned by erratic gas supply from Nigeria.

But speaking on Asempa FM’s socio-political programme Ekosii sen Tuesday, Mr. Kapito said the PURC’s reason is not good enough.

He indicated that the supposed increase in crude oil which the PURC is attributing to the increase, is not the true reflection of the case.

Kofi Kapito charged the PURC to ensure the utility service providers provide quality service than overburdening the poor consumer.

“Electricity supply in the country is already poor and so they should stop those excuses. They should fix the challenge of electricity rather than increasing tariffs,” he urged.


Source: ghanaweb

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:55:43 -0500 Ghana: Pressure group expresses shock at tariff increments PURC Logo

Anti Government pressure group, Occupy Ghana has expressed utmost shock at the tariff increments approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.

The PURC announced this afternoon the increases of 6.54 percent for electricity with the prices of water going up by 4.54 percent.

However, because of the poor quality of water service delivery being meted out by the Ghana Water Company, the Commission has decided not to pass on the Tariff for water until the challenges are fixed.

The last time the PURC adjusted utility tariffs was in July this year.

Electricity tariffs went up by 6.1 percent while water tariffs were increased by 12 percent.

According to a statement issued and signed by Chairman of the Commission, Dr Emmanuel K. Annan, “the increases have been necessitated due to the shift to crude oil for generation of power occasioned by erratic gas supply from Nigeria. The Commission also in its deliberations considered the current inadequate electricity supply situation which has resulted in load shedding in the country and its impact on Consumers and Customers of Electricity and water.”

But Occupy Ghana has rejected this justification for an increment as it doesn’t match a wage increase.

“This is really frustrating, it comes as a rude shock to me, in that we have a situation where electricity tariffs are being increased yet the minimum wage is still constant, you are telling me to pay more for electricity and water which I’m not getting on a daily basis, yet the money you are paying me for turning up to work daily is not increasing” he lamented.

Speaking in an interview with Live News’ Ekow Annan, Convener of the group, Nana Akwasi Awuah said this upward adjustment goes once more to confirm the NDC government’s insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.

“What government is telling us is that, we don’t care, whether you can pay or not is up to you….there’s the need to revisit the increment,” he added.

These increases in tariffs though marginal are set to annoy many as Ghanaians have for more than one year now been enduring, power and water rationing.

Many have expressed frustrations at the development, but the managers of the power systems say there is little they can do under the circumstances and reiterated the PURC’s commitment to protecting the interest of consumers.

“The Commission wishes to restate its commitment to ensuring the highest standards of Utility Service Delivery to all customers and consumers of Electricity and Water.

The PURC is mandated to protect the interest of the consumer and ensure the financial viability of the Utility Service Provider.”


Source: spyghana

]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:51:52 -0500 Ghana: Energy crises forcing job cuts  

timber millElectricity supply challenges over the past few years have adversely affected the operations of processing, manufacturing, and mining companies -- leading to substantial job-losses as companies look to reduce their overhead costs.

Electricity, which constitutes about 20 percent of operation cost for processing and manufacturing companies, has remained unreliable -- leading to the loss of production time and equipment breakdown.

Most producers have had to rely on expensive diesel to power generating plants.

From over 105 timber processing companies in the country that employed about 100,000 people, there are now just 45 companies employing about 30,000 people, the Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO) said.

About 70,000 jobs in the timber processing sector have been lost over the last few years following the collapse of about 60 timber processing companies.

In the Ashanti Region, there remains only ten timber firms in operation out of an initial fifty. Many of the timber firms are reported to have been sold out for residential accommodation, fuel stations, or for hotel accommodation.

The mining sector has also seen its fair share of job-losses as cost of operations soar due to erratic power supply.

Between January 2013 and March 2014, about 3,080 mine workers were retrenched as the result of a slump in gold prices and rising cost of operations --attributed to unreliable power supply.

Newmont Ghana is to lay-off about 472 of its mineworkers by the end of this month.

The mining giant announced the retrenchment of 600 staff in February, and said it aims to readjust expenditure to match a reduced mining rate.

An earlier retrenchment in 2013 saw around 240 workers of the company’s Ahafo Mine sent home.

Dr. Kwame Asamoah Adam, Chief Executive Officer of the GTMO, has warned that the timber processing industry faces imminent collapse, in five years, if steps are not taken to address the perennial power challenges facing the country.

“GTMO engages in selective logging and complies strictly with the laws governing the sector. We presently have a voluntary partnership agreement with the European Union and we can export only legally sourced lumber to that market.”

He warned that “any collapse will open the floodgates to illegal loggers, who will plunder our forest resources and massively degrade our lands”.

Ghana currently exports about 400,000 cubic metres of wood per annum and consumes 600,000 locally. The European Union (EU) is one of the biggest markets for timber products and has traditionally received about 60 percent of Ghana’s timber exports.

The utility sub-sector recorded the highest figure in price inflation rate at 75.8 percent, the August 2014 producer price index showed.

Continuously surging utility prices have pushed the producer price index up to a record high of 48.3%, the highest rate ever during a 12-month period.

This represents a 1.1 percentage point increase in producer inflation relative to the 47.2 percent rate recorded in July 2014.

The producer inflation in the utility sub-sector recorded the highest year-on-year producer price inflation rate of 75.8 percent over the July figure of 78.6 percent.

The hikes were followed by increases in January and July, causing power and water tariffs to jump by 96 percent and 72 percent respectively over nine months.

The country has been inundated with persistent outages due in part to the shortage in gas supply from Nigeria via the West African Gas Pipeline – lately, because of a strike action by petroleum and gas workers in Africa’s most populous nation.

Resumption of gas supply from Nigeria over the weekend led to a relatively improved situation.
ECG subsequently released a load-shedding timetable to guide consumers. Based on the time-table, consumers are to expect a 14 hours of power outage between 6am and 8pm local time during the days they are scheduled to go off.


Source: B&FT

]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:19:03 -0500 Maritime: Ghana projects Ivory Coast boundary dispute suit to span 3 years Attorney general

It could take up to 3-years to settle the Ghana-Cote D’Ivoire maritime border dispute that has existed for a long time.

Ghana is presently taking legal action to resolve the border dispute under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea after 10 bilateral meetings failed to resolve the issue.

The two countries have never officially agreed on the boundary and their maps of territorial waters overlap. Ghana filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.

Although the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire has existed for a long time, it was reignited around 2010 -- the year Ghana started commercial production of oil.

In 2011, the Ivorian authorities -- at the time still under the leadership of former president Laurent Gbagbo -- published a map with a new order, claiming portions of Ghanaian oil blocks.

Seismic data from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the regulator of the country’s upstream petroleum sector, show that the disputed area covers portions of the Jubilee Field, Tweneboa, Enyenra, the Owo discoveries, West Tano-1X find and the deep-water Tano block, all found on the west coast of Ghana’s territorial waters.

GNPC has already allocated some of those blocks to oil companies, including Tullow and Kosmos, to explore and develop for commercial oil production.

Both countries are claiming ownership of the territory, which energy experts say holds an estimated two billion barrels of oil reserves and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

According to officials of the GNPC, the claims of ownership of some the country’s oil fields by neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire do not have merit and will not disturb the country’s oil production in any way.

“I don't think we will lose. We are extremely confident about this case,” Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, Attoney General, told a news conference in Accra.

The decision follows failed negotiations between the two countries in the past few years, as well as continued receipt of threatening letters from Cote d’Ivoire by oil companies operating in the disputed area.

In order to avoid a diplomatic spat, Ghana has since served Cote d’Ivoire with a notification of arbitration in accordance with the provisions of UNCLOS.

Nevertheless, both countries have enjoyed cordial relations for a long time and are keen to solve the matter peacefully.

Special committee

National Coordinator of the Ghana Maritime Boundary Secretariat Kwame Fordjour Mfodwo, said the three-year legal proceedings at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea will cost the country “a few million dollars. It will be reasonably expensive,” he stated.

The expenses that will be involved in the arbitration will be a minute fraction of the commercial benefits Ghana stands to gain from exploitation of oil within the area under litigation, he said.

A 30-member team of professionals will be in charge of the litigation, led by Justice Appiah-Oppong with other international maritime lawyers including Professor Philippe Sands QC and Martin Tsamenyi as part of the team.

Mr. Mfodwo disclosed that a group of cartographers will also be hired to draw the maritime boundaries.
“Ghana’s team is made up of the best Anglophone litigants on maritime issues.

They have won cases for Bangladesh and Peru and some were part of the ARA Libertad case involving Ghana and Argentina.

“The Jubilee Field is safe from the litigation; it is the newly-discovered TEN Fields that are within the area under dispute,” Mr. Mfodwo remarked.

Possibly, the country could establish an extra eight billion barrels of petroleum reserves if it succeeds in getting its maritime boundaries extended.

Ghana seeks the extension of its continental shelf to about 15,000 kilometers beyond 200 nautical miles, where preliminary studies have shown the potential for at least eight billion barrels of petroleum reserves. Ghana is among 50 countries globally that have sought an expansion of their territorial waters.

In a statement, Ivory Coast said the dispute over the border area will not in any way undermine relations between the two countries, their people and the two presidents.


Source: B&FT

]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:13:58 -0500 Opinion: Ghana should declare a 5 year power crisis Dr. Amin Adam

Executive Director of the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, says the country should declare five years of power crisis to do adjustments and proper planning for a revamp of the sector.

The country’s main problem with power rationing today, according to Dr. Adam, is because government hasn’t been truthful to Ghanaians, making many promises to end the load shedding; yet with no end in sight.

He made these remarks in a conversation with the Head of Communications at VRA, Sam Fletcher and the Executive Director of KITE, Ishmael Edjekumhene on Dr Amin’s Take, on Multi TV.

He wondered if the utility companies, are properly briefing the President, in view of his many pronouncements on the issue, or whether there is simply no political will to inform the citizens on what exactly the state of affairs are. He maintains that, “unless we get the citizens to build confidence in the system, there will be too much doubts about our competence to address key issues facing the sector”.

Sam Fletcher, in his response, emphasised that all stakeholders in the sector mean well and doubts if there were anyone out there who wishes doom for the sector. “there are major things which are not under our control: Gas and crude oil, the falling water levels, and because we mean well, you have to calm down Ghanaians and tell them good news, while we work hard to remedy the situation”. He said.

He recounted, that at the time of independence, the Akosombo dam was operating at sixty percent capacity, due to low population, and not many people were hooked to the national grid. However, with the growth of population, industries and small scale businesses, pressure began to mount on production. “At a point, we all went to sleep, thinking we had enough, to the extent of exporting to neighbouring countries”, he added.

Demand is between 10 to 12 % a year, which is very huge for a country with a population of twenty five million people. He compared this to an African average of 3%.

Ishmael Edjekumhene asked how a country could have series of crisis, almost becoming a cycle for the past ten years. “We have one of the best plans. Energy Commission is doing all its long term forecast, VRA has a whole planning unit, ECG and all the other key players. It is our inability to take critical decisions.”

The KITE Director admitted that investments in the power sector have been generally slow, with a tariff regime that has also not helped much. He insists that Electricity is expensive and "we must be prepared to pay for it in order to stay in business and meet the supply".

Dr Amin Adam questioned how government intends to address the investment challenges by attracting independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in the sector.

The ACEP Boss again enquired why it has taken us almost four years to complete the Atuabo Gas project when it could be done in two years, considering that Nigeria’s gas supply to Ghana is not enough. “ECG has proved to be a credible off-taker by going for badges to bring in 450 megawatts of power and creating two escrows to guarantee they will pay for the power if supplied”, he revealed.

According to the VRA Communications Director, the Kpong Hydro Electric Project, which started in 2009, is currently under retrofitting and expected to add forty more megawatts to the existing capacity. It is scheduled for completion by December 2014. The kpone thermal plant, when completed is also expected to generate 220 megawatts capacity.

Fletcher feared that, if the losses in the system continue, with time they will grow even bigger. “We can build capacity, spend on investments, build fuel security to provide power but we keep wasting thirty to forty percent, and within the next ten years, we will not be producing at 5000 megawatt capacity as projected.”

Currently, we don’t have enough generation from hydro any longer. The total potential is about 2500 megawatts, 1600 megawatts is out from Bui, Akosombo and Kpong. The remaining 900 megawatts is scattered across many sites, about 21 small dams.

Sam Fletcher is optimistic that the country will soon get out of the current power crisis, provided we do things right, with patience, understanding and hard work from the VRA and all stakeholders.



]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:08:38 -0500 Ghana: Energy Minister commissions Rural Electrification Project Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembele, said the Government was determined to address challenges to ensure the smooth development of the country.

The people must, therefore, support the Government to implement programmes that would solve these development challenges, he said.

Mr Buah said this when he commissioned rural electrification projects at Domeabra in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Ayensukrom Number One in the Prestea-Huni Valley District and Gonokrom in the Amenfi West District.

He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government was working hard to ensure that all rural communities were provided with electricity by 2016.

When the National Electrification Scheme started in 1990 only 15 per cent of the country’s rural communities had electricity but “the NDC Government wants to achieve Universal Access to Electricity by 2016 to enhance the role of rural communities in national development,” Mr Buah said.

He said about 1,900 communities were provided with electricity last year and the target this year was to provide 1,800 more communities with electricity.

Mr Buah asked the beneficiary communities to use electricity for income generating activities to improve their living standards and contribute towards national development.

The communities must also conserve energy by switching off power when it was not in use.

Mr Francis Gbeddy, Director of Operations of the Technology Management Group, local representative of United States based Weldy Lamont Associates, contractor of the projects, said the company was to undertake rural electrification projects in communities in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Central and Western regions.

He said the company was expected to cover all its target communities by the end of 2015.

Mr Gbeddy said the project was being hampered by poor road network to some of communities.


Source: GNA

]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:04:10 -0500 Energy: Ghanaians to pay more for Electricity  

PURC LogoThe Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has increased tariffs of electricity by 6.54 per cent for the last quarter of the year.

The figure was reached as per the Automatic Adjustment Formula (AAF), which is a tariff mechanism that tracks and incorporates movements in key factors for the cost of electricity and water every quarter.

Though water tariffs also went up by 4.54 per cent, the Commission has suspended application of that figure “until such a time that certain regulatory requirements that protect consumers are met."

These were contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, September 30 by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr Emmanuel Annan.

It said the tariff increases for the October – December quarter was driven by shift in the overdependence on crude oil as a result of challenges with the West Africa Gas Pipeline “and low volumes of water both in the Akosombo

and Kpong hydroelectric dams”.

“The Commission also in its deliberations considered the current inadequate electricity supply situation which has resulted in load shedding in the country and its impact on consumers and customers of electricity and water.”

The statement pointed out that the increase in electricity tariffs is meant to help ameliorate the impact of the overdependence on crude oil in the generation mix.

The Commission urged all to conserve utilities in order to reduce some of the challenges “being faced with the reliable supply of these two essential commodities.”


Source: ghanaweb

]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:00:59 -0500 Ghana: Environmental Disturbance and Lessons from Gold Fields This forest feels like an eternity as our four-wheel drive vehicle plods down yet another washed-out dirt road. This is the Central Region of Ghana and the lack of infrastructure only adds the ambiance as groups of women pass by with their loads of firewood balanced effortlessly on their head, their babies dozing comfortably in tow. Abruptly, the trees stop and a barren dirt-scape throws the equatorial sun back into our faces. Compared to the shade of the canopy, this feels like the surface of the sun. And yet, despite the devastating heat, I can easily make out the distant silhouettes of people shoveling and sifting and working through this terrible hole in the earth

As we get closer, the figures assume the faces and nuances of the tired men and women that they are. Holes in boots; tattered, stained clothing; knee deep in stagnant water with shovels or pick-axes or buckets of mud in hand. All for a paltry daily bounty of gold and the eternal promise to strike it rich someday. It's enough to keep them busy and fed for now, but at a terrible cost to their bodies and the land. This is the face of unregistered small-scale mining in Ghana, called "galamsey" by the locals.

Ghana, the proverbial "Gold Coast", has furnished the world with the gold for hundreds of years and although the mechanisms have changed -- a colonial administration has been replaced by economic structures that are equally exploitative -- the fundamental ethos remains the same: the wealth contained within this land does not belong to those that live and work it, but to those with the might to control it.

Mining concessions are acquired by multinational companies in a variety of ways. But whether legal and legitimate or illegal and fraudulent, the siphoning of mineral wealth from Africa is a faucet that continues to flow to the detriment of local peoples, often even despite truly noteworthy progress in terms of corporate social responsibility and promising partnerships between research and extractive industries. Governments with poor economies that lack the ability to commercialize their own resources rely on foreign corporations for the dominant influx of financial capital, technological know-how, and assets to glean any profits from their land. This service does not come for free, of course, as these companies take more than their fair share. Whatever profits the governments keep, such as royalties, risk being eaten up by inefficient and corrupt bureaucracies. Little, if anything but poverty wages and environmental degradation seems to filter down to those local people upon whose livelihoods the mining companies and often complicit local chiefs thrive.

For Ghanaians who seek the promises of gold without the corporate structure, or those who lack the education to be hired by mining companies, there is always the option to go at it alone. It has become quite common across Ghana for groups of men and also women to begin their own small-scale mining operations, increasingly through partnerships with Chinese operators. With minimal investment, a group of galamsey miners can earn as much in a day as even the best cocoa farmers (Ghana's leading agricultural export). The problem, of course, is that once the gold has been extracted from the land through dangerous and damaging practices, nothing -- not gold, nor farm land, nor forest -- can take its place. Once an area is cleared and mined and no rehabilitation occurs, that land has lost virtually all value. It is a vicious and unsustainable cycle, but one with enticing short-term economic prospects, especially for poor young people with limited options.

From the ground and from satellite images, the communal dislocation and general destruction that these mining practices bring to the land and the communities that live there is abundantly obvious. What is not as evident is the extent of the environmental contamination that results from entirely upending the soil column and exposing all manner of sub-soil elements to everyday erosive forces. One such fallout that is now being tied to mining practices is Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating bacterial infection that seems to be largely associated with contaminated and stagnant or slow-flowing water.

One of the world's most neglected tropical diseases, Buruli ulcer (BU) is a equally as horrific as it is challenging to understand. Beginning harmlessly enough as a painless nodule under the skin, the course of the disease quickly proceeds to massive, open lesions across large tracts of the body. The health consequences of BU can range from massive deformations and scarring, to atrophied or amputated limbs, to secondary opportunistic infections and even death. And while the disease is treatable with antibiotics if caught soon, in the impoverished backwoods of rural Ghana where both health-care facilities and knowledge are quite limited, it is no surprise that this disease continues to claim lives each year.

The reality is that even in our era of modern medicine, thousands of people around the world suffer from a completely treatable disease whose prevalence may largely be driven by devastating and unchecked economic profiteering from the environment.

What makes BU so difficult to manage and to causally link to mining practices specifically is not only the unknown path of transmission but the considerable lag time between contact with the bacterium and the emergence of preliminary symptoms. It is virtually impossible to identify an exact point of infection in communities where water sources are communal and where a great number of other variables, such as hygiene and environmental exposure, are involved. BU functions as one of many potential consequence in an extremely complex system of environmental, social, and economic factors.

This problem is only confounded further as increasingly heavier and more unpredictable rainfall patterns -- a result of global climate change -- impact the region each year. These rains not only affect the already degraded landscapes even more, but they increase the presence of stagnant water bodies that may play temporary host to the bacterium responsible for BU.

It seems that the very neoliberal economic paradigm that is leading to catastrophic global climate change has already visited itself twofold upon Ghana: first, by creating economic conditions that promote destructive mining practices at multiple levels and, second, by exacerbating existing environmental problems through climatic disruption.

Since 2009, the reBUild project has been studying and working throughout Ghana in order to get a better grasp on the complex interactions between mining, climate change, and emergent tropical diseases such as BU. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University, as well as several other US and Ghanaian institutions, has been lending a geographic perspective to this multivariate problem.

Through an interdisciplinary coupled systems approach, combining satellite imagery, national health information, livelihood mapping, community surveys and interviews, researchers are hoping to build a more practical understanding of how this disease emerges from disturbed environments. By isolating key variables at different spatial scales, reBUild aims to unravel the mystery behind this debilitating disease that could become more even prevalent in the coming decades as climate change and global economic demand continue to manifest upon those in the our world least responsible for and least able to bear the costs.

At a small clinic in the town of Nkotumso, the reBUild team, including myself, visited with some patients being treated for their BU infections. It was a warm afternoon and I watched a small group as they sat together under a fruit tree with their limbs wrapped in fresh dressings to cover their healing ulcers. It was a sobering scene but one not entirely without its glimmer of hope. Despite the terrible prospects for this disease in the years to come, there is always the possibility that through the joint efforts of collaborative research, education, and international partnerships, we might be slowly uncovering the tools we need to solve this complex problem and many more like it.

Source: Huffingtonpost

]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:49:47 -0500 Ghana takes steps to address mercury pollution Galamsey

Ghana has taken a major step to address the emissions and releases of the one of the most notorious heavy metals -- mercury.

A year after the adoption of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, ministers and senior government officials from around the world have renewed the international community's commitment to combat the global threat posed to human health and the environment from mercury pollution worldwide.

The high-level special event -- “The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Toward its early entry into force and effective implementation” -- witnessed nations agreeing to become Parties to the Minamata Convention and signing the treaty.

Ghana becomes part of 18 countries, bringing the total number to 120, that signed the Convention: namely Belarus, Cameroon, Croatia, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Latvia, Liberia, Malaysia, Monaco, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.

Held on the margins at the opening of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, and in conjunction with the Secretary-General's annual Treaty Event, the event was jointly convened by the governments of Japan, Switzerland, the United States and Uruguay, with assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Yoshio Mochizuki, Minister of the Environment for Japan, said: “As the country that has experienced the Minamata disease, we recognise our critical role to lead the global challenge to eliminate mercury pollution.

“We promise to keep supporting the developing countries by utilising our advanced mercury reduction technologies. It is crucial to keep the political ambition and momentum formed through the Diplomatic Conference to achieve the rapid entry into force and effective implementation of the Convention.”

Franz Perrez, Ambassador for Environment of Switzerland, said: “The Minamata Convention was built upon five key elements essential for multilateralism to succeed: namely understanding facts, political will, competent support, guidance and leadership, and solution- oriented commitment”.

Judith Garber, Acting Assistant Secretary United States Department of State, said: “I'm particularly pleased that the focus of this event is on not only the entry into force of the Convention but also its effective implementation.

“We look forward to continuing that spirit of extraordinary cooperation as we take the next step -- the most important step -- to achieve the objectives of the Convention through implementation of its provisions. It is through those actions that we will all collectively be able to reduce the risks and, one day, eliminate the tragedies to human health and the environment from mercury.”

Raquel Lejtreger, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment of Uruguay, said: “For Uruguay, it is an important day because we deposited the ratification of the Minamata Convention.

“We pioneered the negotiations, a process that took over five years and in which our country placed a big effort in order to achieve this Treaty.

“We would like to highlight that the Latin American and the Caribbean region played an important role in the team. The solidarity of our people was a motor that helped to carry out this process and, therefore, the solidarity became responsibility.

“This is an important issue because the effects mercury causes impact communities disproportionately, particularly the most vulnerable ones. This is the first environmental agreement, besides Rio+20, which incorporates sustainable development with a human rights perspective.”

Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP said: "I congratulate the countries signing and ratifying the Minamata Convention today as they now join the international community's commitment to address a pollutant -- mercury -- whose impact and notoriety is truly global.

“Their diversity speaks to the treaty's universal nature and relevance as they encompass both large and small nations, rich and poor, tropical and polar.

“While there is much to celebrate today, it is now imperative that we use this momentum and move toward the Convention's early entry into force. It is critical that we begin the implementation phase as soon as possible in order to protect human health and the environment for the current generation and those yet to come."

Named after a city in Japan where serious health damage occurred as a result of mercury pollution in the mid-20th century, the Minamata Convention aims to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

The Convention requires that 50 states have to agree to become Parties to bring the Convention into force. Signature will be closed on 9 October 2014.

Meeting this cut-off date for signature could be of particular importance for developing countries and those with economies in transition, as signing the Convention is a condition to access funding for enabling activities and pre-ratification projects from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

UNEP provides secretariats for a number of key Conventions aiming, like the Minamata Convention, for the sustainable management of chemicals and hazardous wastes -- including the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention which are served by a joint Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Basel Convention (on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its adoption, and has almost universal membership


Source: B&FT

]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:26:15 -0500 Ghana to host 1st ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum and Exhibition

The first West African Regional Mining & Petroleum Forum and Exhibition, dubbed ECOMOF 2015, has been scheduled to take place in Accra from the 6th to the 8th of October, next year.

The three-day event is being organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, under the auspices of the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, and Petroleum and Energy, and the AME Trade Limited.

The main theme for the event is ‘Valorising West Africa’s Mineral & Petroleum Resource through Regional Co-operation.’

ECOMOF 2015 is expected to feature more than 30 different conference sessions, three workshops and two roundtables with industry experts who will be discussing issues encompassing the complete spectrum of the mining and petroleum sectors.

In attendance will be stakeholders from both the public and private sectors of the 15 ECOWAS member states, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Addressing the media at the launch of OCOMOF 2015 in Accra on Friday, Dr Bangoura Morlaye, Commissioner, Energy and Mines, ECOWAS Commission, said ECOMOF 2015 coincided with the 40th anniversary celebration of the establishment of ECOWAS.

Dr Morlaye said the conference aimed to develop appropriate mechanisms to achieve equity in the development, management and distribution of the benefits arising from the geo-extractive industry.

He said the event should provide the platform for optimizing value addition through regional co-operation.

He, therefore, pledged the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission to ensuring that the geo-extractive industry assumed its full integrated role as a development agent for the enhancement of the collective well-being of the people of the sub-region.

In a welcome address delivered on his behalf, the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Hon. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, said ECOMOF 2015 would be an important milestone in the promotion of socio-economic integration and serve as a platform for effective linkages in the development of mineral and hydrocarbon resources of the West African sub-region.

Hon. Buah said harnessing natural resources for sustained development was technically and politically difficult and required the collective efforts of all stakeholders.

He said it was his expectation, therefore, that the forum would bring to the fore technological advancement in natural resource extraction and the harmonization of legal, regulatory and taxation instruments as well as the strengthening of trade in mining and oil products.

In his remarks, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and Chairman for the occasion, Hon. Nii Osah Mills, stressed the need to lend support to ECOMOF 2015 to make it champion the development and management of the geo-extractive industry to meet the needs of both current and future generations.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)/ghanagov

]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:17:25 -0500 Ghana: Government to establish two gold refineries Pres. Mahama at Worcester

President John Dramani Mahama last Saturday announced that Government would establish two gold refineries to process and add value to the country's gold before exporting.
He said the establishment of the refineries would not only give the country better value for its gold, but would also create job opportunities for more Ghanaians who would be employed in those refineries.
President Mahama announced this when he addressed the Ghanaian community at Worcester in Boston, Massachusetts, as part his 10-day official visit to the United States of America.
Since his arrival, President Mahama had addressed the 69th Session of the United Nations Assembly, attended and participated in crucial debates pertaining to the economy and governance, held bilateral discussions and engaged the business community with the hope of wooing them for investment in Ghana and Africa.
President Mahama explained that while one of the refineries would be funded by the Precious Minerals Commission, the other one was a foreign direct investment to add value and avoid the perennial exportation of gold in its raw form.
The processing of the gold before exporting, he said, would reduce the risk of losing millions of cedis in the event of any fall of gold prices on the international market.
President Mahama said the refineries would also encourage mining companies to carry out their activities throughout the year, unlike the current state when most of them shut up anytime there were falls in prices of the commodity on the international market.
He said, currently, the proceeds of Ghana's oil was negligible since the whole of last year the country earned a total of $700 million, which was comparatively lower than cocoa and gold.
Answering questions on corruption in Ghana, President Mahama challenged all Ghanaians to be up standing against the practice that had become a canker in the Ghanaian society.
He attributed the situation to institutional weakness that had created loopholes for individuals and organisations to take advantage of.
President Mahama said Government was reviewing the procurement laws to reduce the sole sourcing contracts where the malpractices and corrupt activities were envisaged to be emanating from.
On wastage in the Ghanaian system, President Mahama said he had directed the Chief of Staff to write to all organisations asking them to feed the Presidency with the housing system for their chief executives and their management staff.
He said it was only after receiving reports from various organisations that his administration would be in the position to determine how to handle and avoid waste in the public sector.
He said he had ordered that pre-paid electricity metres be installed in the houses of all government appointees, where they would be compelled to pay for their own utility bills.
Professor Kwamena Panford, a leader of the community, commended President Mahama for recognising their presence in Boston.
He said they had a strong and vibrant association that had, over the years, compelled members to contribute in all forms towards the socio-economic development of their villages and communities in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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