Currently, as the gas sector is being developed, nobody is looking at how related projects are dotted around the country and the danger they pose for future of the oil and gas industry.
At Aboadze and Tema in the Western and Greater Accra respectively, are Tema Oil Refinery, several thermal plants including the current AMERI, Karpower plants and Osafgyfuo Barge belonging to the state and private sector.
Also in the Western Region, the West Africa Corridor Gas Project operated by Ghana Gas at Atuabo – then the new addition, ENI-Sanko project at Sanzule some kilometers from the Atuabo.
Next Ghana Gas plant are two gantries operated by Ghana Gas and Quantum Terminals and then on the way to Benyene traditional capital serious land clearing for what supposed to be site for IPP thermal plant. All these locations have human settlements.
Ghana missed the opportunity when the dream of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) creating an industrial enclave that could coordinate all hydrocarbon related activities.
It was strategic since it would feed Volta River Authority (VRA) for the West African Power Pool Project, as well as Osagyefuo barge at Effaso.
An example of Trinidad and Tobago, the largest natural gas processing facilities in the Western Hemisphere, with proven crude oil reserves as at 2013 estimated at 728 million barrels and natural gas reserves of more than 25.24 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) is strategically backed by Phonix Park, a well-coordinated location for petroleum and power.
Phoenix Park is a joint venture project for gas Processing and natural gas liquids (NGL) complex located in the Port of Savonetta.
Unlike Ghana with little over 110mmscf, Phonix Park has a processing facility with the capacity of almost two billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day and an output capacity of 70,000 barrels per day of NGL.
The enclave was well coordinated that after processing the gas, it is then transferred to the various power generators within the same location for generation of electricity and to the petrochemical plants for use as a feedstock.
Typical of Ghana, which currently has natural gas reserves of more than 5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) is waiting for more discoveries to overwhelm it and then managers of the sector would trigger reactive mood.
Ghana Gas location
The location of the Ghana Gas between Annochi and Atuabo is not enough to any spatial planning for industrial park to contain in the industry. However human habitation and activities are also heavily concentrated on the coast.
Individual landowners are left to sell land to industries without recourse to the fact that the area has no spatial planning or zoned by the assemblies of Ellembelle and Jomoro.
Making the oil and gas industry attractive to investors at the time when the oil prices were heading downward and making Ghana benefit by capitalizing on the price mechanism for gas in Ghana today.
To make companies to explore for oil and develop gas, as a matter of urgency and the need for Ghana to halt the haphazard manner in which plants are sited and rather create an industrial park where all the gas plants will be concentrated.
The Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor announced the move for the establishment of liquified natural gas plant at Tema for the plants in that enclave.
It means that another related piece of plant would be added to another area, more independent power producers are on the sideline waiting for good price regime and cheaper fuel.
Meaning that if an IPP is interested in power generation, it owe itself a duty to locate land, approach individual landowner, negotiate and then site a plant.
Such was the case of the Ghana Gas plant to the extent that the Chiefs and people Atuabo had to go to court forcing government to enter into compulsory acquisition.
Are we serious?
If Ghana incorporated is serious about the industry and its emerging trends, with other areas such as the larger Voltarian and Keta basin to go and more prospects offshore.
The best thing for Ghana now was start spatial planning in identified areas she could easily fall on to ensure proper designated area for the industry.
Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the petroleum sector for more than a century and undertaking considerable oil and gas exploration activity on land and in its shallow waters with cumulative production totaling over three billion barrels of oil.
If Ghana want to transform and give meaning to the assertions such as “the gas will be a game changer, gas will lead the transformation of the economy and gas to save the country more than $500million,” then the time is now to act to create that industrial park such as Phoenix Park.
What happens if other companies such as HESS, Kosmos Energy and others see commercial value of the associated gas. Will these companies be made to buy land with the other landowners at any open space to site their facilities?
As result of GNPC insight into the industry, when the first FPSO Kwame Nkrumah was been designed, they quickly put in place the offshore riser station for future hook ups of flow lines to it and export to the shore.
Therefore, Ghana needs industrial park for gas and other related petrochemical industries, Ghana should not wait until the increase in the volumes and start the adhoc measures to contain it.
The country must learn from the examples of countries with a century example such as Trinidad which is moving its hydrocarbon sector from an oil dominant to a mostly natural gas based sector in the early 1990s and had worked for it perfectly.
The facts still remain that diversified energy sector that focuses on production further to ensure gas value chain maximises the multiplier effects and value added through the creation of stronger linkages between the energy sector and the rest of the economy. This can be achieved through well-coordinated front.