Cameroun is set to benefit from its vast gas reserves, as the government readies to commission the first gas plant in the country.
UK company, Victoria Oil and Gas, through a local company has constructed
the first gas plant to process Cameroun’s gas for industrial use. The gas plant is seen as one of the biggest gas processing projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and it marks Cameroun’s first attempt at maximizing the benefits of its gas reserves after 30 years of producing oil.
In the following report, Joy News Correspondent Benjamin Tetteh who was part of a selected group of journalists who visited Cameroun to acquaint with Cameroun’s oil and gas sector, takes a look at the gas project and compares to Ghana’s plan to construct a similar gas plant in the Western Region.
Cameroun has been producing oil for the past 30 years. The associated gas has been wasted over all these years, and now the country’s oil production has fallen drastically.
Total and Shell, the two main companies who, together produced nearly 80 per cent of the country’s oil, have now sold their concessions in Cameroun to smaller oil companies, as oil reserves here dwindle. Now the Cameroonian government is looking at maximizing the benefits of its gas.
Rodeo, the local partners of Victoria Oil and Gas, says work is complete on the project, and the company is expecting Cameroonian President, Paul Biya to officially open the plant.
Rodeo spent $80 million on the project, and has still committed $10 million for further works.
General Manager of Rodeo, Jonathan Scott-Barrett, describes the project as the first natural gas processing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. The gas will be supplied to industries including those in the breweries and textiles sectors. And Jonathan is excited at the prospects the plant brings to Cameroun.
He told reporters this is the first time Cameroun will make use of its natural gas for commercial purpose, and industries are also happy about the prospects it brings.
“It is very exciting for Cameroun, he said. “Currently, 70 per cent are burning waste oil—oil from ships, motor cars, highly pollutive”, Jonathan added.
He said the major breweries and textiles companies are currently burning about 100,000 litres of waste oil, and the gas plant will cut down on the use of waste fuel. This will contribute to a cleaner environment.
About 30 companies have applied to Rodeo to supply them with gas.
He added that the gas will save industries an average 15 per cent of energy cost. The government of Cameroun has 5 per cent stake in the gas company.
Unlike Cameroun, Ghana has started early with plans for a gas plant. Currently, preparatory works are complete and construction work on the Bonyere gas plant in Nzema in the Western Region is to begin early next year.
The plant will supply gas to the Aboadze Thermal Plant. Gas is considered cheaper, lighter and environmentally friendly. The Cameroun gas plant was completed in 6 months; Ghana’s is estimated to be ready by December 2012.