Eni, an Italian oil and gas giant has signed an agreement with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to develop offshore gas resources as it presses ahead with plans to expand in Africa.
In a press statement made available to Business Crusade, Eni said together with Swiss-based Vitol, it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Ghana and the Ghana national petroleum corporation (GNPC) to develop of Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Block.
The OCTP Block is operated by Eni with a 47.2 percent stake; Vitol has 37.7 and GNPC 15 percent. Eni is one o the biggest foreign oil and gas groups in Africa –a region which accounts for around 55 percent of the groups volume, the highest proportion of any major.
Sub-Saharan Africa currently produces around 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the company. Eni said the MoU would focus mainly on the domestic gas market in Ghana where it intends to play a prominent role.
Encouraged by the rapid development of its nascent oil sector, which began production in record time and helped push GDP growth up to 13.6% in 2011, Ghana is hoping to cash in equally quickly on its natural gas reserves, but is still navigating the sizeable infrastructure hurdles that need to be overcome in the short term.
The country’s reserves are currently estimated at 5trn cu ft, which offers significant potential both for industrial usage and domestic consumption.
The opportunities the still-undeveloped sector offers are large, which has pushed it front and centre on the government’s policy agenda. At the Ghana Gas Forum, held in mid-February 2012 in Accra, George Sipa –Yankey, the acting CEO of the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), stated that the government is determined to build a vibrant and sustainable gas industry in the country and added that the first supply of gas could come online by 2013.
The first step in this regard has already been taken, with parliament approving an $850-million loan from the China Development Bank (CDB) to build a new gas plant. The $850-million loan is part of a larger $3-billion agreement between the government and the CDB to finance a variety of infrastructural development projects.
China’s Sinopec, a petroleum and petrochemicals company, is set to build the necessary infrastructure for the plant ,which will be linked to the Jubilee Field . The project will also include a series of pipelines to bring gas from the offshore.
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