President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Equatorial Guinean counterpart, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, witnessed the agreement, which was signed by Ghana’s Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, and the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea, Mr Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima.
The signing ceremony was part of the programme lined up for the three-day visit by President Nana Akufo-Addo to Equatorial Guinea at the invitation of President Mbasogo.
The two ministers have been given a deadline by the two Presidents to ensure that the gas supply to Ghana starts by the end of this year.
Addressing journalists on his return home, Mr Agyarko said that there had been previous agreements between the two countries which could not come into effect.
Certainty of the agreement
“But this time, we have been given the marching orders by both Presidents to make sure that by the end of 2017 the agreement (for the supply of LNG) comes alive.
“For some time we relied on Nigeria for the supply of gas from the Nigeria Gas Company, transmitted by the West African Gas Pipeline Company.
“The performance of that arrangement has been very unsatisfactory. Out of the 120 million scf of gas per day we are to receive on a daily basis, on the best of days only 30 million scf of gas per day is received, which had a negative impact on our ability to generate power, using gas as its fuel stock,” said.
The arrangement with Equatorial Guinea, he added, would bring in LNG which could be stored for 21 days and used accordingly to further improve Ghana’s power situation.
Better days for power generation
“Properly delivered, this will allow Asogli, for example, to expand its power production from 120 megawatts (MW) and scale-up all the way to 580MW. This will, to a very large extent, stabilise further electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
“At the conclusion of the arrangement, it is our faithful expectation that gas, as a feed stock, instead of crude oil, will be cheaper in terms of power production. This could mean that once the cost of producing electricity comes down, we will be in a better position to lower the user tariffs that our citizens pay for electricity,” he said.
Mr Agyarko described the development as good news, stressing: “We are glad that under the President’s leadership and direction, we have been able to come this far. The nation will begin to benefit from what has happened over this trip.”
President returns home
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo returned to Ghana on Wednesday after his three-day official visit to Equatorial Guinea.
The visit served as an opportunity for the two countries to strengthen their bilateral cooperation.
The meetings between Presidents Nana Akufo-Addo and Mbasogo were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere, as the two leaders examined issues bordering on bilateral, regional and international cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to work hand-in-hand to strengthen the ties of cooperation for the mutual benefit of their people.
During the visit, the two Heads of State mandated their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs to reactivate the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana, which serves as the framework to promote cooperation in the areas of oil and gas, energy, agriculture, food security, mineral resources, maritime transport, civil aviation, trade, defence and security, education, health, among others.
In the area of maritime transport, Ghana proposed the establishment of a shipping link between the two countries using the ‘Tema-Port Harcourt-Douala-Malabo’ route, which will also boost trade and commercial activities between West and Central Africa.
Following further discussions and deliberations, both countries agreed and subsequently signed two agreements, namely: the waiver of visa requirements for citizens of both countries holding diplomatic, official and service passports and Heads-of-State agreement on the supply of LNG and the support regarding import infrastructure.
Multilaterally, both Heads of State expressed their support for global and African initiatives for the prevention of and peaceful settlement of conflicts, respect for the charters of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), independence and sovereignty of states, as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Presidents Akufo-Addo and Mbasogo also expressed concern over the resurgence of tension on the African continent and agreed on the urgent need to combat the growing threats of terrorism.
They condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Spain and Iceland and regretted the loss of human lives in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other parts of the world.
The two also expressed their desire to achieve regional integration through the AU Agenda to achieve a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which is aimed at boosting intra-African trade.
President Akufo-Addo congratulated his Equatorial-Guinean counterpart on the election of Equatorial Guinea as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2018-2019.
Touching on UN reforms, the two leaders agreed that African countries should support the Ezulwuni Consensus and expand the representation of African countries into the categories of permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC, with the purpose of making it more efficient, legitimate and representative to reflect the realities of the world today.