The Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) is making steady progress with its implementation of Phase I of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project.
While the contractors for the project, Sinopec are racing against the clock to ensure that the plant is delivered to the country on schedule, officials of Ghana Gas ordered that clearing of lands for the project be halted to ensure that proper crop enumeration is done and satisfactory agreement reached between them and the community.
Speaking to Daily Graphic about the project, Mr Guure Brown Guure, Head of Corporate Communications of Ghana Gas said though the company is determined to complete the project on time, to avert gas flaring and/or reinjection, the company is respecting the collective and individual sensitivities of the local people.
He however lamented that recent sentiments raised on some media circles about the issue of compensation indicated a lack of appreciation of the process. “Ghana Gas had to wait for the Land Valuation Division (LVD) to enumerate and value the crop fields and direct, in the form of a report, how much Ghana Gas should pay and to whom”.
“We have only recently received this report from the LVD and are putting in place the necessary logistics to effect payment to over 1400 claimants- I can confirm that in the next two weeks, all claimants would be fully compensated”, he explained.
Members of the various communities near Atuabo welcomed the project after initial uncertainty about crops on the land that the project is situated. This led to the issuance of From (F) to affected farmers while alternative livelihood interventions were being discussed.
When the Daily Graphic visited the community, residents said they had series of engagements with Ghana Gas including a recent joint public forum organised by the company and the Environmental Protection Agency at Esiama.
One of the farmers, who gave her name as Maame Akua, told the Daily Graphic in her cassava farm that, “1 must be honest with you that land is not for me, I am only using it for farming on lease basis.”
She said when the Ghana Gas officials came to the community, “We had a meeting, and they counted every crop even though some of the crops are not doing well, but they counted all after that they gave us a form for payment”. Asked if she is happy Ghana Gas was taking over the farm land, said “Where to farm currently is not our problem, we will move to other parts of the town to farm, we know the project will bring more jobs for our children”.
The Tufohene of the town who also corroborated the claim by the farmers said they needed the project and that the initial problems with crop compensation had been resolved awaiting payment. Other farmers said even though some of the areas had been marked as possible project sites, they were still at liberty to harvest their crops until the developers were ready.
The Western Regional House of Chiefs which endorsed the project has also set up a working committee to ensure that projects are delivered and the interest of the people protected.
The President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs who leads members of the working committee to the area from time to time to monitor progress said the house was happy with the progress of work and commended Ghana Gas for respecting the cultural sensitivities of the people.
The project is expected to accelerate economic development, support strategic objective of becoming a petroleum processing hub and resume Ghana’s strategic role as preferred exporter of power in the sub-region.
When the country discovered oil and realized that it had associated gas, the former President, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills set up the Ghana National Gas Development Taskforce in September 2010 before the first oil in December same year. The focus was to review all aspects of the proposed Gas Commercialization Project, then under development “by Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and there was a recommendation for a project developer in the form of a National Gas Company to be set up.
The focus was to establish feed industries that could be compared to Point Lisas Industrial Estate, which houses the world’s biggest ammonia plant and also hosts a total of 103 industries connected to gas feedstock comprising a mix of world-class methanol, ammonia and urea plants, three steel plants, a power plant and service companies.
To achieve these dreams Ghana Gas was established in July 2011, tasked with the responsibility to build, own and operate natural gas infrastructure to gather, process transport and market to satisfy the high domestic and industrial demands to ensure that gas associated with the country’s oil was harnessed to the fullest.
One of the country’s main problems was the huge amounts spent on importation of light crude for powering the thermal plants at Aboadze in the Shama District and Tema, to ensure that power is made available to commerce and industry as well as for domestic use.
In the short term, Ghana Gas seeks to build the early phase gas infrastructure project by the end of 2012. The project will comprise a fully integrated and profitable gas business to serve the local and export markets. That aside, there was an acquisition of sites at Domunli (Bonyere, Egbazo, Kabenlasuazo, Ndumsuazo, Bokakole) Atuabo, Esiama, Inchaban, and Prestea to prepare and build requisite infrastructure tor gas operations and control centers, incorporating helicopter surveillance fleet for protection of the gas facilities.
To achieve this and ensure a fully integrated system, the plant itself would be situated at Atuabo in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region. The dry gas will be piped to Dumunli and Nauli to the power plant, the tank farm which would be made available to the petrochemical industries, limestone and clinker facilities. From the Atuabo plant the facilities would be linked to Esiama terminal and redirected to power the Tarkwa and Aboadze thermal plants.
In the medium/long term there would be expansion phase of the infrastructure which will see the network of pipelines from the Jubilee FPSO, TEN, Sankofa fields offshore and other reserves from the basin to the plant.
Jubilee FPSO began production in the December 2010 with estimated peak oil production of 120,000 barrels per day (bopd) and 120-160 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d). It is envisioned that 120 rnmscf/d of dense phase gas would be piped from the Jubilee Field FPSO to the Gas Processing Plant by December 2012 and work is currently rigorously ongoing. Currently the gas produced in the Jubilee field is injected into the reservoirs.
However, since the Jubilee Field cannot sustain long periods of gas injection without damaging the reservoirs and curtailing production as aforementioned, the plant had to be delivered. Also Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme complex has large components of gas with production likely to start by 2015. That aside, Sankofa, Gye-Nyame also have estimated Gas resources of 5TCF. The significant gas reserves in the Tano Basin also constitute good financial and economic value to the country.
The natural gas project, especially, will generate employment, create new infrastructure to support a vibrant petroleum and petrochemical industry. Harnessing the gas would also provide a new economic growth pole for the country and provide the opportunity for a more competitive pricing of indigenous gas as well as generation of much lower cost power, secure competitiveness of local industries and accelerate economic development and support strategic objective of becoming a petroleum processing hub. This, according to Ghana Gas would ensure that the country resumes its strategic role as a preferred exporter of power in the sub-region.
The country’s dependence on light crude oil and diesel used for power generation will be replaced with a less expensive and more environmentally friendly natural gas. The gas project is long overdue and every effort must be made to support its full realization.