… but Gas plant Project could be in limbo
By: Korku Devitor& Napo Ali Fuseini
As you read this piece, agents of the Ghana National Petroleum Agency (GNPC) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) are busily counting and marking coconut trees on the 14 kilometer stretch of land between Bonyere and Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western Region.
This action is just the prelude to the devastation in store for coconut plantations on the stretch of land earmarked for Government’s gas industrialization project at Bonyere on a land GNPC estimated as 27.2 Km. sq. The people of the coastal belt of the Western Region cultivate and depend on coconut for their livelihood.
Apart from the little income generated from selling fresh coconuts, copra oil is produced on a large scale for over one hundred years in the Western region, and transported to several Ghanaian and West African markets for sale. And this is the main source of livelihood for most of the residents.
While some of the folks combine this vocation with fishing, others depend on coconut farming predominantly; however the recent oil find in the West Cape Three Points area threatens to strip the people of both livelihoods.
Already fisher folks have been forbidden from fishing in a vast stretch of the sea due to the oil rigs, while the lights generated by drilling activities, as well as lights around the rigs attract the bulk of fish away from the fishing zones to the rigs, leaving fisher folks very little stock of fish to catch.
As if that was not enough, GNPC and VRA have taken over 13 out of the 14 kilometer stretch of land on which the people farm to develop the gas plant for national use.
So far no tangible compensation package has been agreed upon, yet some coconut trees were already mowed down by these agents of state: and it took a publication by this paper for the senselessness to be suspended, only to be reignited on large scale, this time.
The project at Bonyere in Western Nzema may suffer further delay though as bottlenecks surrounding the acquisition of the 27.2 Km sq. piece of land remain unresolved. The project being undertaken by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) is part of government’s plans to harness resources from Ghana’s oil find for national development. The Bonyere project involves the establishment of a $1.2 billion gas processing factory which is expected to feed the Aboadze Thermal plant with gas from the Jubilee fields for power generation.