History was made at 10:15 a.m. yesterday when President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, symbolically turned the wheel on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to officially signify the beginning of oil production on a commercial scale at the Jubilee Field.
The Jubilee Field, which started with the Deepwater Tano and West Cape Three Points licences, was discovered via the Mahogany-1 and Hyedua-1 exploration wells in June and August, 2007.
The two wells were drilled five kilometres apart and intercepted a large continuous accumulation of light sweet crude in excellent quantities stacked in reservoir sandstone with net oil pays.
Addressing a colourful durbar to mark the historical event, President Mills reaffirmed his commitment to transparency and prudent management of the oil revenue to benefit all Ghanaians.
“This is a God-given natural resource belonging to all Ghanaians, including generations unborn, and as I have always said and will continue to say, the oil revenue will be used for the benefit of all and not for the benefit of only a few persons,” he stressed.
President Mills said with the inauguration, the country had joined the large community of oil-producing countries, adding, “We must all glorify in what we have been able to achieve as a people.”
“It has not been an easy journey; there have been ups and downs, but, today, we thank God Almighty for making it possible for Ghana to officially pour out its first oil”, he said.
He said the search for oil began years ago, with successive governments playing significant roles, pointing out that under former President Rawlings, oil exploration was greatly intensified, with the requisite infrastructure established.
“President Rawlings laid a massive foundation for what we are witnessing today,” he said, and acknowledged
President Kufuor’s regime under whom oil was discovered in commercial quantities.
He said the oil and gas would be used to ensure Ghana’s transformation to a prosperous industrial nation.
He reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that every cent of the oil revenue would be used for the benefit of all Ghanaians and not for only a few persons.
He said there would be the establishment of petro-chemical industries, fertiliser and steel industries in the Western Region.
President Mills said his administration would create jobs to ensure a robust economy and further assured the Jubilee partners of a stable environment to operate in.
He, however, charged the oil companies and the investor community to respect the country’s laws, rules and regulations and the need to uphold the law which allowed a percentage of Ghanaians to be employed in the oil industry.
He commended the Jubilee partners, which include Tullow PLC, Anadarko Petroleum, Kosmos Energy, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Sabre Oil and Gas and the E.O. Group, for working hard to ensure the realisation of the dream of Ghana becoming an oil-producing nation.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, said it was obvious that specific employment opportunities would be created in the oil sector.
He said the discovery had created a regional identity, distinguishing the Western Region from others, while the region had become a convergence point for investors.
“It is, however, important to reflect on the fact that in the midst of our anxiety for investment from the industry, we should beware of the challenges as well,” he said.
The Minister of Energy, Dr Joe Oteng-Agyei, acknowledged successive governments for keeping the dream of adding oil production to the country’s other God-given natural resources.
He commended former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor, for keeping the dream alive.
The President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Awulae Attibrukusu III, reminded Ghanaians that the oil did not have the magic to change the country, adding that it was the prudent management of its revenue that would ensure that the benefit was felt by all.