The government and Lonrho Plc, a multi-national firm have initiated a partnership move which is expected to lead to the construction of an oil services port to provide services to vessels that participate in the nation’s emerging oil industry.
The port is deemed to be critical to the industry since its availability would ensure that oil vessels that visit Ghana’s Jubilee fields secured efficient and timely maintenance services so as to avoid accidents.
In that regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Tuesday August 16, 2011 between the government and Lonrho for a feasibility study for the project.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Transport signed for the government, while Geoffrey White, Chief Executive of Lonrho initialled for his firm which has a vast experience in building of such ports to offer support services in the oil industry.
After the feasibility study which will to take about a year, the two parties would be expected to enter either a public-private partnership or joint venture agreement for the construction of the port.
The government would be required to provide the land area while Lonrho would handle the financial arrangements for the proposed project that would be situated close to the Jubilee field.
“This oil service port is vital for the effective operations in the country’s oil industry,” the Minister said, adding that the port would be dedicated solely to oil vessels.
“This will surely add value to the oil industry,” he stressed. For Lonrho, Mr. White is optimistic that the intended project, which he described as a one-stop-shop for shipyard services, would help the oil industry to contribute more towards advancing the national economy.
“Lonrho’s strategy of investing in infrastructure can assist regional development, while adding shareholder value,” he said.
The firm, he said would draw strength from the its experience in other oil producing countries, particularly Equatorial Guinea where it built one of the largest oil service ports in the world, to execute the project in Ghana.
Built by Lonrho Plc, the Luba Freeport in Equatorial Guinea is a logistics centre for the burgeoning oil and gas industries in the Gulf of Guinea. It is a natural deepwater port situated in a large secluded bay providing depths of up to 45 metres on the southern side of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.
The Luba port is a joint venture between Government (37 per cent) and Lonrho Plc (63 per cent) and managed by Lonrho. Significantly, Luba is surrounded by open land, and that allows it to have room for expansion, in contrast to most African ports which are seriously congested, “city locked” and have no further land available to cope with the expanding African oil market.