As the various stakeholders are making final preparations and putting finishing touches to production and other facilities ahead of the coming on stream of the offshore oil and gas industry that comprises 16 wells under the first phase of the Jubilee Field Development Programme, information reaching your favourite, The Heritage, is that a number of foreign oil exploration and production companies have also expressed initial interest in the onshore Voltaian Basin.
The Voltaian Basin, which is being marketed by the GNPC and open for license alongside the offshore sector, comprises a total land area of 103,600 sq km that stretches from mid country to the northern sector and believed to be a potential source for commercial onshore oil and gas resources based on earlier seismic survey studies conducted by a Soviet Geological team in the 1960s.
The Geological Survey Department (GSD), with the support of the European Union (EU), conducted a gravity survey in the Voltaian basin under the mining sector support programme in 2008 against the background of an earlier 50km seismic survey carried out by a Soviet Survey Geological Team in the Tamale area that encountered traces of hydrocarbon.
A total of 208 km 2D seismic survey had so far been done in the Voltaian basin as at 1971 with oil stains found in 10 boreholes that were being drilled for water and also, bitumen impregnation in limestone deposits were found. These came to light during the ongoing Policy Fair when the technical staff members of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) were interacting with the general public at its stand yesterday in Accra.
Following the persistent unwillingness of the technical staff to be quoted by the press because they said they had not been authorized to speak to the press, your authoritative, the Heritage, got the Exploration and Production Manager of the GNPC, Thomas Manu, in a phone interview and he collaborated with the staff had earlier said, adding that a number of issues were still being taken into consideration regarding the companies who have so far expressed interest in the offshore Voltaian basin.
He said the financial, technical competence of the companies and what model they are going to use are all still being critically evaluated and what is more,” a company could today express initial interest and later abandon their interest for one reason or the other and that is why the GNPC has not been hasty in going public to announce the names of the said companies for now.”
The much smaller onshore Keta basin in the Volta region prospects is also being seriously being looked at and would be promoted alongside the Voltaian basin.
According to onshore oil industry experts, the cost of exploration and production onshore is said to be less capital intensive as land rigs could be used as against drill ships which cost about one million United States dollars a day for drilling during exploration in the offshore industry.