Work on Ghana’s first gas processing plant located at Atuabo has begun in earnest.
“Part of the land has been cleared to make way for tents and equipment to be brought to the site,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Gas Company, Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey has revealed in an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com.
“I am optimistic we will meet the time lines for the completion of this project except that the rains have made us lose some few days” he said.
The gas infrastructure was originally planned to be put up at Atuabo but was moved to Bonyere and has been moved back to Atuabo. “The back and forth movement is purely due to technical and geodetic reasons,” an official of the company says.
Even though Bonyere is in the Jomoro Distict and Atuabo in the Ellembele District, both are coastal Nzema communities in the Western Region.
“It has gone beyond us and there is nothing we can do. We are not happy with the development, they say they will rather put up a petro-chemical industry and now power plant at Bonyere,” Nana Nyamekeh Annor III, one of the claimants to the Bonyere stool said.
“An industrial petro-chemical project will be developed at Bonyere and other communities will be included in this project,” Head of Operations at Ghana Gas Company, Mr Jacob McWood said. “Owners of affected lands in Bonyere would however be compensated for any land used,” he added.
“Compensation for residents whose coconut trees were cut down when the land was being demarcated will be due next week,” Dr. Yankey announced.
A visit to Bonyere and Atuabo, did not indicate much except some short pillars ostensibly to demarcate the land intended for the project and the clearing of part of the land to make way for tents and equipment to be brought to the site respectively. Citizens of Atuabo community are very expectant of the project on their land and have given assurance that, they will do all they can to support the project.
Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry announced in May this year that, plans are far advanced for the construction of a 900 megawatts power plant at Domunli in the Jomoro area of the Western region.
“We welcome the new project and I believe it is part of rural development,” Assembly Member for Akasnazo area in the Bonyere community, Peter Nweah said.
Francis Taney Koudjo, a 38 year old resident of Bonyere who presently sells sachet water at Bonyere junction, says after receiving the Sigma Base training at Takoradi, he is expected to undergo further apprenticeship training in wielding but at the moment he cannot afford the apprenticeship fees. So he has resolved to sell sachet water to raise the money.
“I am not happy about the news to relocate the gas project. Bonyere is more suitable for the project so it should be shifted back to Bonyere.” He says, “I have no problem about the Chinese investors if only they would employ the locals during the construction.”
An 18 year old secondary school student at Bonyere, Salifu Alima says, she is not happy that, the gas plant has been relocated. According to her, “Atuabo is more developed than Bonyere so Bonyere needs to be brought up also in terms of development.”
At Atuabo, Ishmael Aboagye, a teacher at the Atuabo Junior High School, presently pursuing a distance degree programme at the University of Cape Coast says, he has been teaching for about four years now. He said, “enough of the politicization of the gas project. Whether Ellembelle or Jomoro, we are all Nzemas.”
“I am not interested in working at the gas plant or pursue courses that will give me an edge to work at the gas plant. A scholarship was even announced, I turned down the offer. I have my own plans,” he added.
Gifty Kainya, a wig seller in Atuabo said, Atuabo happens to be the original site for the gas plant before it was taken to Bonyere. “If they have seen it proper to bring it back to its original place, then it is good news. Our people shall get jobs to do. I might want to expand my wig business because a lot more people will come here and would need wigs to do their hair,” she projected.
“The gas infrastructure was originally planned to be put up at Atuabo but was moved to Bonyere and has been moved back to Atuabo,” Kofi Menlah, the Linguist to the Chief of Atuabo happily said.
“The reality is, if it is going to be appropriate to have it at Atuabo, we welcome it”, the Paramount Chief of Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III said.
The gas plant site at Atuabo
The site for the gas plant at Atuabo is a large and bare grassland area with pillars demarcating the exact area for the construction and the new development of part of the land being cleared to make way for tents and equipment. There are no coconut trees on the site. Asemda is a small community just beyond the site, but according to Dr Sipa Yankey, the community would not be affected by the construction so there will be no resettlement for them.
Most of the residents engage in fishing and farming of food stuff like coconut, cassava among others. Some residents also engage in petty trading and driving.