The World Bank Group, has announced the commitment of $517 million in debt and guarantees to support Ghana’s Sankofa Gas Project, an integrated offshore oil and natural gas project that will provide a source of reliable, affordable energy.
The project, being funded through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) members of the WB group, stated in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency that the funding would fuel up to 1,000 megawatts of power generation.
The statement said the IFC and MIGA support sums up World Bank Group financing for the Sankofa Gas Project to approximately $1.217 billion, building on a $700 million guarantee package from the World Bank announced last year that would help Ghana’s National Petroleum Corporation ensure timely payments for gas purchases and that has enabled the project to secure financing from its private sponsors.
It aimed at helping Ghana meet its growing energy needs and displace oil-fired power generation with a clean-burning alternative.
The statement said the $7.7 billion Sankofa project will be developed by Vitol Ghana and Eni Ghana, in partnership with Ghana’s National Petroleum Corporation.
It said the IFC has committed a loan of $235 million to Vitol Ghana and arranging another $65 million in debt from the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Programme, a loan-syndications initiative that enables third-party investors to participate passively in IFC’s senior loan portfolio.
The statement said the IFC financing was part of a $1.35 billion loan facility provided by commercial banks, including HSBC, Société Générale, ING, Standard Chartered Bank, UKEF, among others.
The statement said the MIGA on the other hand has committed commercial lenders with up to $217 million in political risk guarantees.
The statement said Ghana’s government had identified the Sankofa project as one of two transformational projects that would help the country achieve its COP21 commitments for climate mitigation.
“Once it starts to produce gas in early 2018, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions in Ghana by an estimated 1.6 million metric tons annually as gas displaces heavy fuel oil—equivalent to taking 1.2 million cars off the road each year or planting 152 million trees.
“Sankofa is expected to generate $2.3 billion in revenues for Ghana’s government (per year) and provide a stable, long-term source of domestic gas that will solve Ghana’s chronic gas supply constraints,” the statement said.
The statement quoted Phlippe Le Houérou, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, said, “Ghana will require significant power generation and infrastructure to meet the growing needs of its young and expanding population.
“This project demonstrates that private capital can be mobilized on a large scale to contribute to the country’s energy security. Developing Ghana’s domestic natural gas resources will help the country reduce carbon emissions and provide a clean source of power for generations.”
According to the statement, Ian Taylor, CEO of Vitol Group, said, “This is a transformational project for Ghana at an important time.
“The World Bank Group’s involvement, including financing from IFC and MIGA, is enabling Ghanaian gas to be used for the benefit of Ghana’s economic development. We are pleased and proud to be part of this project.
“MIGA’s guarantees will support Vitol Ghana’s commercial borrowing needs for the project and will be issued for up to 15 years, against the risks of Transfer Restriction (including Inconvertibility), Breach of Contract, Expropriation, and War and Civil Disturbance.
“MIGA’s political risk guarantee is a key part of the World Bank Groups’ long-term commitment to serve Ghana’s rising demand for energy. Moreover, the natural gas from the Sankofa Project underpins the nation’s transition to a low-carbon future.” said MIGA Executive Vice President and CEO Keiko Honda.