Business News of Monday, 20 February 2012

Source: Ghana Gas Forum

Development Of Ghana’s Gas Industry Key To Industrialisation

The maiden edition of Ghana’s Gas forum has ended with a call by stakeholders in Ghana’s nascent gas industry to ensure the rapid development of the country’s gas industry to ensure the full benefits to be derived from this resource aides in the accelerated development of the country.

The two-day forum which was organized to create an opportunity for stakeholders in oil and gas sector to share ideas on the nation’s gas sector development had representatives from government, oil and gas industry, private sector and civil society groups participating.

The Chairman of the function for the two day conference, Dr Kwesi Botchway, stated that the value of the discussions held at the two-day event was geared towards unearthing the potential of gas to the economy of Ghana.

“The constraints of power generation and its availability have been a barrier to industrial output in the country. Gas will be a tremendous boost for the economy, since it goes a long way in providing the much needed power for our industries”, Dr Botchway said.

Corroborating the assertions of Dr Botchway, the deputy Minister of Energy, Hon. Kofi Buah said a lot of industries had collapsed in the country primarily because of the cost and availability of power in the country.

The priority of the government, according to Mr Buah, was to address this issue to ensure the availability of power an affordable cost for industries which will go a long way to ensuring job creation as well as government’s dream of industrialisation of the country.

The Agricultural industry, through the production of fertiliser as well, would also benefit from the gas industry, Mr Buah said.

The Acting Chief Executive of the newly created Ghana National Gas Company (Ghanagas), Dr George Sipa Yankey assured participants of government’s determination of ensuring a fully functional gas industry by the end of this year.

According to the Ghanagas boss, the necessary regulatory framework for exploration, development, production, conditioning, processing and transportation of gas has been put in place. He further added that phase 1 of the gas industry, which involves the construction of an offshore pipeline, a gas processing plant and an associated onshore pipeline to the Aboadze Thermal plant, would be ready by the end of this year.

Mr Kweku Awotwi, Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority, who was a speaker at the forum, stated that there was the urgent need for Ghana to quickly accelerate the development of its gas industry, mainly because of the quantity of gas needed to power the thermal plants in the country.

“Thermal power generation is certainly the way to go because of the skyrocketing prices of crude oil on the world market. Natural gas literally cuts crude oil bills by half and as such gas is essential. The supply of gas from Nigeria has also been erratic, and as a result of this, it is extremely important that Ghana quickly develops her gas industry”, Mr Awotwi added.

The main speaker for the day, Mr Stephen Dow, a lecturer at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy took participants through the risks of privitisation and liberalisation options in the gas industry.

He stated that it was up to Ghana to decide which regime it wanted to adopt warning that copying a model from another country would be disastrous for the country. He urged that the overarching factor in the selection of either privatisation or liberalisation options should always be geared towards the achievement of the country’s policy goals.

Other speakers at the forum included Mr Kwame Pianim, Member of the Petroleum Commission; Charles Adeniji, Managing Director of the West African Gas Pipeline; Mr Seth Terkper, deputy Minister of Finance; Albert Kan Dapaah MP; and Mr Philip Liverpool, commercial manager of Kosmos Energy.

The maiden edition of “Ghana’s Gas Forum” was organised by Entelligentsia, Ramel International Group, and Ghana Oil Club, with sponsorship from Cirrus Oil, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and Kosmos. The conference was held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel on February 15-16, 2012.