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General News of Monday, 25 February 2008

Source: GNA

Norway, others assist Ghana

Accra, Feb. 25, GNA - The governments of Ghana and Norway on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on technical cooperation to assist Ghana with the transfer of human and technological resources to fully tap and derive the maximum benefit from the oil discovery. The MOU, made to coincide with the on-going National Forum on Oil and Gas Development, is renewable over five years, and would ensure the adherence to regulatory frameworks, resource management, environmental health and security on oil and gas reserves.

Ghana's development partners have already donated about 250,000 US dollars which was being used to accelerate the exploration activities. Mr Kwame Ampofo Twumasi, Deputy Minister of energy signed for Ghana and Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development signed for Norway.

Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who witnessed the signing, said Ghana spent two billion dollars a day to import crude oil to feed the Tema Oil Refinery and Aboadze Thermal Plant and that the oil discovered would help cut down cost. He said the oil revenue could be channelled towards other developmental purposes, improve on international trade and earn foreign exchange for the country.

Mr Moses Boateng, Managing Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) said apart from the nine offshore companies in the country before the discovery, 20 other transnational companies have applied to take part in the exploration activities. He said it would take about three to five billion US dollars to fully build the Tano/West Cape Three Points Basin also known as the Jubilee Field and commended Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil for their assistance so far.

He said in order to make the national interest paramount, government must obtain at least 51 per cent of all oil drilled in addition to other royalties. Mr. Boateng said the GNPC had been assigned to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to train students in the area of petroleum engineering to enable Ghana to explore the oil and achieve the maximum benefit. Nana Dr. S.K.B. Asante, who chaired the forum said the transnational companies had come with a variety of interests but the national interest must be paramount to provide for her short, medium and long term needs.

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