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General News of Thursday, 10 June 2010

Source: GNA

Oil companies to explain oil exploration impact on communities

Accra, June 10, GNA - Oil drilling companies operating at the oil field in the Western Region are to meet with chiefs, chief fishermen and people of fishing communities to explain the impact the oil and gas exploration will bring.

Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, Minister of Energy, who made this known in Parliament on Wednesday, said such a meeting must precede seismic or drilling operations.

He said large colour photographs of vessels engaged in the operations are provided. The Minister said Tullow Oil Company and the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) had engaged with over coastal communities stretching from Apam to the Cape Three Points in such interactions. Tullow Oil is the operator for the Jubilee Field Project. Responding to questions on the floor of the House, Dr Adjei said a 500 metre exclusive or safety zone had been created around areas of seismic and drilling operations for the safety of fishermen. He added that fishermen have been provided with large, reflective materials to stick with their boats so they could be identified from a distance in the night.

He also noted that Chase vessels, which are used to ward off maritime intruders, have fishermen, who are employed full-time to persuade recalcitrant fishermen to stay out of the exclusion zones. To improve relations with fishing communities, Tullow Oil Company for example is providing giant television screens in some fishing communities to enable them watch the world cup this June. The same Company had also provided medicine to combat elephantiasis and river blindness in some fishing communities, in addition to sinking boreholes.