Former Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has asked the government to, as matter of urgency, revamp the nation’s upstream petroleum sector.
He said, he was concerned about the likely collapse of the sector, and for the upstream oil industry to be sustained there should be based for continuous production and development of new fields to replace those drying up.
“I am telling you that things are not going on well for us in the upstream oil industry; other than that, the three oil-producing fields would dry up,” Mr. Buah said.
Mr. Buah made the remarks at a press conference in Parliament House, following the decision by United States (US) oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil, to relinquish its 80 percent stake in the deep-water Cape Three Points Oil Block.
“If Ghana does not find more hydrocarbon resources and develop these fields, the worst fear is that the service industry, which is already feeling the impact of the lack of activity and is dying slowly, will go into bankruptcy if the trend continues and this must worry well-meaning Ghanaians,” Mr Buah stated.
Mr. Buah also said prior to the assumption of the New Patriotic Party Administration (NPP) in January 2017, Ghana had 16 offshore licenses. Three were producing fields – Jubilee, TEN, and Sankofa Gye Nyame.
He said when the Hess Pecan Field-Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points was appraised and ready for development.
However, Hess left and sold out to Aker but the field was yet to be developed.
He noted that all 12 blocks in exploration stages had obligations to either acquire some amount of 2D or 3D seismic data and or drill an exploration well.
“This obligation was well negotiated for in the various Petroleum Agreements signed by the then government,” he added.
Mr Buah also stated that since 2017, only four exploration wells had been drilled by AGM with two wells under amended terms, which reduced Ghana’s take from 43 percent to 18 percent and the ENI (one well) and Springfield (one well) for which three oil and gas discoveries were made.
Apart from the three producing fields – Jubilee, Sankofa, and TEN – none had been added.
“Unfortunately, these fields are declining as the country continues production each day of the year,” the former Minister, who also the MP for Ellembelle said. “The Jubilee field, which has been producing oil and gas since 2010 has already produced about 50 percent of the field reserves.”
Mr. Kofi-Buah stated that the TEN and Sankofa fields, which had been producing were going down.
He warned that if oil exploration was not prioritised, the industry would die off.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH