Ghana to select partner for $1b natural-gas plant within a month

oilThe government of Ghana intends to select a partner for a $1 billion natural gas processing project within a month, according to the Bloomberg news service.

The report quoted the head of Ministry of Energy upstream petroleum, Kwaku Boateng as saying an investor will be selected by “late August or early September.”

The country’s oil and gas exploration company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) invited bids from interested investors in May. Mr. Boateng told Bloomberg that the GNPC had received 10 applications.

“All were outside though some have local partners,” he said, declining to name any bidders.

While the government had hoped the plant would be ready by the fourth quarter of 2010 to coincide with the start of oil production, that timeline is “unlikely,” Boateng said.

“Realistically, middle of 2011,” he said.

The Jubilee field’s producers, which also include Ghana National Petroleum, Kosmos Energy LLC and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., plan to invest $3.1 billion in the Jubilee project. In July, Tullow said the field will make Ghana one of the world’s top 50 oil producers.

Ghana will adopt “a policy of zero gas flaring,” Boateng told Bloomberg. If the plant isn’t ready by the time oil pumping begins, producers will store the gas until it can be used.

Ghana is also looking at expanding its domestic oil refining capacity, Boateng said.

The state-owned Tema Oil Refinery Ltd., the country’s only refiner, can produce as much as 45,000 barrels of oil products per day for the domestic market. The government plans to expand that to 145,000 barrels a day by raising cash or bringing in a “strategic investor” for a joint venture, Boateng said.

Ghana may also “build a completely new refinery,” he said, without providing further details.

Separately, two foreign companies have submitted bids to build export-focused refineries in the Western region, Boateng said. He didn’t elaborate.
Ghana found oil in commercial quantity in 2007. Commercial production is expected to begin in June 2010.

Dr Kwabena Donkor, Deputy Minister of Energy had said that under Phase One of the Jubilee Field project, 120,000 barrels of oil and 120,000 million standard cubic feet of dry gas per day would be produced in 2010.

Production would be increased to 240,000 barrels of oil and 240,000 million standard cubic feet of gas per day under the second phase of the Jubilee Field project which is expected to commence in 2013.

According to him, “the appraisals so far conducted indicate that the Jubilee Field contains expected recoverable reserves of about 800 million barrels of light crude, with an upside potential of about three billion barrels”.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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