Above all else, Accra is keen to ensure that it exploits the wave of optimism sweeping the country’s hydrocarbon prospects by licensing previously unexplored acreage.
The Tullow Oil-led consortium that is developing the Jubilee scheme has experienced a number of technical difficulties but there is little doubt that the project will yield substantial oil production for many years to come. Phase 1 was expected to produce 125,000 b/d but output fluctuated wildly during 2013 before normal operations resumed towards the end of the year.
The Minister of Energy, Emmaneul Armah Kofi Buah, explained: “This improvement is as a result of a successful acid stimulation operation performed on five of the nine Jubilee production wells.” However, it remains to be seen when Phase 2, which would boost production to 250,000 b/d, will be sanctioned.
Government finances have obviously benefitted from the addition of oil production to an already successful economy. A total of 77m barrels of oil had been produced on Jubilee by 10 September, of which 13m barrels were allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
According to government figures, Accra earned $1.4bn from oil production between 2011 and June 2013; and oil has now overtaken cocoa as the country’s second most valuable source of export revenue, behind gold.
It could even outshine gold if other fields are brought on stream. A development plan for the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) project on the Deepwater Tano Area has already been agreed. The consortium developing the scheme comprises Anglo-Irish firm Tullow (47.175%), Kosmos Energy (17%), Anadarko Petroleum (17%), Sabre Oil & Gas (3.825%), which is now owned by South Africa’s Petro SA, and the GNPC (15%).
The venture’s floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will have storage capacity of 1.7m barrels, is to be constructed in Japan. The TEN reserves are estimated at 300-500m barrels, with output of 76,000 b/d of crude oil and 170m cubic feet of natural gas expected.
Tullow chief executive Aidan Heavey said: “This is an important project that will give Ghana its second major offshore development. The government of Ghana…has set us a number of important targets around local content and supply chain. I have every confidence that we will meet these targets.”
The TEN fields, which are located 30km west of the Jubilee Field and 60km off the coast of Ghana, are expected to come on stream in 2016. It is also hoped that a development plan for the Sankofa and Gye Nyame oil and gas fields on the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Block can be finalised in the near future. The consortium that controls the venture comprises Eni (47.22%), Vital (37.38%) and GNPC (15%).
While oil production of 50,000 b/d will be more than welcome, the government is particularly interested in gas production capacity of 160m cubic feet per day, which will be used to supply the Aboadze power plant and hopefully other onshore customers. The fields have estimated recoverable reserves of 150m barrels of crude oil and 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. First oil production is expected in 2016 and first gas in 2017.
The government is also keen to encourage exploration in the onshore Volta Basin, which covers more than a third of the entire country. The chief executive of the GNPC, Nana Boakye Asafu Adjaye, said. “We have conducted field mapping and site surveying of selected locations for slim hole drilling.”