Former Minister for Energy in the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, is raising red flags about the sustainability of the country’s upstream petroleum sector.
He warned that unless new oil wells are developed in the next few years the current producing fields would dry up and leave the country in a serious lurch.
He accused the administration of sleeping on the Job while the sector collapses and warned the government to wake up because the sector is really at risk.
Mr. Kofi Buah’s alarm follows the departure of US oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil, which relinquished its 80% stake in the Deep Water Cape Three Points Oil Field and left the country.
He obseved that the exit of the US company from Ghana’s oil sector could be the result of a general atmosphere of doing business in the country but stressed he would not second guess the reason for their exit.
He, however, indicated that the government has to proffer an explanation to Ghanaians who have been so expectant since the company arrived on their shore.
In an interview in Parliament on Thursday 3rd June 2021, the former Energy Minister indicated that in January 2017 when the NPP government assumed power, Ghana had 16 offshore licences.
“Three were producing fields-Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa Gye Nyame; Hess Pecan Field-Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points was appraised and ready for development; Hess left and sold out to Aker and the rest was history. That field is still begging to be developed,” he said.
According to him, all 12 blocks in exploration stages had obligations to either acquire some amount of 2D or 3D seismic and or drill an exploration well.
This obligation, he said, was well negotiated for in the various Petroleum Agreements signed by the then NDC government.
“From 2017 to date, only four exploration wells have been drilled by AGM. Two wells under amended terms reduced Ghana’s stake from 43 per cent to 18 per cent. Eni (1 well) and Springfield (1 well) for which three oil and gas discoveries were made.”
“Thanks to the good leadership under the NDC, the only producing fields in Ghana today are Jubilee, Sankofa and TEN fields, none has been added.”
“Unfortunately, these fields are declining as we continue production each day of the year. Jubilee has been producing oil and gas since 2010. We have already produced about 50 percent of the Field Reserves.”
“TEN and Sankofa are also going down. If exploration is not prioritised, the industry will die off,” he warned.
According to Mr. Armah Buah, if Ghana does not find more hydrocarbon resources and develop these fields, the service industry, which is already feeling the impact of the lack of activity and dying slowly will go into bankruptcy because of the huge investments that have been made in anticipation of a boom in the upstream petroleum sector.
The situation, he said, is a serious worry for well-meaning Ghanaians and a threat to the economy because if the trend continues, it could lead to investment decisions with dire consequences for the country.