The first volume of gas from the long-awaited West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) flowed to its planned terminus in Ghana last Friday, President J.A. Kufuor has announced.
Addressing the opening session of the marathon congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Saturday to elect the party's flag- bearer for the 2008 elections, the President said the gas would provide a more affordable source of energy to the country than crude oil.
The gas project is jointly owned by the Chevron oil company which has 36.7 per cent equity; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 25 per cent; Shell 18 per cent, Ghana's Volta River Authority 16.3 per cent, Societe Togoliase de Gaz (SoToGaz), two per cent, and Societe BenGaz S.A. (SoBeGaz) two per cent.
During the recent energy shortages resulting from the decrease of the water level of the Akosombo Dam, the main source of power generation in the country, one of the policy options expedited by the government to address the energy shortfalls was the gas pipeline project.
Recounting some of the blessings of the year, the President said “only yesterday (Friday) the long-awaited West Africa Gas Pipeline came on stream with its first flow of gas.
This is a more affordable source of energy than crude oil.”
He said that the construction of the Bui Dam had commenced, and after many decades of prospecting, Ghana had struck oil in commercial quantities.
“The future is very bright indeed,” he said.
President Kufuor said year 2007 was the Jubilee Year which promised to be the period of hope and blessing.
A lot of things were going well for the NPP in government, the President said, and asked the party faithful not to spare any effort to trumpet the success story of the ruling party to guarantee the renewal of the its mandate in the next election.
“We have a solid record to take into 2008 elections. Let us do nothing to disappoint ourselves and the nation,” he said.
The President said the government had worked very hard and the challenge to the ruling party was how to capture and repackage it for sustained electioneering.
“Throughout the regions, the nation is being renewed with massive infrastructure, telecommunication and electricity,” he stated, and recalled that last week the rehabilitated Accra-Tema rail line, which was virtually abandoned 20 years ago, was inaugurated.
Additionally, he said $90 million had been sourced by the government to begin the rehabilitation of the Eastern and Western rail lines next year.
He further noted that the introduction of the Capitation Grant, School Feeding Programme and the housing programme had resulted in increase in basic school enrolment across the country.
“Like the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), these programmes are safety nets to protect the people generally who otherwise might not have access to vital social services,” he said.
President Kufuor said in spite of the initial difficulties, when the NPP took office in 2001, the government was able to arrest the decline and build a solid foundation and economic super structure for the country.
President Kufuor used the platform of the congress to apologise for any acts of omission or commission on his part
“In the exercise of the onerous responsibility such as the presidency, l must have made mistakes but none is deliberate or out of malice.
“Let me nevertheless use this platform to apologise to you for any act of omission or commission during the period of my stewardship,” he said.
Story by Nehemia Owusu Achiaw