The Minister of Energy, Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, has cautioned that the country's oil exploratory efforts may be derailed if the peaceful atmosphere that presently exists is not sustained.
Addressing journalists at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday, he said it was quite obvious that foreign investors were closely monitoring the situation in the country before making more financial commitments and investments in exploratory activities.
Responding to a question on when the oil would finally flow, Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the cost of oil exploration was high, as a result of which those who made any investments were wary not to invest in a country where poor governance and chaos could adversely affect those investments.
The minister said it is, therefore, important for Ghanaians to work hard to preserve the peace and good governance in the country so that in the end the investors would not leave the country, with the excuse that the oil find was a “hoax”.
He said it is also important to factor in the issue of the equipment required to drill the oil and explained that some of the equipment had to be produced within a time frame of about 18 months.
The minister said the oil and gas discoveries were in two blocks, the Deep Water Cape Three Points and the Deep Water Tano called the Jubilee Field, and said the discoveries were made under two separate petroleum agreements operated by Kosmos and Tullow.
“The appraisal conducted so far indicates that the field contains expected recoverable reserves of about 800 million barrels of light crude oil, with an upside potential of about three billion barrels,” he stated.
He said the Jubilee Field is expected to be developed in three phases and explained that during the first phase, which is to be completed by 2010, the daily production would be about 120,000 barrels of oil and about 120 million cubic feet of gas.
Mr Owusu-Adjapong added that the second phase would be carried out between 2010 and 2012 and would lead to a daily production of 250,000 barrels of oil and 250 million cubic feet of gas.
“From the discoveries in the Jubilee Field, it has become clear that Ghana is poised to become a major oil and gas country, as it has led to great interest in Ghana's oil and gas prospects,” he stated.
The minister said currently there were 11 petroleum companies operating in the country at different stages of exploration or development, while many others had expressed interest in entering the industry.
He gave the assurance that the government was determined to put in place the right institutional framework to ensure the judicious development and exploitation of the country's oil and gas resources.
“In that respect, the National Petroleum Oversight Authority Bill has been prepared by the Attorney-General's Department for presentation to Parliament. The bill, when passed, will provide the necessary institutional blueprints for the proper management of the oil and gas resources,” he said.