Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - Ghana on Thursday said it is keen on developing her energy sector into becoming a strategic net exporter of power in the West African sub-region.
In this regard, major infrastructural projects that would enhance the performance of the downstream petroleum sector were being developed while costs of transportation and oil refinery would be examined in order to facilitate the concept.
Briefing journalists in Accra, Dr Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Energy, said his Ministry had taken serious note of the achievements of the petroleum sectors in the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand, among others, which did not produce crude oil, but had become significant stations for refining crude oil.
He said some of them had developed profitable petrochemical industries that had transformed their economies making them strategic crude oil sources.
Dr Nduom said the Buipe-Bolgatanga Pipeline Project and the Single Buoy Mooring/Conventional Buoy Mooring Project would be developed to enhance the performance of downstream petroleum sector.
He said that in July 2000 the then Ministry of Mines and Energy entered into an understanding to reduce freight and demurrage costs incurred by Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for crude and products imports.
"Currently, the Ministry of Energy has successfully negotiated an Offshore Mooring Agreement and executed the contract in January 2004 for construction. Parliamentary approval for the project was secured in July 2004."
He said the Ghana National Petroleum Company was restructured to enable it to focus on its core function of facilitating petroleum exploration in the country while the review of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law with the assistance of the Economic and Legal Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat had been completed.
Dr Nduom said the Ministry had signed new exploration agreements with Kosmos Energy of the US and negotiated and signed the Saltpond Redevelopment Agreement with Lushan Eternit Energy.
The Energy Minister noted that to put Ghana on pole position, a negotiation team had been composed to negotiate for exploration rights with an oil company, Amerada Hess while four applications were being reviewed. "With this attraction of companies to Ghana, it will in the near future make it join the ranks of oil producing countries.
Dr Nduom said government was feverishly working to position Ghana on the road to becoming a significant refining station in Africa with a major petrochemical industry.
He said steps had been taken to conduct a pre-feasibility study into the development of an export-oriented refinery in the Western Region. "Six companies have expressed interest in the refinery and follow-up activities are on-going."
Dr Nduom noted that in developing this idea, the Ghana/Equatorial Guinea collaboration in the petrol industry would be reaffirmed. "The Equatorial Guinea side has agreed to supply crude oil to Ghana and in return receive refined petroleum products," Dr Nduom said. "The technical details of the arrangements are being worked out to the mutual benefit of both countries."