In 2007, Tullow Oil and accomplice Kosmos Vitality found substantial petroleum reserves in the Jubilee area 37 miles off the coast of Ghana. Oil manufacturing began in December 2010, attended by slightly inflated expectations of sudden wealth for this rapidly creating West African nation. As Christiane Badgley says in certainly one of her many authoritative articles on Ghana’s oil business, nothing appears to capture the general public imagination like oil.

2000m3 storage tankMany Ghanaians who’ve been working in Nigeria’s petroleum industry are returning residence to Takoradi, Ghana’s “oil city” at the center of the boom. The Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Affiliation has estimated that a healthy downstream sector (refining crude oil and producing oil derivatives) could create one hundred,000 jobs. Nonetheless, the upstream industry (oil exploration and manufacturing) is a specialised space that requires a relatively small number of highly skilled personnel.


Ghana’s 2011 oil production of eighty five,000 barrels per day (bpd) fell wanting the goal of one hundred twenty,000. The exact reasons for the underperformance stay unclear, but at a conservative oil price of $eighty five per barrel, the shortfall has resulted in a loss of $three million a day of potential income. Despite this, Tullow’s CEO Aidan Heavey is firmly towards trying to hurry manufacturing, stating that the earliest date for hitting the target is the first quarter of 2013.

While Tullow manages the Jubilee area, the Ghana National Petroleum Firm (GNPC) is in charge of harnessing Petroleum Equipment pure fuel. Tullow has demonstrated its deftness in developing the oil field, however the GNPC has failed to establish the required infrastructure for natural fuel. This can be a critical problem for Ghana, which plans to make use of natural gasoline to generate electricity. The nation’s electricity demand has outstripped the whole output of its present hydroelectric plants.

In the meanwhile, Ghana receives much of its gasoline from the West African Gasoline Pipeline, but the availability is inadequate to fulfill Ghana’s wants. The Enterprise & Monetary Instances stories that Ghana has this month “reverted to electricity rationing” as a result of unreliable Nigerian gas supplies. Ghana’s notorious electricity cuts are extra than simply an annoyance. They negatively impression businesses, many of that are obligated to put in costly onsite generators to choose up the slack when a energy failure occurs.

Native Content

“Native content material” refers back to the degree of participation of native Ghanaian expertise and enterprise in the oil and gas trade. In its Native Content material Policy Framework, Ghana’s Ministry of Power states that the government’s coverage objective is to “give first consideration to Ghanaian unbiased operators within the award of oil blocks, oil subject licenses, [and] oil lifting licenses.”

Amid a fear of “going the way of Nigeria,” where fierce battle in the Niger Delta has raged for many years, Ghanaians are showing clear indicators that they need to be in control of their country’s future and care deeply about how multinationals like Tullow and Kosmos Power exploit their oil. At petroleum boards like the annual Oil & Gas Convention & Exhibition, there are calls for native content material and resistance to the “invasion of overseas service suppliers.” Some critics query why the government is just not being more aggressive than its acknowledged aim of securing 90 percent of oil-associated jobs for Ghanaians by 2020. Francis M.Ok. Sallah, a high-ranking petroleum trade unionist, thinks that skilled Ghanaian laborers akin to welders and pipe fitters might fill half of those positions proper now. Edwin Van-Otoo, vice president of the Ghana Oil and Gas Service Suppliers Affiliation and a veteran of oil operations in the United States, has strongly admonished Ghanaians to take control of their country’s pure assets, which embody gold and now oil.

Tullow itself makes a public show of encouraging the development of local skills in Ghana. CEO Aidan Heavey factors out that it benefits not only Ghana however makes economic sense for the company as nicely. A personal job-training firm called Sigma-Base Technical Providers trains Ghanaians in expertise such as electrical work. In line with Sigma’s director Ebow Haizel-Ferguson, who returned to his hometown Takoradi after working for greater than 20 years within the Niger Delta, Ghana needs to aggressively develop the downstream facet of the industry in order to create vital numbers of jobs. Even if Ghanaians eventually change all the expatriates now working offshore, jobs on the rigs will remain comparatively restricted and will not significantly affect the region’s excessive unemployment fee.

It remains to be seen whether speak of local content by the Ghanaian government and private oil firms is something greater than lip service.

Environmental Worries

On November 3, 2011, fishermen within the vicinity of the Jubilee oilfield noticed an oil slick floating towards land. The next day, the darkish, sticky materials coated the beaches of a number of fishing communities and seafront motels, however the occasion created barely a ripple within the nationwide news. The federal government made little remark and didn’t initiate an official cleanup. The state of affairs is the living nightmare of environmentalists, who have all along contended that growth of the Jubilee field was rushed through with little regard for the potential environmental influence. Christiane Badgley states that, in effect, the World Bank contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Jubilee project while characteristically ignoring the looming environmental risks.

Kosmos Energy acknowledges spilling toxic drilling mud on three occasions throughout the Jubilee subject development, together with a spill of some 25,000 gallons in December 2009. Ghana doesn’t have sufficient offshore monitoring for spills or clear-minimize legal guidelines to sanction offenders. Nevertheless, in February 2012, parliament began to think about the Marine Pollution Invoice. That is actually a step in the proper course, however environmentalists hope that concrete action will comply with.

The Western Region’s coast, off which Tullow’s oil drilling platform operates, boasts a wealthy assortment of marine wildlife. Although even many Ghanaians will not be conscious that dolphins populate the nation’s offshore waters, the existence and sightings of dolphins are effectively documented. Sadly, some species are endangered.

Numerous dead whales have washed ashore within the Western Region since 2009, together with seven in 2010 alone. Though some link these deaths to oil production in Jubilee subject, Ghana’s Environmental Safety Company asserts that there isn’t any evidence to establish the connection.

Discriminatory Practices?

In the first of a 3-half series, award-winning journalist Kweku Owusu-Peprah interviews Ghanaian oil employees who claim that they’re paid substantially lower than their expatriate counterparts and are denied firm perks reminiscent of free housing offered to staff from abroad. One worker described separate, extra luxurious dining services for expatriates who complain that Ghanaian dishes have a disgusting odor. Weatherford, a world oil services firm working in Ghana, is one firm accused of giving preferential treatment to its expatriate staff.

Discrimination towards Ghanaian workers is after all unethical and towards the legislation. It’s difficult to say simply how broadly it is practiced by international oil and gas firms in Ghana. They’re a minimum of on paper prohibited from partaking in any discriminatory observe on grounds of race, nationality, or gender in the situations supplied for personnel. What occurs in actual life could also be a special matter.

There is a multi-directional tug of war in Ghana’s petroleum industry among the many Ghanaian government, the multinational oil firms, the citizens of the country, and the setting. Like most contests, it is unlikely that they will all be winners. Ghanaians in the homeland and abroad concern that the nation and the environment would be the eventual losers and that the dreaded specter of another Niger Delta looms.