A cabinet minister said Ghana’s President, John Atta-Mills, is scheduled to inaugurate the country’s first commercial offshore oil production Wednesday, which he said elevates the West African nation into the exclusive club of oil producing countries.
Energy minister Joseph Oteng-Adjei said the government has put in place mechanisms to ensure that ordinary Ghanaians benefit from the much-anticipated oil wealth the country may generate.
“We’ve been spending quite a lot of money on crude oil and its products, and we expect that, as we begin to produce commercial quantities of oil, it should be able to help us improve our revenue, and then also enable us hasten the pace of our development,” said Oteng-Adjei.
Ghana's President John Evans Atta-Mills
“We also believe that the gas that will come out of this project can be used to leverage our natural resources, which will create more jobs for our people. That is what is exciting us and that is why we are happy at this time.”
Government officials say, due to technical challenges, the Jubilee Oil and Gas field will begin with 5,000 to 8,000 barrels per day, but say they expect production to jump to about 120,000 barrels per day after problems are resolved next year.
U.S.-based Kosmos Energy Company found the Jubilee Oil and Gas Field in 2007 off Ghana’s coast. The company estimates the oil field to hold a reserve of between 650 million and 1.2 billion barrels.
Some Ghanaians have expressed concern that the oil production could destabilize the peace the country currently enjoys. But, Oteng-Adjei said his government will ensure Ghana’s peace is not disturbed.
“If we, as a people, choose to mess up by not using the resources God has endowed us properly by not ensuring that the resources are used for the benefit for the whole country, but individuals seek to ensure that they monopolize the benefit from this resource then, definitely, it will lead to confusion,” said Oteng-Adjei.
“Ghana has taken various decisions, which proves that we are not going the path of other countries. We’ve also put down some basic rules to ensure transparency in the management of the revenue that will come out of this natural resource.”
He said Ghana’s economy will soon receive a significant boost because of the oil production.