FULL TEXT: Akufo-Addo’s speech at the Off-shore Cape Three Points first oil commissioning

It is with great honour and pride that I stand here to join the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) partners, the Chiefs and people of the Western Region and Ghana, to celebrate another remarkable epoch in our nascent, but promising petroleum industry – the First Oil of the OCTP Sankofa project.

It has been ten years since the first major commercial oil discovery and seven continuous years of commercial oil and gas production in Ghana. We are gathered here today to witness yet another momentous milestone in the annals of Ghana’s oil and gas industry – the commissioning of the ENI Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) fields to commence the commercial production of oil (and subsequently gas in 2018) – the third production asset in Ghana.

I commend the Mahama government, Parliament, the Ministry of Energy, the Petroleum Commission, the OCTP partners, ENI Ghana and, indeed, the good people of Ghana, for their various contributions made towards the exceptional and steady progress of this project.

This is a project that has been completed three months ahead of schedule and, most importantly, under budget within the uncertainties that have characterized the global petroleum industry, especially with deep-water projects.

I am particularly excited because this is a landmark event in the development of oil and gas in Ghana and of the efforts of this country to ensure energy security for its people.

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, the relationship between ENI and Ghana dates nearly 60 years back to 1960, with projects in the downstream sector. That relationship led to the establishment of two strategic institutions, initially, the Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), whose Chairperson is here with us today, a company previously owned by Agip Ghana Company Limited and subsequently, the Ghanaian Italian Petroleum Company (GHAIP) now, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

However, ENI returned to Ghana in 2009 to invest in the upstream sector on the back of earlier discoveries made at the Jubilee Field by the Jubilee Partners. Obviously, the decision to invest in Ghana has paid off and today we are witnessing on this occasion one of the major milestones of that decision.

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, it is evident that we are steadily working towards the realization of the vision of making Ghana a petroleum hub, and establishing a petrochemical industry here. Not only that, but also ensuring sufficient, reliable and affordable clean energy for power generation and supply in Ghana to support economic activities, and keep the country on the right path to desired growth.

I believe the attainment of this feat has been made possible, due to consistent implementation of sector related policies and programmes aimed at creating the right business and investment climate, to ensure the rapid and continuous development of the sector. It has been ten years since Ghana made the historic discovery of oil and gas as a result of the bold and farsighted policies of the Kufuor-led NPP government.

Indeed, the decision to restructure and reorganise the operations of GNPC to make the corporation focus on its core mandate of exploring for oil and gas, and creating an enabling climate, positively changed the operating environment. The then President played a truly seminal role in the development of the nation’s oil and gas industry, and it is, thus, befitting to have the OCTP FPSO christened in his honour.

The OCTP Project

As has been stated by the Minister for Energy, the OCTP project is an integrated plan for development of oil and gas. The second phase will be the development of gas. The gas project involves the development of natural gas, and is expected to produce reliable volumes of gas estimated at over 170mmscfd (million standard cubic feet per day) into the Ghanaian market, enough to generate about 1,000MW of electricity.

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, the Energy Minister mentioned initiatives being pursued by the Petroleum Commission to expand Ghanaian participation in the oil and gas industry. This is one of the key initiatives by Government, which outlines Government’s vision of full Ghanaian participation in all aspects of the upstream oil and gas value chain.

Ghanaians have the spirit of entrepreneurship, and it is vital that they are empowered to engineer business growth, and reduce the serious unemployment situation in the country.

I understand that ENI has demonstrated significant commitment to Ghanaian participation, and, working with the Petroleum Commission, has increased in-country activity, spending and employment of Ghanaians. It is gratifying to see, this morning, our young Ghanaians on the FPSO, trained to manage the hydrocarbon production and processing from the Field as technicians and supervisors.

I have been informed by the Petroleum Commission that over 100 Ghanaians (representing nearly 60%) are involved in the operation and maintenance of the FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor. This is in addition to the many that worked in the conversion of the facility in Singapore. I saw them on the vessel, and salute them for their energy, enthusiasm and commitment.

They are excellent examples of Ghanaian youth.
As has been stated earlier, more than USD1.8 billion worth of contracts have been awarded to indigenous Ghanaian companies under this project. I urge ENI and its partners to continue to work with the Petroleum Commission to move Ghanaian participation to even greater heights.

Furthermore, the second phase of this project will rely on the support services of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of the supply chain development, thereby creating opportunities for new and existing businesses in the country. In particular, for those engaged in farming and fishing, this project presents a great opportunity to a new market, as many people employed under this project will need to be fed.

I urge our youth to go into farming under our Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, and other activities to take advantage of this opportunity.

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, this project, and other existing ones in the Western Region, will open up the region for infrastructural development and consequent economic growth. This is in line with the grand plan of making the Western Region a key growth pole for the country.

Government Petroleum Sector Vision & Policy

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, the oil industry is increasingly becoming an important contributor to our national economy. The significance of the petroleum sector in the Ghanaian economy is evident in its share of gross domestic product, exports and government revenues.

Hence, efficient management of petroleum resources and its associated revenues is a national priority. We shall prudently manage our petroleum resources with a long-term perspective, for the benefit of Ghanaian society as a whole. By judiciously managing our petroleum resource, we shall provide revenues to the country to ensure the welfare of our people, promote employment, improve the environment, and strengthen trade and industrial development in Ghana.

In this regard and in accordance with our Manifesto (policy objectives), Government will pursue the following important objectives for the oil and gas sector:

? ensuring that the petroleum sector remains a significant contributor to financing nationwide industrial development, and thus generating resources that can be used for rapid development of national infrastructure, for increasing agricultural productivity, accelerating job creation and facilitating the building of national capacity to harness advanced technologies, and for enabling a paradigm shift in the structure of the economy towards increased industrial value-added production;

? laying the basis for continued development of the petroleum sector, by ensuring that our petroleum industry remains an attractive area for investment;

? promoting linkages of the petroleum sector with other sectors of the economy, and avoiding the curse of the sector remaining an enclave;

? improving transparency in the management of our oil and gas resources through our commitment to the full implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, and strengthening of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) to enhance further transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector;

? pursuing ambitious resource and environmental management policies, based on the goals of a sustainable petroleum business, and coexistence between the petroleum sector, fisheries, and other industries, as well as the environment;

? developing in collaboration with the private sector, the Western Region into a regional oil services hub with a first class port facility; and

? aggressively investing in education and skills enhancement of Ghanaians to manage the sector through the “Accelerated Oil & Gas Capacity Development Programme.”

The accomplishment of these policy objectives, Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, will help us fulfill our vision for the energy sector to become a modern, diversified, efficient, and financially sustainable “Energy Economy” that will ensure that all Ghanaian homes and industries have access to adequate, reliable, affordable and environmentally-sustainable supply of energy, to meet their needs and to support the accelerated growth and development we all desire for the country.

The role of the petroleum sector, especially the natural gas sub-sector, in achieving this vision, is self-evident. It is expected that indigenous gas production will not only offer the nation a clean energy source, but also cost-effective fuel for power generation on a reliable basis.

It is good to note that the Operator, ENI, is committed to a zero gas flaring policy, and, as such, no gas would be flared or wasted under normal operating conditions, except, of course, for the minimum technical volume required to maintain safe operations. I strongly entreat the Petroleum Commission and EPA to collaborate effectively to ensure that this policy is strictly adhered to.

Conclusion

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, let me emphasize that it is the expectation of Government and the people of Ghana that the OCTP partners, particularly the Operator, will ensure prudent management of this project to achieve cost efficiency. This is the only way we can guarantee a low gas price, and, eventually, low electricity tariffs to stimulate development.

Fellow Ghanaians, with the addition of the production from the OCTP to those of the T.E.N and Jubilee fields, we are optimistic that our beloved nation will enhance significantly its gas supply for our domestic power generation. We are not resting on our oars.

The Government, through the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Commission and GNPC, is working closely with other licensees and contractors to ensure that our petroleum resources are exploited in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the people of Ghana. The need for creative thinking to leverage our oil and gas production for national development is a charge for us to keep – and we must not fail our people.

Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, before I take my seat, I want to oblige the Petroleum Commission and the Operator, ENI, to take necessary steps to ensure that the activities of this project are carried out in a safe and prudent manner to safeguard life, property and the environment.

I commend ENI Ghana, once again, for their significant contribution to the local community to date, even before the start of commercial production. I encourage them to continue in this stead, to obtain maximum benefits for the people of Ghana.
I would like to reiterate Government’s continued support for the establishment of an enabling climate to make Ghana the energy hub of the West African region.

Once again, let me restate that it is wholly appropriate for this FPSO to be named John Agyekum Kufuor. 17 years ago, during his presidential campaign, candidate John Agyekum Kufuor gave a solemn pledge to the people of this city, this region and the country, that, if elected, his government will concentrate attention to discovering oil in commercial quantities. The fulfilment of that promise is what has brought us all here today. We are a most grateful nation, Your Excellency.

I believe God will be on our side once again under another NPP administration to strike more oil and gas. President J A Kufuor made it happen off shore. The focus now is also to explore opportunities on shore. That is why my government is committed to intensifying efforts towards the discovery of oil and gas on shore in the Voltaian Basin.

The commitment of the national oil company, GNPC, to find oil and gas in the Voltaian Basin, is reassuring, and I am delighted about this bold step. My government is totally committed to giving Dr K K Sarpong and his team all the support they need to make this happen. I have been briefed that all the necessary preparatory work has been done to commence initial seismic survey. Approval for the award of the contract for the seismic survey will be given soon.

An occasion like this cannot be complete without recollecting also the gratitude of the Ghanaian nation to the 1st President of the 4th Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, for his vision to set up GNPC, and the pioneering work in this industry that took place under his watch.

And last but by no means the least, I thank my beloved wife, the beautiful Rebecca, who went all the way to Singapore to commission FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor.
Nananom, Ladies & Gentlemen, I now officially declare the first oil of the OCTP Field duly commissioned.

Thank you, and may God bless the OCTP Project, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

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