The cabinet has given approval for the establishment of the much-awaited petroleum hub in the Western Region to house all infrastructure projects in the petroleum industry.
The hub will accommodate a refinery to process crude oil into various petroleum products and manufacturing plants for the processing of fertiliser from the by-products of oil.
The move by the government forms part of a major initiative to create more jobs in the oil and gas sectors of the economy and provide investment opportunities for interested companies within and outside Ghana.
The hub, which is expected to cover an area of about 20,000 square kilometres, will be developed using the free zone concept.
The Minister of Energy, Mr John-Peter Amewu, announced this at a luncheon organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Ghana in Accra last Friday.
Christened: the AMCHAM Ghana Energy Forum, the event was on the theme: Energy sector perspective: Vision and strategies for a sustainable energy sector in Ghana”.
“I am happy to announce that two weeks ago the Cabinet gave approval for the establishment of the petroleum hub, which will create a lot of job opportunities and also investment opportunities for interested companies.
“The hub is going to work under a programme where the government will serve as the facilitator in securing almost 20,000 square kilometres of land and all our petroleum infrastructure is going to be placed in that hub. It is going to be a free zone concept sort of thing,” Mr Amewu told the gathering of high-profile businessmen and women of the chamber.
He said, for instance, that “our fertiliser plants, our refinery and all other petroleum-related activities are going to be there in the hub”.
Role of private sector
He said the project would be private-sector driven but indicated that the government would provide the necessary infrastructure.
Broader project intention
Explaining the broader intention of the government regarding the project, Mr Amewu said it was leveraging the strategic location of Ghana to position itself within the sub-region as the major supplier of finished petroleum products.
The location of the hub in Ghana would make it easy to transport finished products from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire and landlocked countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso, he added.
To actualise the project on time, he told the participants that a team was recently in the Western Region to start negotiating for land to ensure a smooth take-off.
Responding to issues about the challenge in acquiring land for projects in the country, the Energy Minister conceded that there were problems associated with land acquisition in Ghana but gave an assurance that “we are seriously in touch with the traditional authorities, while the Lands Commission in the Western Region has also been consulted to avoid any hitches”.
On power purchase agreements (PPAs), Mr Amewu said the government would ensure that the processes were transparent, open and competitive for all.
“We have a President who believes in democracy and accountability and that is why he asked for the introduction of competitive licensing rounds in the oil and gas sector for the first time to ensure that get these things right because the eyes of the world are on us as a country.
“To get it right is when you are very transparent and the process is fair, and so what we have done is to lay the process before everybody; right down from the introductory stage. So everything has been put before all the prospective bidders. That makes the process clear and the laid down rules set. We are just not doing this anyhow,” he said.
Asked when the winners would be announced, Mr Amewu said: “I can assure you that with regard to putting the timeline in place, we are definitely sure that the winner will be announced by September or the end of this year.”