Interview: Kwesi Botchwey
What are the priorities for finalising the necessary infrastructure for gas production?
KWESI BOTCHWEY: We knew the timetable for developing the gas infrastructure was ambitious from the beginning, but it was driven by the need to align our implementation schedule with the production schedule of the Jubilee Oilfield partners. Nevertheless we have made a great deal of progress in the face of many odds. The Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project has five main components: a 45-km offshore pipeline to link to an existing deep water pipeline to the Jubilee Fields; an 111-km onshore pipeline to the Volta River Authority Aboadze power enclave; a gas processing plant (GPP) with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage tanks and a loading gantry for the discharge of LPG and condensates; a natural gas liquids export system; and an operations and control complex.
The early phase involves connecting the requisite infrastructure to off-take gas from the Jubilee Fields ( currently being re-injected), cleaning and processing of the gas in an onshore processing plant, and the transporting of the dry or lean gas to the Aboadze thermal power enclave for power generation. Work on the offshore and onshore pipelines is virtually complete.
The first batch of the core components of the GPP, about 50%, are designed to process 150m standard cu feet of raw gas a day. They have already been delivered and the remaining components are scheduled to arrive in Ghana by June 2013. We expect mechanical completion of the GPP by end-September 2013 and commissioning in the last quarter of 2013.
Will refining capacity be sufficient to cope with the domestic demand for gas?
BOTCHWEY: With Jubilee we are looking at 150m standard cu feet a day. Additional trains can be added, as needed in the future, and we have acquired adequate land for such expansion. The second phase of the project will entail the installation of additional equipment for the production of more natural gas liquids for local and export markets, while future phases will look at integration with other production fields and also open opportunities for new investments in petrochemicals as well as additional power generation capacity, preferably by independent power producers.
How can the government work on increasing the amount of local content in the value chain?
BOTCHWEY: The objectives of Ghana’s local content regime include the development of local capacity along the gas value chain, value addition and job creation. So, the promotion of local content has been on our mind from the very beginning. We tried to create as much space as possible for local content in engineering, production and construction contracts. There are also many opportunities for local content in the areas of operation, maintenance and marine services. We are exploiting these opportunities to the fullest extent possible, especially in construction and site preparation, where work can be done by Ghanaian firms acting alone or in partnership with foreign firms, making sure, of course, that they meet global standards.
We also go to great lengths to make sure that local skills are utilised to the fullest extent possible. With the development of the industry, Ghanaian entrepreneurs and professionals are already rising to the challenge.
There are a number of Ghanaian companies already engaged as subcontractors in a host of activities, including geotechnical investigation, topographic surveys, environmental studies, security services, and construction and site preparation work for the GPP. Other firms are lined up to participate in the products off-take, storage and distribution segments of the business.
I am confident that with time we can broaden the space for local content significantly to include more sophisticated engineering and fabrication works. Our policy is to develop the highest quality of local content so that domestic firms and entrepreneurs can compete internationally, long after our project is done. Yet, we still need a robust policy framework for the sector.
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