Ghana: GNPC gets set for oil in Volta Basin

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Economic Reporting
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Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, Chief Executive of GNPC

There is every likelihood that oil would pour from the Volta basin in the near future. The Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) says it is currently in talks with prospective companies to open up a new oil province, using data collected from the Volta Basin, where huge deposits of oil and gas exist.

“We are currently in discussions with companies that have submitted proposals on how we can go about this work in a joint-venture manner or speculative manner, where we will take the risk and acquire the data, and we will go out to promote the bloc.

They will get their money back by the data that the companies will buy, and we will get the investments in,” the Director of Explorations at GNPC, Thomas Manu, told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview.

The Volta Basin is a huge onshore basin that stretches from the Volta Region to some parts of the Northern Region, with a total land area of 103,600 square kilometers, according to energy-pedia report.

Industry experts say oil deposits were first discovered in the Volta Basin as far back as 1960. A group of Russians had gone there to drill for water, when they encountered some signs of hydro carbons. Since then, the GNPC says lots of investments had been made to acquire more data to aid in the exploration of the black gold.

The Geological Survey Department (GSD), with the support of the European Union (EU), conducted a gravity survey in the Volta Basin, under the mining sector support program in 2008, against the background of an earlier 50 kilometre seismic survey, carried out by a Soviet Survey Geological Team in the Tamale area, that encountered traces of hydrocarbons.

A total of 208 kilometres of 2D seismic have so far been acquired in the Volta Basin, reports

“There is a sign that the basin has potential for commercial accumulation of hydro carbons, but we need to acquire more data. To bring up this potential, the European Union gave the mining sector some 40 million euro grant.

They’ve done aero gravity and aero magnetic flying survey over the Voltarian Basin, and acquired the initial reconnaissance data.  That data is available to the GNPC. The GNPC is, therefore, going to use that data to plan a reconnaissance programme, because we need to use that data to point to areas where we can do further investigations,” said Mr. Manu, in a perky voice, as he spoke to The Chronicle.

He added: “It is when we are able to do further exploration work that we will be able to demonstrate the potential of the oil and gas to investors. At the same time, we will be able to know the value of the basin, so that we know which areas are prospective and which are potentials, so that when you are negotiating with any investor, you know how much to charge.

If you don’t know the value of what you’ve gotten, how do you determine the price? We don’t want the situation that at the end of the day, Ghanaians will feel that they’ve been cheated. We need to go through this painful process.”

In addition, Mr. Manu said bitumen had been found in limestone deposits at Buipe, and was of the firm conviction that the country would soon go into oil exploration in those areas. Some parts of Sogakope and Keta have also been said to boast of huge oil deposits, but Mr. Manu said the hydro carbons discovered in those swampy areas are organic, and could only be described as residual oil.

“There has been so many of these things, and when you conduct further investigations, you will realize that 100 metres down the lane, there is a service station there and they change oil, they just pour it on the ground, and when it rains, it seeps deep into the ground, only to come out at a later date.

We have collected so many of these, tested them at the laboratories, and they’ve proven to be residual oil. Indeed there have been wells that were drilled in this Voltarian Basin where they were drilling for water, and actual indications of oil and gas were found in them. Whilst onshore in the Tano area, you will actually see oil.”

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