Samuel Bekoe, Anglophone Africa Regional Associate at the Natural Resources Governance Institute, told Xinhua at a refresher course for journalists in Natural Resource Reporting in Koforidua, Eastern Regional capital, that the challenges facing Ghana’s maiden FPSO was strange, coming just five years after it had started operations.
The vessel – FPSO – was named after Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah.
“In normal industry practice, mooring issues commence after 10 years so why this is happening just after five years must be questioned by the authorities,” Bekoe queried.
In addition to the lower crude prices at global level, the mooring challenges with the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah have also contributed to the far lower revenues Ghana has been receiving from oil sales.
These lower revenues, Bekoe observed, had affected state oil explorer Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) due to lower allocations from the petroleum funds.
He however commended government for the austerity measures it adopted to withstand the crude price shocks.
“Overall economic stability has been helpful to the business environment with stable exchange rate and interest rates,” the expert stated.
He was hopeful that, with the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) field on stream and increasing production from Jubilee next year, the shortfall in revenue occasioned by the lower crude prices would be compensated for.
The workshop was organized by the NRGI and Penplusbytes as a follow-up to advanced natural resources governance training offered to various journalists in Ghana.
The Jubilee partners plan to shut down FPSO Kwame Nkrumah between nine to 12 weeks during the first quarter of 2017 to find lasting solutions to the mooring challenges.
“If the repairs are done here, it won’t have too much impact on oil production and gas delivery for power production; but if it is taken to Singapore or elsewhere for repairs, then the effects would be adverse on petroleum and power production, which would affect the economy greatly,” Ishmael Ackah, Energy Policy Advisor at Africa Center for Energy Policy, said in his comments.
He agreed with the argument that an FPSO should not normally develop such challenges just within five years of operation, adding however that operating for at least 1,200 days after manufacturing was considerably good.
In order to deal with the fallouts of such challenges in future, Ackah urged government to take time to build its stabilization fund from the oil proceeds during years of boom. Enditem