Ghana to launch new offshore exploration and production following border dispute settlement with Côte d’Ivoire

 

Since product output began in August 2016, the offshore Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) field had already produced some 800,000 barrels of oil by late 2017. Extraction efforts are expected to bring about substantial growth in the oil and gas sector in the coming years. “With the positive results for Ghana from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruling and hopefully a further improvement in global oil prices, we expect increased exploration activity in Ghana,” Essie Anno Sackey, managing director at PHI Century, told OBG. A January 2017 report published by US think tank the Brookings Institution projected Ghana’s GDP would rise by an estimated 7.4% in 2017 – in large part due to TEN reserves. Speaking to OBG, Sanmi Longe, country manager at International Energy Services, reiterated the importance of the TEN project. “Despite the technical issues which hampered production at the Jubilee field, Ghana is slated to reach output of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd), thanks to production increases at the TEN field,” he said.

Currently operated by UK-based Tullow Oil in cooperation with the government-backed Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and international firms Kosmos, Anadarko and PetroSA, TEN houses oil reserves estimated at 240m barrels, with associated and non-associated gas reserves of 360bn standard cu feet. The gas reserves are particularly noteworthy as the country looks for a more efficient and cost-effective fuel for its existing and anticipated power plants. “The ability to attract major oil companies is going to be critical for Ghana, given the level of expertise required for both exploring and monetising its reserves,” Francois Bacci, managing director at ORSAM, told OBG.

In January 2017 the sole domestic refinery, the state-owned Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), began processing the first 1m barrels of crude from TEN. That same month, a 24-hour flow test indicated that output at the John Evans Atta Mills floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) in the TEN field stood at an average rate of over 80,000 bpd, in line with original expectations. To compare, the FPSO capacity for the Jubilee field is 120,000 bpd. Tullow expected production from TEN to average 50,000 bpd in 2017, below full capacity, partly due to delayed exploration and production caused by the border dispute with Côte d’Ivoire.

Border Dispute

The maritime border disagreement between the two countries goes back to the 1980s but was relatively settled for three decades. In 2010 the discovery of key oil fields by Ghana prompted calls for the matter to be reconciled by the UN. After failing to reach a consensus after several rounds of talks, Ghana filed a suit in 2014 to resolve the ongoing disagreement. During the deliberations, development in offshore projects could continue in the disputed area – including TEN – but a moratorium was put on any new drilling before the final ruling was issued. In September 2017 the ITLOS resolved the dispute, largely in Ghana’s favour. The five-judge panel ruled that the maritime border will pass west of the TEN field negating Côte d’Ivoire’s charge that Ghana had violated its sovereign rights.

New Potential

Tullow has announced plans to drill at least six new wells immediately and to maximise output at 80,000 bpd. A total of 11 wells have been drilled to date out of 24 identified sites. TEN is set to embark on further development across the hydrocarbons industry, with the impact reaching into utilities and the wider economy, particularly with the Tweneboa gas field due to start production in 2018. “TEN is key,” Henry Akwaboah, managing director for Engen Ghana, told OBG. “The corresponding revenue that will accrue to the government will lead to further infrastructure projects, which will have an impact on demand for diesel and other products, so it has a multiplier effect.”

TEN is key to Ghana’s goal of securing a stable energy supply, with Theo Acheampong, a petroleum economist with risk analysis company IHS Markit, telling local media that TEN could potentially generate some $16.7bn in revenues, at current prices of $55 per barrel.

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The Report: Ghana 2018

Energy & Utilities chapter from The Report: Ghana 2018

The Report: Ghana 2018

The Report

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