Du pétrole au Ghana!/Oil found in Ghana

Le Courrier International reprend une dépêche du Accra Daily News: on a trouvé du pétrole au Ghana:

“Thank God, oil at last, thank God” (“Merci Seigneur, enfin du pétrole, merci Seigneur”). Ainsi titre le journal ghanéen Accra Daily Mail.
Et pour cause, cinq compagnies pétrolières, américaines et britanniques, viennent de découvrir des gisements de pétrole offshore dans les zones d’exploration de Mahogany-1, dans l’ouest du Ghana. C’est une première dans le pays, qui suscite bien des espoirs. Grâce à cette découverte, “le secteur de l’énergie, qui, il y a peu, était tourné en dérision sur la scène politique, éclaire soudain le futur d’une lueur nouvelle”, souligne l’Accra Daily Mail.
Pour le président ghanéen, John Kufuor, cela devrait relancer l’économie du pays. Il voit déjà le Ghana faire partie de la même lignée que des pays producteurs de pétrole comme le Nigeria et l’Angola. Car non seulement les compagnies confient qu’elles ont trouvé du pétrole en grande quantité dans les eaux ghanéennes, mais, en outre, elles assurent qu’il est d’excellente qualité. Toujours selon les explorateurs pétroliers, il est possible que l’exploitation de ces gisements commence cette année. En attendant, les compagnies continuent leur prospection, dans l’espoir de trouver d’autres champs pétrolifères au Ghana.

Il faut par contre préciser, selon Ouestaf.com, que

les réserves sont de l’ordre de 300 à 600 millions de barils mais le premier baril ne devrait sortir des puits que dans quelques années.

According to the Accra Daily Mail, oil has been found in Ghana.

Accra Daily Mail:

It is nature, through dwindling rainfall, that has brought the Akosombo Dam almost to its knees, supplying only a fraction of its capacity and crating an “energy crisis” in Ghana. It is nature, paradoxically, this time, through the bowels of the earth that is promising a major solution. Ghana’s energy sector, which barely only a few hours ago was the source of much derision and political point-scoring, all of a sudden, is the shining star of the future; the source of optimism.

Yesterday Ghana’s President, John Agyekum Kufuor received a delegation from Kosmos Energy. Subject: Oil.

Kosmos is one of the five companies exploring for oil in the West Cape Three Points of the country’s territorial waters.

The delegation was at the Castle to share with the President and the nation, the happy news of their discovery of oil in substantial quantities.

Mr. James Musselman, Chief Executive Officer of Kosmos, announced that the company had made what it believed to be a significant oil discovery at the Mahogany Number One, in water depths of about 1,320 meters (4,330 feet).

“We’ve encountered 885 feet of gross hydrocarbons with a net pay of 312 feet. This is a very significant discovery but I am going to beg your patience as we have been talking with the Ministers and GNPC to ask your patience because we are looking at how we are going to go about developing it. I know this is an exciting moment for the country and an exciting moment for us too but we have high expectations.

We are extremely optimistic of where this is going to lead Ghana and certainly our country is going forward… We obviously have a lot more work to do, this is just a tip of the iceberg so we get a lot more to do before we can specifically give you specific details” he said.

Mr. Brian Maxted, Vice President of Kosmos, said the discovery is indeed significant based on three factors: “First, we have encountered oil in substantial column in a well of 312 feet and that is not a small column; it’s a significant column in the context of not just Ghana but certainly West Africa. The second thing is that the host reservoir on which this oil is contained is of excellent quality and thirdly the oil at a first glance appears to be of premium quality”.

President Kufuor, in his remarks, said his confidence is strengthened with the discovery that the hit made is in significant proportions, likening Ghana’s situation to what has been found in Nigeria and Angola.

The president talked about the impact of the discovery to Ghanaian especially at this moment when “the country is going through a crisis [energy] that has been exploited by Ghanaians along the political scene. Some talk as if the country is on the threshold of doom. But today you have come to tell us that Ghana at long last has hit oil more likely in large quantities.

This is a message I believe Ghanaians should welcome and pray that you succeed in your continued effort so that Ghana will not become a beggar nation in the petroleum sector.”

Finally, it would seem then, Ghana is at last going to have some self-sufficiency in the “black gold”.

The President said the good news should tell all Ghanaians and all people of good will towards Ghana that “we have the silver lining in our clouds and that the pessimists lurking in the dark praying that this country will go down will be put to shame”.

He pledged the government’s continued support for the project and advised the company to be careful in its operations. “We are with you and we would urge you to take very good care of your operations here. This one I would insist on. You shouldn’t allow any one who has no business to do over there to be there; kick them out”, he said.

Mr. Maxted said discoveries of this nature of which there are a number in Africa takes somewhere between 3 and 5 years to bring into production. He said the project is going to involve several wells and is going to face some operational difficulties. He cited in particular what he termed as a “tight market” for rigs within the petroleum industry at the present time “because of current activities around the world”.

He said “it is possible we start this year or probably next year but you are assured Kosmos will be pursuing all options open to it to try and accelerate the pace…We are going to make more explorations in order to find more oilfields for Ghana. We are very pleased as a young company to find what others couldn’t find in the last twenty or thirty years”.

For those who think this discovery means another curse for Ghana, Kufuor answered to the BBC:

[Kuofor] dismissed suggestions that Ghana may follow in the footsteps of other countries that have mismanaged their oil wealth.

“Some are doing it well and I assure you if others failed, Ghana will succeed because this is our destiny to set the good pace for where we are. So we’re going to use it well,” he said.

“We’re going to really zoom, accelerate, and if everything works, which I pray will happen positively, you come back in five years, and you’ll see that Ghana truly is the African tiger, in economic terms for development.”

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