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A catalyst for expansion

Article - February 18, 2014
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is prepared to take on a more operational role in developing the oil and gas resources
Although oil production only started a few years ago in Ghana, exploration had begun in the late 19th century in the western onshore area where oil seepages had been found. Exploration was an on-and-off, and fairly unsuccessful, endeavour until the 1970s, when the offshore area was opened up. 
In 1983, even before any major discoveries had happened, the government proactively formed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) – basing it on an adaptation of the models offered by Petrobras, Statoil and Petronas – to provide the framework for oil and gas exploration and production activities.
“The discovery of the Jubilee field in 2007 was a result of 20 years of continuous efforts,” says Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, former CEO of the GNPC. “In the early 1980s we enacted the Petroleum Exploration Production Law and the Petroleum Income Tax Law. So, a lot of things were done then in terms of restructuring the whole oil and gas sector to attract companies to come to Ghana. It was all of these efforts, with the work of the GNPC, Kosmos and Tullow Oil, which led to the discovery of the Jubilee field in 2007.”
The GNPC had been working hard behind the scenes, gathering data from all the companies that had operated in Ghana, assembling it and creating a data management system. Thanks to the GNPC’s systematisation and studies of reservoir rocks to determine the area’s potential, numerous discoveries were made. 
“The GNPC is an organisation that has a very good technical staff. Most of the finds were actually pinpointed by GNPC staff,” says Alexander Mould, new CEO of GNPC. 

“We have set ourselves the vision of being a leading oil and gas company, whose activities have a profound impact on the quality of life for Ghanaians”

Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, former CEO of the Ghana National
Petroleum Corporation
Until now, the GNPC has been mainly active in exploration, development and production. In its first two decades, it ventured into Angola as an operator and subcontractor, in order to develop its operating capabilities. Nevertheless, in Ghana the GNPC has not focused so much on its potential as an operator – and this is something the state-owned agency would like to reverse over the coming years. 
“I think the Revenue Management Act will position GNPC to be able to go out and compete and actually be the operator in some of these fields, and also be able to syndicate and bring more companies in to join us in various explorations we want to do,” explains Mr Mould. “It is only after GNPC has proven to be a tested operator that you’ll find more of the other companies following suit.”
It is estimated that investments between $15-$20 billion will be injected into oil and gas development activities over the next five years. According to the new CEO, developing Ghana’s TEN (Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme) field this year will attract some $1.6 billion this year alone. 
Already, $5 billion was spent between 2007 and 2010 on the field, which GNPC is developing along with Tullow Oil, Kosmos Energy, Sabre/PetroSA and Anadarko.
“It is well and good that such heavy capital injection follows oil and gas development operations,” said Mr Mould at the opening of the 2014 Offshore West Africa Conference and Exhibition held in January. 
GNPC forecasts that by 2023, Ghana will be producing some 500,000 barrels of oil per day – up significantly from the current rate of 110,000 bdp.