- All roads are leading to Ghana since the official announcement of its oil finding. The discovery, which will make Ghana the seventh largest African oil producer at its peak after five years of launch in 2010, has already attracted, LukOil Overseas Holding Limited, one of the leading oil companies in Russia which announced a US$ 100 million fund to support the efforts of Ghana to improve on-shore oil exploration.
Mr Andrey R. Kuzyaev, Vice President of the company, who led a business delegation to pay a courtesy call on Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, at the Osu Castle also expressed the desire of the company to release additional one billion dollars to facilitate a social development programme in the country.
Vice President Mahama lauded the initiative of the company and appealed to Russia in particular to revive the comprehensive development programme in Ghana, which was curtailed after the 1966 Military coup d 'etat, which ousted Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
He acknowledged the immense support Russia offers Ghanaian students to pursue various professional studies in that country and welcomed the new investment drive of the former world super power.
Mr. Kwame Amporfo Twumasi, Deputy Minister for Energy also explained at the occasion that the Russian company was partnering Vanco, an independent oil exploration company, to carry out exploration at Saltpond in the Central Region.
He said Lukoil would start its major operations from July this year, which would comprise assistance to Ghana to tap the by-products of oil exploration including the production of petrol chemical.
The Minister noted that, Russia had comprehensive data on oil finds in Ghana, dating back to the 1960's when Russia was very active in the country.
Mr Twumasi further said there was sufficient information on previous onshore oil exploration in the Brong Ahafo Region, Volta and Northern regions. He said 40 per cent of the landmass in Ghana holds the potential for oil exploration.
Since the exploration finds, news of high oil production potential in Ghana have been accepted with mixed feelings. For some, this could be the turning point in the 51 years of independence, for the country to become a true economic leader in the West Africa region as well as the whole of Africa Union. But, for the many impoverished Ghanaians, lessons from neighbouring oil producing states cannot be overlooked, with fresh memories of the smoke and high flames in the Niger Delta a constant reminder.
Even Ghana’s leadership has welcomed the news with hopes and reservations. President John Kufor has been quoted as saying the oil find may be the greatest news ever, but one that comes with huge challenges, especially with the lack of know-how in managing oil resources and related production in Ghana.
Mr Kufuor, is quoted speaking at an extractive industries forum in March, warning that "instead of being a blessing, oil sometimes proves the undoing of many nations who come by this precious commodity".
Close to 20 percent of Ghana’s 22 million population is categorised "extremely poor" by the UN, struggling to access basic social services like health, water and education. The potential for the oil finds to transform the economy and the lives of the poorest people is manifold, critics have said.
The find is expected to produce at least 100,000 barrels per day when it gets operational in 2010, with production projected to hit over 200,000 barrels a day within five years of operation that will place Ghana amongst top African oil producers.
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