Several African countries have welcomed investment in oil and gas in recent years, as parts of the continent undergo industrialization and investors look to develop new reserves. Africa provides companies with the potential for low-cost, low-carbon oil and gas in largely unexplored areas. But governments across the region hope to be more closely involved in operations, ensuring that they get a significant proportion of the revenues to bolster their economies. One such country is Ghana, which expects an oil boom over the next decade and beyond.
At the COP27 climate summit last year, several African state leaders presented the case for the development of the region’s oil and gas resources. Following a year of shortages and surging energy prices, several countries with oil and gas potential urged investors to develop new, low-carbon operations to meet the global demand without having to rely on aging, carbon-heavy operations. And many energy firms are now viewing regions such as Africa and the Caribbean as vital to their aims to decarbonize.
In Ghana, there are 17 oil and gas projects in the 2023 to 2027 pipeline. This includes 3 upstream projects, nine projects in the midstream sector, and five new downstream projects. Ghana is now one of Africa’s fastest-growing hydrocarbon producers. There are several oil operations already underway in the West African country, with Phase 1 of the Pecan Conventional Oilfield as well as the Jubilee South East field and Ntomme Far West Development.
Pecan is expected to have a capacity of 82,500 bpd when production begins in 2025, with phase 1 costing $1.5 billion. It is operated by exploration and production company Aker Energy Ghana Ltd. (50%); petroleum corporation Lukoil (38%); Ghana’s state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10%); and transport company Bulk Ship & Trade (2%). Meanwhile, the Jubilee South East field should begin producing 37,000 bpd by the end of the year. The field is operated by Tullow Oil (38.98%), deepwater exploration and production company Kosmos Energy (38.61%); the GNPC (19.69%); and South Africa’s National Oil Company (NOC) PetroSA (2.72%). Ghana hopes to discover further oil and gas deposits in the Ntomme Far West Development, with a pre-feasibility analysis having taken place and exploration drilling planned for later this year.
Meanwhile, the country’s midstream sector will expand alongside exploration and production operations. Ghana plans to develop the Tema Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) Plant, the Tema VI Liquids Storage Terminal, the Dixcove Oil Storage Facility, the Wa Oil Storage Facility and the Tema-Akosombo II and Tema Pipelines between 2023 to 2027.
In March this year, the African Energy Chamber stated that Ghana hopes to double its oil output by the end of the year, from 180,000 bpd to 420,000 bpd. The CEO of the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, Egbert Faibille Jr., stated “Ghana has positioned itself to attract investments in the energy sector. We present one of the best investment opportunities in the sub-region. Following the Jubilee discovery in 2007, 30 additional discoveries have been made and are pending appraisal and development. Ghana guarantees attractive fiscal terms. These terms have proven over the years to provide a favorable investment framework.” Faibille added, “We have several blocks open for direct negotiation and three available for farm-in opportunities. We have some fields that are in pre-development, so if we are able to get contractors, we should see a surge in production by 2030.”
Ghana’s oil operations are already well underway, with the country expecting to open a new $1.98 billion oil refinery in Tema this month. The Sentuo Group’s facility is expected to produce 5 million metric tonnes of petroleum products including liquified petroleum gas (LPG), jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil. Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry confirmed last month that Sentuo is in discussions with the government to acquire 500,000 barrels of crude for refining. By 2025, Sentuo plans to expand the facility to refine 4.26 million tonnes of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Tullow Oil announced the start of operations at the Jubilee South East (JSE) project in July. The company said that the first well started producing, with another two producers and a water injector expected to come online later in the year. Tullow hopes the field will produce over 100,000 bpd once operational. The firm’s CEO stated, “Successful start-up at Jubilee South East is a significant milestone for Tullow and for Ghana.” He added, “We are well positioned for future growth with production ramping up in the second half of 2023 that will generate significant free cash flow. This marks the start of material deleveraging as we continue our transition into a low-debt business with the financial flexibility to pursue value accretive opportunities.”
Ghana is viewed as Africa’s rising star, thanks to its stable political system, growing economy, and the rapid development of its oil and gas sector. There are several projects in the pipeline, with oil production expected to increase significantly by 2030. Ghana could provide oil producers with the opportunity to develop the low-cost, low-carbon oil needed to meet the high global demand en route to an eventual global energy transition.