Archive | February 2012

GHANA GAS STEERS OFF LITIGATION

A study conducted by Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation, the company that has been engaged by the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) to be responsible for the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) of the 150 MMSCFD Gas Processing Plant, has selected a site in Atuabo as its preferred choice for locating the plant.

Even though Ghana Gas has commissioned geodetic and geophysical studies, which would be completed this week and final recommendations submitted to the Board for approval in consultation with the Ministry of Energy and Government, the findings of Sinopec confirm one in November 2008 undertaken by Samsung.

“The gas plant is to be located at least 50 km east of Effasu and 100 km west of Takoradi. This places it in the vicinity of Atoabo,” paragraph 2.2.1 of the report by Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants Limited, stated.

The study, which had been undertaken on behalf of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), had identified the Osagyefo Barge, then located at Effasu Mangyea as the first destination of First Gas, with the Aboadze power plants as the other.

The Domunli area in the Jomoro District was selected over Atuabo in view of its proximity to Effasu-Mangyea, where the Osagyefo Barge was to be in readiness for the first gas.

“The final decision would be based solely on technical and engineering rather than emotional and political considerations,” Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Gas told The Business Analyst.

The apparent choice of Atuabo by Sinopec followed a review it carried out on work that had been done, as well as field studies it carried out itself.

With the Aboadze Power plant now the primary destination of Jubilee gas, coupled with the short time available for the project if losses were to be avoided, as well as technical and financial advantages that the Atuabo-Amanzule enclave presents over the Domunli enclave, Sinopec is opting for the former.

Savings
Compared to the Domunli site, which is 123km to Aboadze, Atuabo is at a shorter distance at 103 km to Aboadze, where the processed gas would eventually be wheeled to fuel power plants for electricity generation, thereby saving 20km of 20-inch onshore pipeline.

Compared to the cost of laying offshore pipeline from the Jubilee field to Domunli, which is 50km away, as against from the Jubilee field to Atuabo, a distance of 55km, the savings to be made from the latter site are significant.

Other advantages that the shorter distance of Atuabo-Amanzule presents are that placing the power plant closer to Aboadze reduces the pressure requirement and increases the flow rate of the pipeline, and thence gas volume by 10%.

What this means is that locating the gas processing plant at the Atuabo-Amanzule enclave would result in both financial and time savings.

The decision to initially relocate the project site to Domunli was on the premise that the Osagyefo Barge, constructed to generate 125megawatt of electricity, would be on-stream to be fuelled by 30million standard cubic feet of gas, with first oil at Effasu-Mangyea.

However, Balkan Energy, which was awarded a contract in 2007 to operationalise the Osagyefo barge within six months, failed to deliver on that and an attempt by the Ministry of Energy to carry out a financial and technical audit to assess the requirements necessary to bring it on-stream ended up in litigation between the company and the Government of Ghana.

Also, besides the topography of Atuabo being flat and therefore easier to work on, compared to the Domunli site, which is of an undulating nature and would require a lot of leveling to make it suitable for a gas infrastructure, the former has an access road, whereas the latter site would require at least a three-mile stretch of access road.

Again, whereas the Domunli site affected eight communities, with one whole community, Bokakole, having to be resettled, the Atuabo area will affect only three communities.

A court action initiated by some farmers in the area, seeking to restrain Ghana Gas from continued work on the land, among other reliefs, has been another source of disincentive to working on the entire land, as doing so risked being contemptuous of the court.

When the decision was first made to relocate from Atuabo, in the Ellembelle Constituency, the people complained bitterly and accused their Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who is also Deputy Minister of Energy (Petroleum), of not securing their interest.

Incidentally, today those in the Jomoro District are accusing him of masterminding the relocation to the original site.

Meanwhile, the suit filed by some of the people in the area seeking a restraining order on the project implementation did not also help the Jomoro people.

But Ghana Gas CEO, Dr. Yankey, stressed that “The relocation of the project, if it is to happen eventually, would be based on technical and engineering reasons, rather than emotional,” explaining that the Domunli enclave site that GNPC and VRA were acquiring for the project, would still be developed for the related petrochemical aspect of the gas project.

Meanwhile, a youth group in the Jomoro area, is protesting against the relocation of the gas project to Atuabo, and has petitioned the Western Nzema Traditional Council, officials of GNPC, Hon. Samia Nkrumah, who is MP for Jomoro, DCE and chiefs and elders of the area.

Sinopec, under the agreement under a Project Implementation Agreement with Ghana Gas, is pre-financing the ongoing work, to be re-imbursed from a US$3billion China Development Bank (CDB) loan.

A subsidiary agreement covering the US$850 million for the gas infrastructure project is currently before Parliament. The bulk CDB loan of US$3billion was approved by the Board of the CDB sometime last year. Parliament approved the Master Facility Agreement (MFA) in August last year, for the subsidiary agreements to be presented later.

Also before parliament for consideration is a subsidiary agreement covering US$ 150million for ICT- enhanced Surveillance and Monitoring Facilities for the Oil and Gas Enclave and an Offtaker Agreement between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Asia Company Limited, also under the MFA between Ghana and the CDB.

A print version of this article was published in The Business Analyst, Wednesday, February 8th – Tuesday, February 14thm 2012.
Source: http://www.modernghana.com/news/377428/1/ghana-gas-steers-off-litigation.html

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sub chief charges-the Western Nzema Traditional Council

Nana Kabina Tindenle, chief of Kabina Suazo, a suburb of Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western region has expressed great dissatisfaction over the recent press conference held by the Omanhene of the Western Nzema Traditional Council, Awulae Annor Ajaye III, that allegedly cited him as conniving with the Deputy Energy Minister, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah to sell some 100 arches of land to him (Deputy Minister) for his personal use.

According to him, he has never had any discussion with Mr Buah who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for Ellembele, saying the allegations made in the statement were not true.

This comes as a result of a recent press conference held by the Chiefs and people of Western Nzema Traditional Council who accused both the Deputy Energy Minister in charge of petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah and Dr George Sipa Yankey, the CEO Ghana National Gas Company Limited for playing key role in the relocation of the Gas infrastructural project from Domunli, near Bonyele in the Jomoro District to Atuabo in the Ellembele District.

The Chief noted that he was not happy with the statement made by his Omanhene, since it seeks to degrade him as a sub chief and would not allow such comments to be made against him and would fight to redeem his image.

“The statement purported to have been made by Awulae Annor Adjeye is rather unfortunate and worrisome as well as injures my reputation as a chief; and my outfit would do everything to see to it that this nonsense is stopped”. He told this reporter in a telephone interview last Sunday.

He further reiterated that the statement was only meant to dent his credibility and foment trouble between people and called on all to treat the allegations as false and baseless.

The Paramount Chief of the area, Awulae Annor Adjaye III, in a sharp rebuttal accused his subject (Nana Kabenla Suazo) as an opportunistic politician citing him as a true NDC man who wants to satisfy the selfish desires of his masters.

“That man used to be an NDC Constituency chairman before he was installed as a chief” he told this reporter in an interview last Sunday at his residence in Takoradi.

When asked of the reason for the purported statement that cites the Deputy Minister for Energy who is also a native from Nzema, he conceded that he was not the one who inserted that particular clause but was rather put in by a committee and was only made to read it as their leader.

“You can check from the committee as to who inserted that particular clause which I read out to the public accusing Mr Kofi Buah for attempting to buy 100 arches of land from a chief from my area for his selfish motives”.

He further mentioned that, he does not regret reading the statement that was duly prepared by the committee that he supervised.

The paramount chief disclosed that there are plans to meet the president to ensure that the move to sway the Gas project to a wrongful place is brought back to its initial location which is Domunli, near Bonyere in the Jomoro District.

We would not hesitate to result to the law court if the government refuses to heed to our calls since the agreement which was signed three years ago that indicated Domunli as the official location for the project is backed by international law.

On his part, the youth leader of the area and a secretary to the committee Uncle Mark, gave a contradictory view regarding the alleged attempted land sale saying the whole exercise was rather led by Mr Buah’s brother instead of an earlier statement that cites Mr Kofi Buah as the main man who approached the chief in question for the land.

Hon Kofi Buah when contacted reaffirmed his commitment to continue fighting for the interest of all Nzema but expressed sadness about the character assassination and called on the entire Nzema community to be careful not to join the chorus of self destruction.

He assured the people of Jomoro of Government’s commitment to the development of the district and assured them that a fair resolution of this impasse will ensure that all Nzema wins.

Source: http://www.modernghana.com/news/379410/1/chaos-in-nzema-omanhene-lies-sub-chief-charges.html

PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE OMANHENE AND PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN NZEMA TRADITIONAL AREA (JOMORO DISTRICT) ON THE PROPOSED RELOCATION OF THE DOMUNLI GAS REFINARY

PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE OMANHENE AND PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN NZEMA TRADITIONAL AREA (JOMORO DISTRICT) ON THE PROPOSED RELOCATION OF THE DOMUNLI GAS REFINARY PROJECT
Members of the Press here present
Ladies and Gentlemen

Once again the Jomoro District is in the news. As usual, just to protest another marginalization and deprivation: a stab in the back. Regrettably this time, painfully this time, shamefully this time it seems to be spearheaded by people we have loved and trusted; people who are regarded as the representatives of the entire people of the Nzemaland. That is why we are fuming. We are fuming today as result of blatant betrayal by people we have trusted.

We are crying foul today because of the proposed relocation of the Gas Processing Plant (GPP) from Domunli in the Jomoro District to Atuabo in the Ellembele District. This is supposed to form part of the Early Gas Infrastructure Project whose budget stands at $1.2 billion. Since 2009, the GNPC has engaged experts to study soil and land suitability and finally settled on the Domunli near Bonyere in the Jomoro District. The GNPC approached the Chiefs and people of Jomoro for land of which they were allocated a land size of 18.9 sq. km. There have been a number of engagements between GNPC and government officials and the local people. The various pronouncements by government officials, Ministers and even the President point to Domunli. Trees and cash crops on the land have been destroyed without the initial compensation arrangement. In all these, the GNPC kept on promising the people of Jomoro of the take off of the Project in 2012. Ladies and gentlemen, to the amazement of many people, including officials of GNPC and VRA, the newly appointed CEO of Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr. G. Sipa Yankey spilled the rumour in the various media that the project would be relocated to Atuabo in the Ellembele District.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the proposed relocation of the Domunli Gas Project to Atuabo enclave cannot be accidental. It has been well planned and executed, and the traps well set with attractive baits. It is not accidental because Hon. Emmanuel Armah Buah is a Deputy Minister of Energy and the Member of Parliament for the Ellembele Constituency. Again, it is not accidental because Dr. Sipah Yankey is the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Gas Company and he comes from the Ellembele District. We expect these two individuals to know better and also point out clearly to them that it is not by accident that His Excellency the President of the Republic in his wisdom appointed them to these key positions. We are inclined to believe that His excellency, besides the many reasons that informed their appointment, he took cognizance of respect for local sensitivities in an area where Ghana has discovered its first ever commercial quantity of oil and gas as crucial, and that is why he put the two personalities is such positions to protect the interest of the people of Nzemaland.

Members of the Press, these are the arguments they are putting up to justify the relocation:
1. That Sinopec- the company charged with the responsibility for the early Phase Gas Infrastructure Project (EPGIP) has conducted another geophysical and geodetic surveys subsequent to the one commissioned by GNPC 3-years ago, which was conducted by the Geological Survey Department of Ghana which looked at all the three sites including Atuabo (in Ellemble), Old Mgbem (in Jomoro) and Domunli Enclave near Bonyere (in Jomoro).
2. That if the project is moved from Domunli to Atuabo, the nation is likely to save a substantial amount for further development because 120 km stretch of pipeline costing $184.00 million will be reduced to 103 km that is $154.00 million; thus saving an amount of $1.5 million times 20 totaling $30.00 million.
3. Also, beside the topography of Atuabo being flat and therefore easier to work on, compared to the Domunli site, which is of an undulating nature and would require a lot of leveling to make it suitable for a gas infrastructure, the former has an access road whereas the latter site would require at least a three-mile stretch of access road.
4. Again, whereas the Domunli site affected eight communities, with one whole community, Bokakole, having to be resettled, the Atuabo area will affect only three communities.
5. Also a court action initiated by some farmers in the area, seeking to restrain Ghana Gas from continuing work on the land, among other reliefs, has been another source of disincentive to working on the entire land, as doing so risked being contemptuous of the court. When the decision was first made to relocate from Atuabo, in the Ellembelle constituency, the people complained bitterly and accused their Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who is also Deputy Minister of Energy (petroleum), of not securing their interest.

Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, on the first argument Sinopec has never been to the Domunli enclave and therefore could not have decided that the Atuabo area is best suited for the project. In any case, what happened to the feasibility studies conducted by the Geological Survey Department of Ghana which was the bases upon which we sought the loan for the project, are we then to say that the Geological Survey Department is not competent enough to conduct that survey?

With respect to the nation saving $30.00 million, the CEO did not tell the nation how much it would cost to extend the deep and shallow submarine pipeline (gas gathering pipeline) which is more expensive than the offshore pipeline. Furthermore, are we being told that the Osagyfo barge at Effasu-Mangyea is no more going to tap into the gas pipeline for it operations? What about the proposed VRA thermal plant at Domunli which is supposed to produce 500 MW of electricity to support the national grid?

With respect to the undulating nature of the Domunli site and the lack of access road, Dr. Sipa Yankey also did not tell the nation that the Atuabo enclave is a perennial flood prone area, and that according to sources close to VRA, it would cost the nation up to $15.00 million to use tailings from Tarkwa to fill every 1 sq. km to a height of about 1 meter at the Atuabo site so as to enable the gas processing plant to be sited at Atuabo. In this case, the nation will have to spend an amount of $60.00 million to fill the 4 sq. km area at Atuabo. The total cost cannot be compared to the construction of a 3 km access road to the Domunli site, which will initially be laterite. Again, the cost of leveling the undulating Domunli site will obviously be cheaper than that of filling the flood prone Atuabo site.

Ladies and Gentlemen, another immediate cost is the need to reconstruct a concrete bridge over river Amanzule near Allah Bokazo and the winding road from Alla Bokazo to Atuabo area. This wills cost the nation more in terms of financial, time and other resources. Again, Bokakole is a small community of just about 20 inhabitants whose relocation would be much smaller and cheaper.

With respect to the court action, it arose as a result of wrong approach adopted by the GNPC and its allies. They started felling coconut trees and destroying other food and cash crops in the area two years earlier without coming out in clear terms with the issue of compensations. Ladies and Gentlemen, these poor farmers depend on their crops for survival. If you cut down the coconut trees and you fail to properly arrange compensation for them, you leave them no alternative than to seek redress. We also think that if GNPC and its allies were really committed to out of court settlement, they could have employed the wise council of eminent chiefs in the area for support. Undoubtedly, there was feet dragging by GNPC on the court matter. In any case GNPC later on apologized and asked for an out of court settlement. Members of the press, Ladies and Gentlemen, all over the world when projects of such magnitude are to be constructed there would be problems. We can point to Adamus mineral resource at Nkroful, in Ellembelle district had problems when they were starting. People were maimed and lives were lost, it took the wise council of eminent chiefs of the Nzemamanle council to resolve the impasse. Now Adamus mineral resources is in operation and has employed lots of the youth in the area.

We are also aware that the project will need the construction of a jetty for the export of LPG and condensate and we are also reliably informed that the Domunli lagoon and its estuary provide the sheltered waters best suitable for such projects. Atuabo has no such advantage as the incoming waves are much stronger. It will therefore cost the nation time and resources to drench a distance of about five (5km) kilometers in other to construct the jetty.

It is also on record that the silica at Atuabo area will be tapped to feed the Abosso Glass Factory as part of the Prestea Industrial Estate Project. Why are we going to site the processing plant on the very resource that we intend to exploit?

Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, we strongly believe that Dr. Sipa Yankey and Hon Armah Buah are greedily motivated by the fact that they have had access to the Subsidiary Loan Agreement, and have full knowledge of the benefits that the catchment area stands to gain. One reason why the people of the Jomoro District find it disheartening is that Hon Armah Buah made a comment that: ‘We will show them where power lies’, when the Chief and people of Kabenlasuazo declined to an outright sale of land in excess of 100 acres close to the Domunli site to himself Hon. (Armah Buah ) and a ‘friend’. Would they have moved the project if they had been given the 100 acre land at Kabenlasuazo. We find the whole relocation attempt as personal and parochial interest motivated other than technical and economic considerations. It is for this reason that we will resist them fiercely with any means at our disposal.
Thank you.”

NYA

We greet each and every humble member of this great movement with the peace and blessings of our maker, the creator of all that exist, both the known and the unseen. I must admit that things are not as easy and silent as it looks, all the same i will plead with all members to exercise great patience and high level of respect amongst ourselves, we must know that we are of the same family and nobody deserves to be disrespected especially in this forum for whatever reason.

We advice that each and every new member should go through the page , read and accept the rules and regulations of this community before participating in any discussions. May we also beg to be given the opportunity to sound a little friendly warning in the form of an advice to that particular group of persons who have managed to infiltrate into the NYA and have decided to launch personal attacks on the good members of this great association and its executives to cease fire with immediate effect and with due respect to them find their way out of this highly respected group of persons who make up the Nzema youth association.

We are also pleading with each and every member to exercise patience with the ongoing misunderstandings which has brought us all with such tougher days. We all pray for the best of results as our top leaders/elders in the motherland goes on with talks aiming to find lasting solutions, we wish not to contradict the decisions of our elders hence any early pronouncements before a final outcome is being avoided by the heads of this movement.

We pray for stronger unity in the motherland through these challenging days of talks. Peace be with us all. NZEMA YOUTH ASSOCIATION