Acquisition of land for petroleum hub project in the offing
The site plan for the acquisition of 20,000-acre land for the petroleum hub project is currently before the cabinet for approval.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to issue an Executive Instrument (EI) for the compulsory acquisition of the land, located in the Jomoro municipality in the Western Region, to pave the way for construction work to begin on the project.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in charge of Operations and Technical at the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC), Nana Ama Tima Boakye, who made this known last Monday, said a land consultant who was engaged to look into the land acquisition process, completed the work last year.
She also said the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), which was commissioned to develop a spatial plan of the project hub, had also completed its work and handed it over to the Energy Ministry.
"The spatial plan details why Jomoro was chosen to host the petroleum hub, other considerations, as well as the plans for the future," she added.
Nana Boakye made this known at a workshop held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to disseminate the findings of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the development of the petroleum hub.
The workshop brought together officials from stakeholder institutions such as the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC), the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and academic institutions.
“Strategic Environmental Assessment is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental implications of a proposed policy, plan or programme and provides means for looking at cumulative effects and appropriately address them at the earliest stage of decision making alongside economic and social considerations,” according to the European Union (EU).
The SEA assesses the extent to which a given policy, plan or programme provides an adequate response to environmental and climate-change–related challenges.
It also details how a policy, plan or programme may adversely affect the environment and climate resilience while offering opportunities to enhance the state of the environment and contributing to climate-resilient and low-carbon development.
The SEA Petroleum Hub Coordinator and Deputy Executive Director of EPA, Dr Christine O. Asare, explained that the SEA hinged on four pillars, namely the economy, sociocultural issues, natural resources and the government's policy Agenda for Jobs.
She said the rationale for the SEA was to incorporate environmental sustainability issues into the strategic decision-making process on the petroleum hub.
As part of the recommendations, the EPA called for the development of a biodiversity plan before work begins on the petroleum hub project in the Jomoro municipality in the Western Region.
Dr Asare said the development of the plan would help to preserve the rich biodiversity in the area and ensure that the critical species in that ecosystem do not suffer from the operations of the hub.
"We have the baseline data now so with the biodiversity plan, every year, we will measure it against the baseline to determine how the species are doing. It should be possible to do development within a rich biodiversity area without affecting the integrity of the area," she said.
She added that based on the local content policy, there should be deliberate arrangements to train the residents of the Jomoro area to make them employable so that it helped the local economy.
The Integrated Petroleum Hub will rest on a 20,000-acre parcel of land in the Jomoro municipality in the Western Region.
Estimated at US$ 60 billion, the investor-driven project will be the first of its kind in Africa.
The hub will operate on a build-operate-and-transfer module where the private sector leads the financing processes.