The Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Hege Hertzberg, has commended Ghana for her efforts in managing the waste generated from the country’s offshore operations since the discovery of commercial oil and gas in June 2007.
Speaking after the ambassador and her delegation toured the waste transfer station of the Zeal Environmental Technologies Limited, a wholly Ghanaian investment at Nyankrom in the Shama District of the Western Region, Ms Hertzberg said the operations of the company was very commendable.
The multi-million dollar integrated waste management facility handles waste from the country’s offshore oil and gas operations and the waste from the mining operations in the country.
It manages hazardous and non-hazardous wastes from all drilling activities from the oil rigs and platforms offshore Ghana, Togo and Liberia as well as waste from vessels calling at the port.
The ambassador said “The very idea of the facility which manages both hazardous and non-hazardous waste and put it into a commercial use by value addition for further use that creates further employment is really the way Ghana should go to solve environmental issues.”
Ambassador Hertzberg said waste was one of the main problems of the extractive sector and that it was important that in the early days of the country’s oil industry the country did not look at waste as a problem, but as a resource and an opportunity to create further raw material base for smaller industries.
She said her country would be more than willing to help share its experiences in oil and gas with Ghana.
Issues of environmental protection were not an individual country’s problem but a problem that the whole world should be concerned about, she said.
The ambassador said it was also gratifying to note that the strategic location of operations of Zeal Environmental facility serves neighbouring countries to manage the waste generated from their oil exploration activities.
She urged the company to further collaborate with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure strict adherence to rules that protect the environment.
According to the Chief Executive of Zeal Environmental Technologies, Mr Kweku Ennin, the company adheres to all directives given by EPA in its quest to ensure industry standard.
The facility, he said had saved the country cost, explaining, “Without our facility, waste from the country’s offshore will have been managed outside the country at a cost which would eventually increase the cost of operation of international oil companies,” he said.
He said even though the company was well positioned to handle all the waste generated from the country’s offshore operations, there was also room for players to enter since the industry in Ghana continue to grow.
Currently, Mr Ennin said the facility also receives waste from the gold mining companies, which hitherto were challenged as how to manage their waste and other chemical wastes.
He said the company had installed the country’s first industrial incinerator to ensure things that would have negative impact on the environment were incinerated according to standards.
Story: Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu, Nyankrom