The Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOGSPA) has applauded the progress made in the realisation of the Atuabo Free Port project to ease congestion in the twin-city of Sekondi/Takoradi.
Describing it as strategic, the Executive Director of GOGSPA, Nuertey Adzeman, said the project was a significant public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at creating a dedicated port along the coast of Ghana to serve the emerging oil and gas industry for the entire West Africa.
“To those of us in the industry, a dedicated port facility should have been in place even before the oil and gas operations commenced, since the activities of the industry are unique and must not be intertwined with other commercial port services,” he said.
He said the current situation where the industry’s activities were carried out without the requisite infrastructure had resulted in the situation where the every small space in the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis, including strategic military installations, were taken over by oil and gas activities, a situation which he said could have been avoided.
He said court actions were making it difficult for members to work in that environment and that deprived members of the opportunity to maximise revenue.
The Jurong Example
He said the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore, where the FPSO-Kwame Nkrumah and others was built with more than four decades of experience in the marine engineering business and supported the industry across the globe, started as a joint venture between the government of Singapore and Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries. Today, he noted, the shipyard was a world-class facility employing thousands of Singaporeans.
“Today, Jurong Shipyard is a one-stop total shipyard offering a comprehensive range of services in ship repair, shipbuilding, ship conversion, rig building and offshore engineering”.
“Therefore any action that would hold back its development that has been approved by Parliament of Ghana will be detrimental to the many service providers the industry requires and rob the country of the many job opportunities, skill transfer and sustainable development even after the oil resources runs out,” he said.
To the service providers, he said the new port would provide them with the opportunity to develop their capacity to service the industry not only in Ghana but also in the wider regional market across West Africa and beyond.
“GOGSPA will therefore urge Members of Parliament who went to court in defence of Takoradi Ports to rather lend their support for the project. I must say that, indeed, the Atuabo Freeport project is complementary to that of Takoradi and will not displace any workers as suggested.
“On the contrary, the new port will rather create more job opportunities for Ghanaians. The fact is that there are several reserves in place from our projection.
What is heading our direction is huge that it could not be handled by only one entity, and we foresee that even the free port would need support in future, therefore there is no need for any interruption once the due processes were followed,” he said.
Given the oil discovery of our West coast, Ghana is expected to have at least six FPSO's in operation offshore Ghana, according to experts, so Mr Adzeman said, “Fabrication work holds immense potential for service providers and the existence of a fabrication yard at the Atuabo Freeport will serve us well.”
“The local content and participation provisions within our petroleum laws seek to promote the maximisation of value addition through the use of local expertise, goods, services and materials in petroleum activities and the retention in country of as much activity as possible,” he said.
At present, he said, the manufacturing and industrial base of Ghana were at this point not sufficiently mature to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
“As such, most goods utilised in the petroleum value chain are imported. GOGSPA therefore believes the Atuabo Free Port project would maximise in-country spending, build local capacity and help ensure technology and knowledge transfer,” he said.
He commended the government for its bold step and said it would go a long way not to only position the country stronger but rather create the needed manpower even for export to the global market place.
“It is a fact that oil and gas is not a resource that last forever. Therefore, there is the need to ensure more sustainable approach by way of purposive investment in the development of the needed human resource to take over in the shortest possible time,” he said.