More Investment needed in oil, gas sector — Experts

Industry experts in the Oil and Gas sector have called for more investment in the sector to spur sustainable economic growth.

Expanding the critical gas infrastructure, they said, would enable an optimised use of the product to save the country foreign exchange in its energy bills.

The experts included the Council Chair of the Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber (GUPC) and Senior Vice-President of Kosmos Energy Ghana, Joe Mensah; the Managing Director of MODEC Production Sevices Ghana, Theo Ahwireng; the General Manager of Engineering, GNPC, Victor Sunu-Attah, and the Director, Local Content, Petroleum Commission, Kwaku Boateng.

The experts, at the two-day Ghana Oil and Gas conference in Accra on the theme “Ghana’s Oil and Gas industry: Prospects and Opportunities, said that natural gas, recognised as the energy transition fuel of choice, had become the preferred fuel for power plants replacing otherwise expensive crude oil.

The conference was organised by the GUPC in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy.

The country is now substituting liquid fuel for gas to power the energy sector, which provides ample testament that when the gas sector is fully exploited, it will reduce the country’s debt.

The 2023 Ghana Upstream Petroleum Report indicates that last year, the country made significant savings of $1.3 billion from the substitution of liquid fuel for gas.

As part of its recommendations, the report indicated that it was necessary to optimise gas utilisation with the necessary infrastructure to increase gas export and off-take and added that it was imperative to prioritise initiatives that reduce gas flaring, encourage gas offtakes and enhance the utilisation of locally produced gas.  

The report disclosed that domestic gas exports for power generation represented 82 per cent of total gas consumed with imports from Nigeria Gas, accounting for the remaining 18 per cent.

“In 2022, about 107.56 Billion Cubic Feet (Bcf) was exported into the domestic gas market.

This is equivalent to 20.45 million barrels of oil equivalent, the volume of oil to have been consumed for power generation in the absence of fuel switching to gas”, it stated.

The report also recommended incentives for the exploration of oil to boost reserves and increase production.

It added that the country needed to monitor the transition energy space for additional opportunities in the sector.

Gas pricing

Touching on the issue of gas pricing, the Senior Vice-President of Kosmos Energy Ghana, Mr Joe Mensah, called for commitment from the government to provide fair pricing for gas to boost investor confidence in the sector.

The country, he said, had exhausted its free gas supply, which it enjoyed over the years from the oil producers and, therefore, now had to determine a real pricing for the gas.

He said if the right investments were put in place in the sector, the country would make enough money and, therefore, would not need to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for support.

The General Manager for Engineering, GNPC, Mr Sunu-Attah, also called for a conscious effort to satisfy the investors in the sector to enable them to produce more for the country.

Mr Ahwireng agreed that harnessing the full potential of natural gas was very critical to the country’s development and, therefore, more efforts needed to be put in that direction to guarantee energy sufficiency for the country.