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Gov’t To Beef Up Security At Oilfields – Defence Minister
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Dominic Nitiwul
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Tullow Ghana Limited (TGL) has received assurance and commitment from Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul that work is underway to upgrade equipment needed by the Ghana Navy to improve the security of TGL’s Floating Production Storage Offloading vessel (FPSOs) and Ghana’s oil and gas fields located off the coast of the Western Region.

“It is obvious that it is a very expensive facility, and the biggest challenge is to protect it. 

“The security of a facility of this magnitude and the security of the people on board are important.
If you invest a billion dollars, you must make sure you secure the place,” he said in reference to the Tweneboa, Enyera and Ntomme (TEN) FPSO.

Nitiwul gave the assurance when he was joined by the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, and other high-level officers to tour the FPSO, located at the TEN fields operated by Tullow Ghana.

The tour was facilitated by TEN FPSO Offshore Installation Managers for Tullow, Prince Amoako and Contactors MODEC, Gary Fearn tour.

The visit became necessary after the ITLOS ruling, to give the Defence Ministry and the Ghana Armed Forces a sense of how best to support companies like Tullow in the area of security and asset protection and ward off potential dangers like terrorism.

Concerns about drones 

He inquired about disturbances from equipment such as drones, and Head of Asset Protection at Tullow Ghana, Captain Edward Abban explained that the Civil Aviation Authority is now registering drones. 

He, however, reiterated the importance of improving aerial security as well. 

Operations of fishermen

Nitiwul was concerned about operations of fishermen in the area, but the Offshore Installation Managers indicated the fishermen are not allowed within 500 metres of the TEN FPSO, for their own safety. 

“My first impression is that the people here are doing very well. I think the way they are going about their protection arrangement and complying with protective regulation is good for us. What I would urge is for Ghanaians to co-operate with them; at the end of the day, they are doing work for all of us,” Nitiwul added.

Naval patrol boats commissioned 

On Tuesday, the ability of the Ghana Navy to monitor Ghana’s maritime area was given a boost with the commissioning of four naval patrol boats with responsibility to monitor Ghana’s maritime area, especially the vicinity of the FPSOs.

Nitiwul stated that, “I think the navy will have to be equipped to be able to do their protection in military boats. For now, civilian boats host military men, but that is not good enough. We have some boats but we need to equip our navy enough because now this area with Jubilee and Sankofa is a $2-billionr exclusive zone. As a government, we have taken the decision to equip our navy and airforce, as well to patrol the area with helicopter gunships so they can respond quickly if the need arises”.

Lt. General Akwa called for the establishment of a Forward Operating Base to be located offshore near the country’s oilfields to keep the Ghana Navy close by in the event of an emergency. 

The CDS explained that it takes more than two hours to get to the FPSOs from Takoradi. 

He urged the oil companies operating offshore Western Region to work with the military to set up such a base, which could be as close as 30 minutes to the FPSO. 

TGL received praise for maintaining a high level of safety in operating its two FPSO.

The TEN FPSO is Tullow Ghana’s second producing asset and is named after the late President John Evans Atta Mills. 

TEN began production in August 2016, and has produced more than 15 million barrels. of oil.
Source: The Finder

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