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Gas Flaring Imminent   
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Jubilee Partners would be compelled to flare gas in the next 18 months as result of the failure of government to provide an infrastructure for the development of gas in the country.

Government has hinted that it is sourcing $1.1 billion to finance the construction of gas pipelines from the Jubilee field to Bonyere, where a gas processing plant is expected to be built.

“We have not even raised the money yet and we have barely 18 months to the deadline,” said Mohammed Amin Anta, coordinator of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and gas in Ghana when he highlighted some contentious issues in the oil and gas sector at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

He cited portions of the Gas Technical Committee report that reveals that about 70 per cent of gas is likely to be flared.

Since 2007 when Ghana discovered oil, stakeholders have questioned how the gas that comes with the oil would be developed, and government officials have ruled out the possibility of flaring.

However, though there is the option of re-injecting the oil, the jubilee partners have hinted that such an action will affect the oilfields negatively and reduce oil recovery therefore leaving the nation with the only option of flaring.

“The potential for flaring is rife” said Nana Ama Yirrah, Executive Director of Community, Land and development Foundation.

If this happens, the nation will have to battle with environmental issues as well as economic implications since it is not just the lives of the people in the oil rich community that would be affected but the nation as a whole.

The Gas Technical Committee report states that the proposed 300 hectares of land to be acquired by government for the gas processing plant is being used for farming activities.

“The land is predominately being used for cultivating coconut trees, oil palm and cassava which the people depend on,” said Mr Anta.

According to the platform, human settlement in the Bokakole and Bonyere communities in the Jomoro District of the West Nzema traditional area is likely to be displaced while other residents of communities, who are not more than two kilometres from the proposed site, would be exposed to environmental dangers.

Government has announced plans to acquire the land compulsorily but civil society activist think that compulsory acquisition of the land would violate the wishes of the people in the area and principle of free and informed prior consent and therefore falls short of international human rights law.

The people who might be affected have indicated their intention to use the land as equity in the gas development project.

Since government is planning to establish a new gas company, the platform said the role of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is therefore not clear in the development and management of the gas sector.

GNPC has the primary responsibility of developing and managing the country’s gas resources.

Kwame Jantuah of the African Energy Consortium limited which provides services in the oil industry, noted that a gas turbine is being sourced.

The group commended government for coming out with the petroleum revenue management Act 815 and the petroleum commission law, development of a local content and local participation policy and the revision of the petroleum law PNDC law 84 to respond to the challenges in the industry.

Dr Stephen Manteyaw, Chairman of the platform said the citizenry have a role to play in ensuring an effective governance of the oil and gas sector.

“For Ghana to set pace in the hydrocarbon resource management in Africa we have to be vigilant and the platform will raise the flag and offer alternative measures on what needs to be done.”

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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