Photo: Soldiers Guarding The 'Volta Oil'

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) initial assessment of samples of what appears to be crude oil sprouting out from a hand-dug well at Jumbo near Kpassa in the Volta Region, has shown a positive result. The GNPC’s team of experts has expressed surprise about the substance which looked almost refined compared to most unrefined crude oil. Obeng Gyan, a technical director at GNPC, told chiefs and people of Jumbo that forensic investigation would be performed to find the veracity or otherwise of the oily substance. He urged the people to avoid contact with the resource because should the test become positive, the crude oil could contain harmful chemicals due to its complex mixture of hydrocarbons and petrochemicals that possibly could affect the brain, lungs, skin and the nervous system. Mr Gyan showed samples of hydrocarbons from other areas, which appeared darker in colour than the substance oozing from the Jumbo well. He suggested this could be a special discovery and could occur in a reservoir underground, assuring that ensuing investigations would settle the matter. Oti Bless, Member of Parliament for Nkwanta North, said the area was hard hit by water scarcity, especially in the dry season, resulting in the discovery and a possible good omen if proven positive. Paul Levin Gyato, Nkwnata North District Chief Executive, urged his compatriots to tread cautiously as “it is too early to begin to count the gains”. There was excitement among the people of Jumbo when a hand-dug well being sunk for Kofi Gyato, a farmer for domestic purposes, began to yield an oily substance suspected to be crude oil. Jumbo, a small town, lies between the Nkwanta North and South districts and the substance, which some say smells like diesel and kerosene, was discovered flowing after the well diggers reached the 10-metre depth. Mr Gyato said harmattan or dry seasons were good periods for digging wells because when water was struck in those times, the resource could be sustainable all year round. He said initially, when the diggers noticed the layer of oil in the well, they thought someone had intentionally poured the substance into the well. Mr Gyato said the substances had been harvested into jerry cans and other containers for testing purposes but more of the substance kept flowing with promising yields. Paul Levin Gyato, Nkwanta North DCE, said checks from the Chinese Jianzhi International Corporation, a road construction firm, located some 400 metres away, had proved negative about leakages from their fuel dump. He said mechanic shops and fuel stations were not sited within the vicinity of the well to suggest that the development stemmed from seepages. He stated that security personnel had been deployed to guard the discovery. Emmanuel Mozart Attah, a geologist and Chief Executive of Water Plus Drilling Company Limited, told the GNA that the discovery demanded more investigations. He said parts of the Northern Volta region and the three northern regions were sitting on shale rock formations which were a potential receptacle for oil more so the area was an inland basin capable of containing more oil deposits. The geologists noted that a distinguishing feature between oil and water was the property of not mixing.