The Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), Petroleum Commission of Ghana and Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) Takoradi have expressed confidence in curbing the menace of illegal bunkering that has damaged the country’s oil and gas.
After an inspection by a delegation from the Petroleum Commission at the US$15m Marine Gasoil Facility installation by GOIL at the Takoradi Port, industry actors are convinced that the investment will not only yield good dividends, but potentially ripple into reducing illegal bunkering – both on-shore and offshore – as well as regulate and track unlawful fishing and drug-peddling.
The facility boasts a 13.5million-litre fully automated tank farmhouse that can sufficiently meet requisitions by offshore exploration firms and fishing vessels, among others.
Captain Daniel Quartey, Oil and Gas Manager at GPHA Takoradi, said the facility has a water treatment plant, a bunker, fabrication and repair yards, and chemical as well as other facilities required by the industry. He pointed out that the facility will among others most probably eliminate or reduce illegal operations on our shores.
“This is helping us stop or minimise illegal bunkering, which sometimes gives rise to unregulated and unlawful fishing because once they go to the fishing grounds and lose fuel, they have facilities there on the high seas where they can get fuel,” he said.
Also, he said, this will reduce the menace of stowaways and illicit drugs imported into the country. “Once this illegal and unregulated fishing and bunkering is going on there, it is entangled with a lot of unlawful operations. In fact, it becomes a matter of national security threat for us as a nation.”
According to the Chief Operating Officer for GOIL, Alex Adzew, it is projected that about US$60m is lost monthly along the West African Coast through illegal bunkering.
The facility, he said, will help address the issue of vessels taking marine gasoil offshore. And when they take marine gasoil offshore, the state loses revenue because all the duties and levies they should pay to the state is lost.
He said it is commented by the Shipping Watch that along the West African Coast, the country is losing close to US$60million every month because the potential out there is about 100 to 130 million litres of fuel being traded offshore the West African Coast on a monthly basis.
Mr. Adzew avers that the facility is unique and supreme on the West African Coast.
“This facility is the only one you can see in West Africa, and is just among a few on the African continent. It is solely for the purpose of supplying marine gasoil and not any other product. It is unique compared to other facilities in the industry,” he added
Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Egbert Faiblle Jnr., commended GOIL for putting up such an infrastructure at the Takoradi Port.
He said the investment is an example of government’s motivation to enhance local content in the oil and gas industry.
“This is an exclusive facility for marine gasoil bunkering, all the other ones we have in this republic are depots which is to say, they have all kinds of products, which may or can result in contamination and we hope such situations do not happen”, he said.
Mr. Faiblle explained that GOIL, is a state own enterprise and that deserves all the needed support in their operations.
He said “the visit will enable them align with GOIL and key partners as well as the industry so that when request for approval of marine gasoil comes before Petroleum Commission and we are ensuring compliance with local content regulations, we will have full knowledge of what we have as well as the capacity to be able to make recommendations to the company or even unbundle in such a manner that everybody may get something once you are a local entity”
He assured GOIL of government support to improve business, as way of meeting targets with regards to local content.
“Presently, we are considering regulations on bunkering for which we will consult everyone in the industry, he added.