The future of the petroleum sector rests with gas because of its multifaceted applications and cheaper exploration cost, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Gas, Dr. Ben Asante, has said.
Dr. Asante says he foresees gas overtaking oil as the leading hydrocarbon, and apart from power generation, gas can be used as both a raw material and a source of heat, as well as an ingredient to make fertilider, anti-freeze, plastics, pharmaceuticals and fabrics.
Other chemicals such as ammonia, methanol, butane, ethane, acetic acid, among others, he added, are manufactured from using natural gas.
“When you look at the family of hydrocarbons – which is coal, oil and gas – the environmentalists are pushing for the hydrocarbon which is the most atmospherically friendly, which is gas.
“Coal is almost out of the door and very soon oil will be out too, so that leaves gas as the hydrocarbon of the future, in addition to renewable energy,” he said.
Dr. Asante was speaking as a panellist at the first day of the Ghana Energy Summit 2019 in Accra, during a panel discussion on the topic ‘Effective utilisation of domestic gas – a catalyst for economic growth’, and called for proper institutional and regulatory frameworks to ensure that the country makes the most of its gas resources.
“Institutional and regulatory arrangements give roles to institutions along the gas value chain. So it will tell you who actually takes custody of the gas, who is responsible for operating the infrastructure, and who is also responsible for sales.
“Then on the regulatory side, which of our institutions should be regulating our agencies? These are all important things that we should leave no ambiguity about; there should be clarity in all these areas,” he advocated.
Another area he believes is critical to effective utilisation of gas, as well as sustainability of the industry is capacity building and local content development.
Although he said the country’s gas is being put to effective use, he noted more still needs to be done to develop a wide range of local expertise – which he believes is important to the gas industry’s sustainability.
The reliance on foreign expertise, he noted, prevents the country from developing a local knowledge base that will ensure long-term sustainability and development of the sector.
“At Ghana Gas, our operation is 100 percent indigenous; all the pipes and pipelines are being handled by Ghanaians. I am not saying that we pay our staff cheaply, but they are cheaper; and most importantly, they will be able to pass on the experience to those who come after them, and that is how you sustain an industry,” he stated.
On the country’s gas potential, he said: “We are continually exploring for more oil and gas, and for as long as we have it, we will be able to supply gas for power generation and to support development of certain strategic areas”.