The country has gas reserves of about 2-3 trillion standard cubic feet, and Dr. Theophilus Acheampong, a petroleum economist, believes the gas sector has the potential to be a game-changer in the country’s bid to be an industrial hub in West Africa.
“You can do so much with gas that you may not be able to do ordinarily with oil on its own; so, that is the potential the country has.”
“Gas has so much potential to turn the fortunes of the country around in terms of meeting our energy needs. Beyond this, it is environmentally-friendly and much cheaper compared to other options.”
Dr. Acheampong was asked how the country could use it gas resources optimally, and responded saying “although the biggest need for gas at the moment is power-generation, it is imperative that beyond this the country thinks about building a robust petrochemical industry.
“We need to ask ourselves, what do we want to use this resource for and how do we position Ghana as the haven for manufacturing, either light or heavy, in the wider sub-region and become competitive,” he said.
He added that such a plan must be anchored into the broader national industrial strategy.
Apart from being a much cheaper source of fuel and more environmentally-friendly, he explains gas can propel the country’s development as it can be used for ammonia, fertilisers and plastics when ethylene and ethane are taken out of it.
However, for the country to use gas to realise its industrial dream, Dr. Acheampong believes domestic gas prices must be competitive. “We have infrastructure, we have domestic gas; but the price is not competitive, and if you don’t have a competitive price then your industrialisation programme may not necessarily take off.”
He added, “So, beyond power generation, we cannot use the excess gas for anything, because the price makes the economics not worthwhile”.
He said the completion of gas reverse flow infrastructure from Takoradi to Tema under the West Africa Gas Pipeline positions the country to use domestic gas for generating electricity and other industrial purposes.