Ghana: Onshore oil exploration in the Voltaian basin yielding dividends - President
11 Feb 2018
Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday announced that a pilot survey in the Voltaian basin for possible onshore oil discovery, has established the 'presence of a working petroleum system'.
'I hope that, eventually, there will be something big for us to cheer about', he expressed in optimism in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament.
The President said his directive last year, to the state-owned oil development company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to pay particular attention to the onshore oil potential appeared to be yielding dividends.
'I directed our state-owned oil development company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to pay particular attention to this potential. It is good to hear that that directive appears to be yielding dividends, as GNPC, from the results of its pilot survey in the Voltaian basin, has established the presence of a working petroleum system,' the President indicated.
President Akufo-Addo, in July 2017 reiterated the commitment of government to the exploration and discovery of oil in commercial quantities onshore, specifically in the Voltaian Basin.
The President gave the assurance last July after turning on the valves on the FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor to signal the formal production of oil in commercial quantities from the Sankofa oil and gas fields.
He said 17 years ago, during the presidential campaign of then candidate John Agyekum Kufuor, he gave a solemn pledge to the people of Takoradi, in the Western Region, that, if elected, his government would concentrate on discovering oil in commercial quantities.
'I believe God will be on our side once again under another NPP administration to strike more oil and gas. President Kufuor made it happen off shore.
'The focus now is also to explore opportunities onshore. That is why my government is committed to intensifying efforts towards the discovery of oil and gas onshore in the Voltaian Basin,' he said.
The President stated that the commitment of the GNPC, to find oil and gas in the Voltaian Basin, was reassuring, and was delighted about that bold step.
'My government is totally committed to giving Dr K K Sarpong and his team all the support they need to make this happen. I have been briefed that all the necessary preparatory work has been done to commence initial seismic survey. Approval for the award of the contract for the seismic survey will be given soon,' he said.
With the oil industry increasingly becoming an important contributor to the country’s economy, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the efficient management of petroleum resources and its associated revenues was a national priority.
He gave the assurance that government would ensure the welfare of its people, promote employment, improve the environment, and strengthen trade and industrial development in the country, by judiciously managing the country’s petroleum resource.
In accordance with the NPP’s 2016 Manifesto, President Akufo-Addo noted that, government would ensure that the petroleum sector remained a significant contributor to financing nationwide industrial development, and thus, generating resources that could be used for rapid development of national infrastructure and in increasing agricultural productivity.
The Voltaian Basin
According to information on the Petroleum Commission Ghana web site: The Voltaian Basin, one of four basins in Ghana, is an asymmetrical inland basin covering about 40% of Ghana’s continental landmass. It stretches into Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso. The basin formed during the Pan African Orogeny about six hundred million years ago (600 Ma) as a result of the collision between the stable West African Craton and the Pan African Mobile Belt, which are represented in Ghana by the Birimian Supergroup and the Dahomeyan System respectively. Sediments are of shallow marine to continental origin and comprise sub-horizontal beds of sandstones, shales, mudstones and conglomerates, which range in age from Precambrian to Paleozoic.
The thickness of sediments exceeds 6000m in the deepest portion of the basin. The Voltaian Basin has great potential to hold significant petroleum resources. Soviet Geologists observed viscous black oily bitumen in core samples of sandstones, shales and siltstones of the Oti Group in Middle Voltaian, suggesting the presence of a working petroleum system. The basin has been stratigraphically divided into:
- Upper Voltaian, which comprises massive and thinly bedded sandstones with some shales.
- Middle Voltaian, which comprises sandstones with limestone intercalations (Upper Greenish-Grey Series), shales with limestone intercalations, siltstones, silty sandstones (Variegated Series) and conglomerates.
- Lower Voltaian, which comprises sandstones, shales and siltstones (Lower Greenish-Grey Series) and quartz sandstone (Basal Sandstone Series)