Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), Petroleum Commission of Ghana and the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority have expressed optimism at ending or curbing the menace of illegal bunkering that has riddled the oil and gas industry in the country. Motivated after an inspection tour by a delegation from the Petroleum Commission at the $15m Marine Gasoil Facility installation by GOIL at the Takoradi Ports, industry players are convinced 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.
Thefacility can boast of a 13.5 million liters fully automated tank farm that can sufficiently meet requisitions by offshore exploration firms and fishing vessels among others.
The facility according to the Oil and Gas Manager of GPHA Takoradi, Captain Daniel Quartey, when completed, will possess a water treatment plant, a bunker, fabrication and repair yards, chemical and all other facilities required by the industry. He opines the facility among others will possibly eliminate or reduce illegal operations on our shores.
“This is helping us stop or minimize illegal bunkering which sometimes gives rise to unregulated and unlawful fishing because once they go to the fishing grounds and loose fuel they have facilities there at high sea that they can get fuel. But if they can’t get it there and they would have to come into the port the most people who from outside Ghana who are not registered to fish in Ghana will not come into our waters to fish. Because they won’t get the supplies. They only have to come into the port. And once you are coming into the port you should be known. It would reduce the menace of stowaways, illicit drugs imported into the country. Because once these illegal and unregulated fishing and bunkering are going on there, it is intertwined with a lot of unlawful operations there. In fact it becomes a matter of national security threat for us as a nation”
According to a Chief Operating Officer for GOIL Alex Adzew, it is projected that about $60m is lost along the West African Coast through illegal bunkering.
The facility 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 will have to pay to the state when they come in-port is lost. It is acclaimed by the Shipping Watch, that along the West African Coast, we are losing almost close to $60 million every month because the potential out there is about 100 to 130 million liters of fuel that is traded offshore on the West African Coast on a monthly basis; he explains.
Mr Adzew avers that the facility is unique and unparalleled on the West African Coast.
“This facility is the only one you can see in West Africa and just among a few in on the African continent. It is solely for the purpose of the supply of marine gasoil, not any other product. It is unique because compared to other facilities by [others] in the industry. Other facilities are located 4 km or 8km away from the ports. And those are depots, they serve other products”
Because of the price differential that used to be, between the diesels for our service stations and marine gasoil, people will lift the marine gasoil which was then subsidized to the service stations, he alleges.
Chief Executive Officer for the Petroleum Commission Egbert Faible Jnr commended GOIL for putting up such an infrastructure at the Takoradi port. He says the investment is exemplary of government’s motivation to enhancing 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. We hope such situations do not happen, he adds.
Mr Faible contends GOIL is a state own enterprise and that deserves all the needed support in their operations.
He says “the visit would enable them align with GOIL and key partners as well as the industry so that when request for approval of marine gasoil come before us [Petroleum Commission] and we are ensuring compliance with local content regulations we would have full knowledge of what we have and the capacity that we have, to be able to make recommendations to the company to company to look this way or that way or even unbundle in such a manner that everybody may get something once you are a local entity”
He assures 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 would consult everyone in the industry, he added.