Friday, December 28, 2007

Will he Discovery of Major Oil Reserves Be Ghana's Curse?

Will The Discovery of Major Oil Reserves Be Ghana’s Curse?

“UK firm Tullow Oil has announced the discovery of 600 million barrels of light oil offshore from Ghana. Reserves in the Mahogany exploration well were far greater than the 250 million barrels than the firm had earlier forecast, it said. Tullow - which saw its shares rise 10% on the news - jointly owns the West Cape block where the drilling took place with Anadarko Petroleum. It was one of the biggest oil finds in Africa in recent times, Tullow said. Tullow and Anadarko firms share rights to the adjacent Tano basin, which could yield more oil.”
“Ghana has discovered an offshore oil field at its west coast in its decades exploration, which confirmed the oil potential in the oil thirsty western African country. Dana Petroleum, a British company, and the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) announced that they have discovered offshore oil in the Western Tano Contract Area, about 32 km off the coast, with an output of 1,000 bpd. John Craven, Exploration Manager of Dana, told in Accra that the oil well won't be operational until a comprehensive evaluation is done. The drilling of the well, christened WT-IX, began last December and reached a total measured depth of 10,414 feet (about 3470 meters) and subsequent testing proved that hydrocarbons were present. Tom Cross, Dana's CEO, said the discovery confirms the belief that there is considerable potential in the Western Tano area. Dana holds 90 % ownership while GNPC has 10 % in oil well but can increase to 25 % after commercial development. Ghana is now spending about 30 % of its hard-earned hard currency to import oil every year, with Nigeria being its principal supplier.”

Last week John Kufuor the president of Ghana announced a major oil find that he hoped would lead to prosperity and a brighter future for the African nation that recently celebrated its fiftieth year of “independence” from Western colonial rule. If normal patterns hold true just the opposite will occur as the bloodsucking parasites from the West descend upon the country and attempt to drain it of its natural resources, simultaneously plunging the nation deeper into debt, political instability and chaos. The US and the rest of the West as well as Asian powerhouse China covet oil because their economies as presently constituted are totally dependent upon it for survival.
West African oil in particular is lightweight and a better grade than some other crudes extracted around the world. New oil fields are being discovered off the coast of West Africa all the time and now offers a major source of oil. “Along a broad swath of West Africa, new technologies and higher oil prices have permitted offshore drilling at depths once not practical. Solutions to deep-water extraction problems (making the thick and sluggish oil found in such a low-temperature environment easier to pump, for example) mean that West African crude oil presently is being brought up from depths of up to 2,000 meters... West Africa, led by Nigeria and then Angola and Gabon, now supplies the US with roughly 15% of its oil, but that figure is expected to reach 25% over the next decade. West African crude oil tends to be of good quality, selling just below the Brent benchmark. It can reach refineries in the Gulf of Mexico in just 20 days, half the time required from the Middle East, at savings of 35 cents/b.”
From an Amerikkkan perspective since once extracted, West African crude can reach the US in a relatively short time, this makes West Africa in general and now Ghana in particular all the more attractive. The high quality of West African crude has the Europeans salivating, gleefully rubbing their hands as they scheme how to expropriate it out from under our brethren there. “West Africa is a strategic area for Chevron. Current production is at about 400 thousand barrels per day and expected to increase to about 500 thousand barrels per day in 2006 (Chevron equity share). Chevron's activities in West Africa involve production and exploration in Nigeria, Angola, The Republic of Congo and Chad. Chevron is the operator of concessions that produce Escravos, Pennington, Bonny Light, Cabinda, Nemba, Kuito, and, Palanca crude oils. Chevron also has equity production from concessions operated by other companies that produce N'Kossa Blend. Crude oil from Chad is piped to Cameroon and exported as Doba Blend. With the exception of Kuito and Doba Blend, these crude oils are mature, light, high quality raw materials suitable for the manufacture of high valued transportation fuels and specialty products. Kuito is a heavy crude oil. However, unlike most heavy crude oils from Latin America and the Middle East, Kuito is a mature crude oil. Its heaviness is caused by biodegradation resulting in the absence of a typical light naphtha fraction. Chevron's West African crude oils, including Kuito, are generally sweet and low in sulfur, nitrogen, and other heteroatoms.”
Several companies are currently wrangling for rights to drill and explore for oil in Ghana. “In 2005, Saltpond Offshore Producing Ltd (SOPL), which is owned by the U.S.-registered Lushann-Eternit (60 percent) and the state-owned Ghanaian National Petroleum Company (GNPC) (40 percent), signed a $5 million redevelopment project that will restart six wells on the Saltpond oil and natural gas field. SOPL hopes the additional wells will increase production from the current 500 bbl/d to 1,500 bbl/d. The former operator of Saltpond field, Agripetco, had shut the field down in 1985 due to decreasing output. Scottish-based Dana Petroleum is currently analyzing exploration targets in the deepwater section of its West Tano Block. The company previously drilled two successful test wells, WT-1X and WT-2X on Tano field, and made estimates that the field contained oil reserves of 200 million barrels. However, Dana Petroleum indicated that only a small amount of the oil would be recoverable due to geological reasons. Dana Petroleum operates the block with 90 percent interest and is joined with GNPC (10 percent).
In 2002, Oklahoma-based Devon Energy and Canadian independent EnCana entered into an agreement with the GNPC to explore for hydrocarbons offshore of southeastern Ghana in the Keta Basin. The companies are currently analyzing seismic data on the Keta Block. Devon has been active in Ghana since 1997 when it acquired the Keta concession. Houston-based Vanco Energy also signed an exploration agreement with the Ghanaian government in August 2002. In May 2005, Vanco Energy completed 3D seismic research on its Cape Three Points Deepwater Block, and the company plans to drill its first exploration well on the block in 2006. Finally, Dallas-based, Kosmos Energy signed a seven-year oil exploration agreement with Ghana. Kosmos will search for oil in the Tano Basin, adjacent to Vanco Energy’s Cape Three Points Deepwater Block. Kosmos is operator of the West Cape Three Points license with 86.5 percent interest and is joined with GNPC (10 percent) and E.O. Group (3.5 percent).”
If the usual pattern holds, Western powers will attempt to destabilize Ghana first using the IMF, World Bank and US-Aid, then covert ops and if none of that works, they will push for direct military intervention ala Sudan and Somalia. “U.S. military involvement also seems to be following oil investment on the African continent. While Sudan’s horrific attacks on the Fur and other indigenous peoples of the country’s western Darfur region have finally come to the world’s attention, few have noted that the Pentagon has established a presence just across the border in Chad—not to respond to the genocide but to chase ‘terrorist networks.’ Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group are also training troops in Mali, Mauritania and Niger under the program, aimed at halting infiltration into sub-Saharan Africa by the Algeria-based Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which has publicly pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda. The new U.S. military presence comes just as ExxonMobil has targeted Chad for a major new thrust of oil development. New oilfields have opened in Chad’s Doha Basin, and a World Bank-funded 600-mile pipeline was completed in 2003, linking Chad to the Atlantic and Western oil markets.” Forgotten Oil Wars of the “War on Terrorism” By Bill Weinberg
Ghana is a relatively stable country but so was Nigeria several decades ago. Oil and other mineral resources the West covets will motivate the multi-national corporations to do what they do best, prompt their government stooges to do their bidding to get what they want. They and their government cronies will bribe, coerce, frame, set up, manipulate and murder African leaders to get whatever they want. This is how they operate all over the continent. “The continent's leading oil producer, Nigeria, has received more than $400 billion since its boom began in 1970, yet its Gross National Income per capita is about 25 percent lower than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. Corruption and poverty are rife, fuel shortages are endemic, and armed gangs regularly kidnap foreign oil workers and battle the Nigerian Army in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The annual budget of Angola, Africa's number two producer, is $31 billion, but its official figures for infant mortality are the among the worst in the world. ‘What most people don't understand about oil is that, not only does the money not filter through to the majority of the population, but it's much worse than that,’ says Nicholas Shaxson, an oil analyst at the London-based Chatham House think tank and the author of ‘Poisoned Wells,’ which examines how the resource affects countries. ‘It actively makes most people poorer.’” - Ghana aims to avoid the 'oil curse' President John Kufuor says he will put safeguards in place to ensure that newly discovered oil reserves will not be mismanaged.
Nigeria is a classic example of how the West’s lust for oil undermines indigenous peoples’ self-determination, their economies and their countries. “Oil has also had a deep influence on the Nigerian government. Since the early 1970s, the Nigerian government has annually received over half of its revenues – sometimes as much as 85 percent – directly from the oil sector. These oil revenues are not only large, they are also highly volatile – that is, they can fluctuate drastically in size from year to year, causing the size of government, and the funding of government programs, to fluctuate accordingly. For example, from 1972 to 1975, government spending rose from 8.4 percent to 22.6 percent of GDP; by 1978, it dropped back to 14.2 percent of the economy [World Bank 2002]. Few governments are able to cope with this kind of volatility, and it is not surprising – in retrospect – that the Nigerian government was unable to adhere to wise fiscal policies during the 1970s and 1980s, when oil prices fluctuated sharply. The decentralization of the Nigerian government made sound revenue management even more difficult, since much of the oil revenue has been automatically passed on from the federal government to the state and local governments. The ability of these governments to spend their funds wisely, and limit corruption, has been low. Nigeria’s oil wealth has also led to social and political unrest, particularly in the Niger Delta. The Igbo effort to secede from Nigeria, which led to the 1967-70 civil war, was deeply rooted in ethnic tensions and Nigeria’s colonial past; but the rebellion was encouraged by the presence of oil, and hence the belief that independence would be economically beneficial for the Igbo people. Similarly, the unrest among the Ogoni and Ijaw peoples in the Niger Delta can in part be traced to their desire to win a larger share of the region’s economic wealth. ” Nigeria’s Oil Sector and The Poor May 23, 2003 Michael L. Ross UCLA Department of Political Science Los Angeles, CA. 90046
Look for intrigue and intra and inter political party tensions to increase in Ghana and corruption to become more pronounced. Also keep an eye on the IMF, World Bank and US-Aid and monitor the “loans” they force upon the Ghanaian government. This will be the signal the Western elites are working behind the scenes attempting to gain greater control of Ghana’s government and its assets. When you see this, know full well a program of deliberate destabilization and advanced Neo-Colonialism much like is going on throughout Africa is about to show up in Ghana.



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