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Although commercial quantities of offshore oil reserves
in Ghana were
discovered in the 1970s, by 1990 production was still negligible.
In 1983 the government established the Ghana National Petroleum
Corporation (GNPC) to promote exploration and production, and the
company reached agreements with a number of foreign firms. The most
important of these permitted US-based Amoco to prospect in ten offshore blocks between
Ada and the western
border with Togo. Petro
Canada International has prospected in the Tano River Basin, and Diamond Shamrock in the Keta Basin. In 1989 three companies, two American
and one Dutch, spent US$30 million drilling wells in the Tano
basin. On June 21, 1992, an offshore Tano basin well produced about
6,900,000 barrels (1,097,000 m3) of oil
map at Tullow Oil's
In the early 1990s, GNPC reviewed all earlier oil and gas
discoveries to determine whether a predominantly local operation
might make exploitation more commercially viable. GNPC wanted to
set up a floating system for production, storage, off-loading,
processing, and gas-turbine electricity generation, hoping to
produce 22 billion cubic feet (620,000,000 m3) per
day, from which 135 megawatts of power could be generated and fed
into the national and regional grid. GNPC also won a contract in
1992 with Angola's state oil
company, Sonangol, that provides for drilling and,
ultimately, production at two of Sonangol's offshore oilfields.
GNPC will be paid with a share of the oil.
The country's refinery at Tema
underwent the first phase of a major rehabilitation in 1989. The
second phase began in April 1990 at an estimated cost of US$36
million. Once rehabilitation is completed, distribution of
liquified petroleum gas will be improved, and the quantity supplied
will rise from 28,000 to 34 million barrels per day
(5,400,000 m3/d). Construction on the new Tema-Akosombo oil products
pipeline, designed to improve the distribution system further,
began in January 1992. The pipeline will carry refined products
from Tema to Akosombo Port, where they will be transported across
Lake Volta to northern
regions. Distribution continues to be uneven, however. Other
measures to improve the situation include a US$28 million project
to set up a national network of storage depots in all regions.
The Tema Lube Oil Company commissioned its new oil blending
plant, designed to produce 25,000 tons of oil per year, in 1992.
The plant will satisfy all of Ghana's requirements for motor and
gear lubricants and 60 percent of the country's need for industrial
lubricants, or, in all, 90 percent of Ghana's demand for lubricant
products. Shareholders include Mobil, Shell, and British Petroleum (together accounting for
48 percent of equity), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and
the Social Security and National Insurance Trust.