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Ghana becomes an oil state

posted 13 Dec 2010, 11:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 13 Dec 2010, 11:03 ]
Ghana will become a new oil producer on December 15 - Tullow Oil has spent three years developing an undersea field which could prove a rich resource for the West African country.
GHANA-OIL INDUSTRYThis is old Ghana.

Fishermen mending their nets on the beach.

Tuna has traditionally been one of the main exports here .

But now its seas are giving up an even more valuable potential export...

Oil was first discovery along Ghana's coast in 2007 and now the country is poised for a brave new future.

One of Africa's leading independent oil companies, Tullow Oil - based in London - has developed the under sea field.

It's Chief Executive is Aidan Heavey,

Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive Officer, Tullow Oil, saying: 

"From the day we drilled the first well it was obvious that this was a first class well, this was going to be transforming for Tullow and for Ghana. So it was very important to make sure that everything worked properly."

Oil has been found in 14 out of 16 wells ensuring Ghana a bright future.

Tullow Oil has begun building up its facilities in the country - particularly at the port cities of Takorade and Secondi.

New roads, communications and expanded storage sites for the pipelines have all been constructed.

: Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive Officer, Tullow Oil, saying: 

"Ghana is about to enter into an elite league of countries who are major oil producers. So this is a whole new industry which Tullow hopefully will be a centre part of it."

The development hasn't been without its challenges.

Some of the oil fields are as deep as 1,700 meters and they cover 100 square kilometres

A giant converted tanker brings the oil to the surface where it's safely stored.

Energy Minister Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei believes the oil find will take Ghana into a new economic sphere.

 Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, Ghana's Minister of Energy, saying:

"The whole hope is that we should be able to raise oil revenues to be able to open up the country, create more infrastructure services and by so doing so create more jobs. I believe that if a lot of out people are working and they have a meaningful income that is the only way you eradicate poverty."

The new industry will be run by Ghanians and quoted on the local stock exchange.

It puts Ghana on course to become the fifth largest oil nation in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Gabon.

Penny Tweedie, Reuters.