Oil Business

In July 2007, a consortium of International Oil Companies (IOCs) led by Tullow Oil and Kosmos Energy discovered oil in commercial quantities on the Western coast of Ghana. The hydrocarbon potential of the Jubilee Field is estimated at between 800 million to 2 billion barrels of light crude. After over three years of development, production of oil from the Jubilee Field started on December 15, 2010 with a daily output of 60,000 barrels and it is expected to reach 120,000 barrels per day by August, 2011 and 250,000 barrels by 2015. Since 2007, further discoveries have been made, notable among these is the Tweneboa Field, the Odum Field and the Mahogany Field.

Since 2007, Ghana’s oil discovery  has also become a matter of interest to citizens and the international community as Ghana prepares to join the club of oil-producing countries, particularly in Africa where oil discovery has turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing. With a conservative oil price of US$60 per barrel, the World Bank estimates that Ghana could be earning between US$1-1.5 billion annually. This represents about a quarter of the annual budget of Ghana as of 2008, and this shows that inspite of the discovery of the oil, Ghana needs to reinforce the development of agriculture and industry to ensure sustainable development.

Oil has always raised the expectations of leaders and citizens. The discovery of oil in Ghana was not any different. In spite of these high expectations the reality is that in most cases particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa resources are often not used to the benefit of the citizens and this brings us to whether the discovery of oil in Ghana will be any different from the other cases. One of the critical issues for Ghana to deal with as an oil-producing country  is to avoid what we call the Dutch Disease. Other problems could be increasing levels of corruption and to a large extent rent-seeking. Sometimes there are cases of political violence as in the case of the Niger Delta. These threats even though have shown can reverse a country's prosperity, it is not unavoidable and there are good examples from both developing and developed countries that states can use their natural resources to improve the socio-economic lives of their citizens; as the cases of Botswana, Alaska and Norway have shown. In this regard it is important for the managers of the Ghanaian economy to strategically use the oil and gas revenue to diversify the economy and strengthen the non-oil sectors to ensure balanced economic development.