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Last Updated: May 2018

Overview


Map of Ghana
Map of Ghana
  • Ghana is a small oil and natural gas producer in West Africa. Oil and natural gas production are both expected to increase within the next five years with the start of new offshore projects. Ghana exports its crude oil production to international markets, and the country’s natural gas production is used to fuel its domestic power plants.
  • Ghanaians have traditionally relied on biomass and waste, particularly firewood and charcoal; however, the share of biomass in Ghana’s energy mix has been steadily declining because of increasing fossil fuel consumption. According to Ghana’s national energy statistics, the share of biomass consumption declined from 52% of total primary energy supply in 2009 to 37% in 2016.

Petroleum and other liquids

  • Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is the state-owned company responsible for the exploration, development, and distribution of petroleum. The corporation is a partner in all oil and natural gas agreements in Ghana and manages the licensing of oil and natural gas fields. GNPC is also the national gas aggregator and aims to supply sufficient fuel to meet Ghana’s increasing energy needs.
  • Ghana’s energy sector is set to expand considerably with the onset of new crude oil production from the Twenboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) and Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) fields. Ghana’s overall production level is expected to grow in the next few years.
  • The TEN and OCTP oil and natural gas fields came online in 2016 and 2017, respectively. According to company reports by Tullow Oil, the operator of the Jubilee and TEN fields, average production for the TEN field was 56,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2017 and is expected to increase to 64,000 b/d in 2018. Italian operator Eni is developing the OTCP field, which is expected to reach a peak production level of 45,000 b/d in 2019.
  • The Jubilee oil field, which produces light, sweet crude oil, came online in 2010. However, technical challenges at the Jubilee field have prevented it from reaching its expected peak production plateau of 120,000 b/d. In 2017, a technical issue with the Kwame Nkrumah floating production, storage, and offloading vessel (FPSO) turret required the facility to shut down for maintenance. According to reports by operators Tullow and Anadarko, the Jubilee field produced 89,600 b/d in 2017. Tullow expects crude oil production to be 75,800 b/d in 2018, which includes a planned shut-down of the facility in early 2018 for turret remediation work. In October 2017, the Ghanaian government also approved the Greater Jubilee Full Field Development Plan, which is a multi-field expansion project that is comprised of the Mahogany East, Teak, and Akasa fields, which are located close to the Jubilee field. The project will use existing infrastructure and conduct an infill drilling program to further develop resources in the fields and boost oil and natural gas production. Drilling is expected to begin in the first half of 2018.
  • The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruled in favor of Ghana in September 2017, settling a long-running maritime dispute with Ivory Coast over the demarcation of their shared border. ITLOS had issued an order in April 2015 preventing the countries from drilling and surveying in the disputed area, which included parts of the TEN fields, until the issue was resolved. The ruling upheld Ghana’s interpretation of the demarcation and determined that the TEN fields were in Ghana’s exclusive economic zone. Following the ruling, Tullow reportedly received instructions from the Ghanaian government to resume drilling in the TEN fields, and the company seeks to fully utilize the FPSO and ramp up production to its peak production capacity of 80,000 b/d.
  • The Ghanaian Ministry of Energy announced that the first offshore licensing round would be held in the fourth quarter of 2018. The announcement follows the ITLOS ruling over the maritime dispute with Ivory Coast, and the government hopes to attract more investors to develop its offshore oil and natural gas resources.
  • Ghana currently has one refinery, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), which has a design capacity of 45,000 b/d. However, the refinery’s throughput has been significantly lower over the past few years because of poor maintenance and operational inefficiencies. In 2017, a furnace at the crude distillation unit exploded, disabling 15,000 b/d of refining capacity; repairs were completed and refinery operations resumed in January 2018. Plans to upgrade and expand TOR or to build a second refinery with a 100,000 b/d capacity have been reported. However, given the government’s weak fiscal position and the lack of private investment, it is unlikely that significant progress will be made in the near term.

Natural gas

  • Ghana started full commercial natural gas production at the Jubilee field in 2014 and produced approximately 23 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2016, according to national energy statistics. Natural gas is sent via pipeline from the Kwame Nkrumah FPSO to the onshore Atuabo natural gas processing facility and is used for domestic power generation.
  • The OCTP and TEN fields, which will have a peak natural gas production capacity of approximately 62 Bcf per year and 66 Bcf per year, respectively, are expected to significantly boost natural gas production over the next few years. This additional production will help meet growing domestic energy demand and will reduce reliance on imported natural gas. The TEN field began producing natural gas in 2016, and the OCTP field is expected to start production by the end of 2018.
  • All of Ghana’s natural gas imports are from Nigeria via the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), which runs east to west from Nigeria to Ghana. Pipeline imports have become unreliable, partially as a result of feedstock constraints in Nigeria, but also because of Ghana’s inability to meet its debt repayment obligations. These factors have resulted in the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO) temporarily suspending exports to Ghana in June 2016.
  • To fill the gap created by unreliable pipeline natural gas imports and to accommodate growing natural gas demand, which is entirely driven by the power sector, the Ghanaian government is turning to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel source. However, Ghana does not have the proper infrastructure to begin receiving LNG, and attempts to develop supply infrastructure have not been successful. A deal to acquire and use the Golar Tundra LNG terminal, a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) that was delivered to Ghana in May 2016 and had remained anchored offshore near the port of Tema for more than a year because of approval delays and lack of onshore port infrastructure, has reportedly stalled. Golar LNG received $23 million in an arbitration against West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), and the vessel reportedly left Ghanaian water in September 2017.
  • A deal between Quantum Power and GNPC to build and operate a 0.5 Bcf per day (Bcf/d) FSRU at the Tema port was announced in February 2016. The FSRU is scheduled to begin operations by mid-2018. Construction of the FSRU is currently in progress; however, there has been a lack of clarity regarding the status of the project because of the government’s new LNG supply deal with Gazprom. The Ghanaian government signed a 12-year LNG supply deal with Russia’s Gazprom in September 2017 that would provide 81.6 Bcf per year beginning in 2019. Although the government stated that the import terminal associated with this contract would replace the two previous proposals by Quantum Power and WAGL mentioned above, Gazprom has reportedly planned to provide a separate barge-based floating storage unit and regasification units, which would indicate that the Gazprom proposal is a new project. Given the lack of clarity regarding this project and the Quantum Power/Hoegh LNG project, it is unclear whether either project will be completed by their specified dates.

Electricity

  • The Volta River Authority (VRA) is responsible for power generation in Ghana, while distribution of electricity is split between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), which covers the southern regions, and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO), which covers the northern regions. The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GridCo) is responsible for transmission and operates the National Interconnected Transmission System. Regulation of the power sector falls under the responsibility of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the Energy Commission is responsible for regulation of the power sector.
  • According to national energy statistics, Ghana had a total installed electricity capacity of 3.8 gigawatts (GW) and generated approximately 13,000 gigawatthours (GWh) of electricity in 2016. Approximately 42% of installed generation capacity is derived from three hydropower plants and 58% from oil- and natural gas-fired plants. Solar and biogas also contribute 22.6 megawatts (MW) to the total electricity capacity.
  • Additional thermal power plants are expected to further tilt the composition of the power portfolio towards oil- and natural gas-fired electricity generation in the next few years. The 370 MW Aksa Enerji and 400 MW Bridge Power thermal plants are expected to be fully operational in 2018.
  • Ghana has one of the highest electrification rates in sub-Saharan Africa – 84% of people have access to electricity; however, there is a large disparity in access to electricity between the urban areas (95%) and rural areas (71%). Ghana has experienced cyclical electricity shortages because of irregular WAGP natural gas supplies and low seasonal rainfall levels, reducing electricity generation from its hydropower plants. The power shortages had a negative effect on economic growth in 2014 and led the government to seek alternative energy supply options such as LNG imports to prevent future power crises.