By Hereward Holland
TAKORADI, Ghana (Reuters) – Ghana joined the ranks of Africa’s oil exporters on Wednesday, pledging to work to ensure lucrative new revenues further bolster one of the continent’s rising star economies.
President John Atta Mills, wearing safety gear and blue overalls, opened the valves in a televised ceremony at the 330-metre-long floating platform some 40 miles (60 km) off the West African country’s Atlantic coast.
Initial production of around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) will rank Ghana as sub-Saharan Africa’s seventh largest producer, with output set to double within three years.
The start of commercial production came just three years after discovery of oil at the field, named Jubilee to mark the timing of the find 50 years after independence in 1957.
“After a long wait, the day has come,” Mills said.
“But … it means that we are assuming a very serious responsibility. And especially for those who are in leadership positions, we must ensure that it becomes a blessing not a curse,” he warned.
Aside from state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), major players in Jubilee include UK-listed operator Tullow Oil Plc, U.S.-producer Anadarko Petroleum and privately held U.S. energy firm Kosmos.
The event underlines the importance of the Gulf of Guinea as a growing source of energy to consumers such as United States, where some see it supplying a quarter of U.S. oil by 2015.
Source: Reuters Image:Reuters