President Akufo-Addo has appointed a former petroleum executive with a strong financial background to lead the multibillion-dollar industrial park project, designed to establish Ghana as the hub for the petrochemical industry in the West African region.
In line with Section 14 (1) of the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation Act 2020 (Act 1053), the president recently named Charles Owusu as the chief executive officer of the newly established Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC).
Owusu has been instrumental in erecting the pillars for the creation of the PHDC right from the onset. Consequently, the sector minister’s recommendation to the president that he be given the position comes as no surprise.
President Akufo-Addo, with the approval of the Council of State, has also constituted the governing body for the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation.
The Council of State gave its approval on 18 August and the board is expected to be sworn in next week by the Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh.
PHDC governing body
The PHDC governing body includes the chairman, Awulae Annor Adjaye ll, the president’s nominee; Charles Owusu, PHDC chief executive; Kwame Asante Nsiah, representing the Free Zone Authority; Humphrey Ayim Darke, representing the Association of Ghana Industries; Senyo Kwasi Hosi, representing the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors.
The other members are Yaw Agyemang-Duah, an expert in the downstream petroleum industry; David Ampofo, representing the Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber; and Maame Ofewah Sarpong and Honourable Samuel Erickson Abakah, both nominees of the president sitting on the board.
The objective of the PHDC is to realise a long-standing dream of making it possible for Africa to set up an integrated petroleum industry which will ensure that the continent better exploits and realises optimal returns from the whole value chain of its rich oil and gas resources. President Akufo-Addo also sees this as being in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area project.
Industry players see the PHDC project as timely, given that the emerging global energy transition phenomenon requires that oil-rich countries such as Ghana look beyond mere production and sale of crude oil and gas for fuel while remaining dependent on value-addition abroad.
For instance, Ghana is yet to monetise its gas or oil resources as feedstock for a range of by-products that includes plastics, fertiliser and industrial chemicals.
The PHDC policy document describes the president’s vision of the hub as being the chief tool to develop a modern, diversified, efficient and financially sustainable energy economy which will ensure that all Ghanaian homes and industries have access to an adequate, reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable supply of energy.
This will assist the people of Ghana to meet their social and economic needs and support the national agenda for accelerated growth and industrialisation in a fast-integrating Africa.
The Petroleum Hub project
At the 48th meeting of cabinet on 14 February 2019 the then energy minister, John Peter Amewu, received approval to launch implementation of the masterplan for developing a petroleum hub in the Western Region.
If the masterplan goes to order, the overall value of the petroleum hub, when fully realised, will be in the range of US$60 billion. The entire multibillion-dollar project, though facilitated by the Government of Ghana, is designed to be based on purely private sector funding, attracting investors across the petroleum value chain.
West Africa’s first integrated oil and gas infrastructure will be set on a 20,000-acre piece of land, the Domunli enclave, in the Jomoro Municipality of the Western Region. At its peak it can house three refineries each with a minimum capacity of 300,000bpd, together with five petrochemical plants, jetties and port infrastructure, 10 million cubic meters of storage tanks, gas infrastructure and ancillary infrastructure.
The role of the government, besides setting up the institution to drive the project, is to provide land, offsite infrastructure, tax incentives and other amenities towards the project. The project will be implemented in three phases over the coming decade.
Profile of Charles Owusu
Charles Owusu, until recently, served as technical advisor on petroleum and energy policy to the Minister for Finance. He analysed, assessed and provided sustainable growth strategies in the energy sector to provide reliable and affordable power, strengthening the balance sheet of the state-owned enterprises in the sector, as well as reducing the sector’s related non-performing loans (NPLs) within the banking sector due to legacy debts in the energy sector.
He also designed policies, procedures and controls to ensure the legacy debts in the energy sector are settled, as well as building a resilient, vibrant and affordable power infrastructure. Owusu developed a strategy to revamp domestic revenue mobilisation in the area of people, technology and processes to build a robust and integrated Ghana Revenue Authority.
Before he joined the Ministry of Finance, Owusu was a senior tax consultant in charge of assignments in the area of corporate tax, transfer pricing, health checks and tax due diligence. His experience cuts across most sectors of the economy, including oil and gas, power, shipping and ports, mining, telecommunications, consumer and manufacturing sectors.
He worked as a business analyst with Blue Ocean Investments Ltd (a bulk oil distribution company), now Puma Energy, in the area of bulk oil importation, petroleum pricing and trading techniques, stock analysis, financial analysis, as well as business development for three years.
Charles Owusu also worked with the Energy Commission of Ghana as a project accountant under the Technical Directorate. He was an adjunct lecturer for the executive management course in oil and gas at Central University College-Ghana, lecturing on international petroleum fiscal regimes, and energy markets and policy.