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Traversing the Voltaian lands: GNPC’s search for Ghana’s next oil reserve inches closer to success

Opoku Ahweeneh Danquah

In Ghana’s asymmetrical inland sedimentary basin covering about 40% of its continental landmass, lies the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)’s exploratory mission to find Ghana’s newest hydrocarbons reserve which has so far indicatively proven to wield great potential to replenish the country’s petroleum resource fields with projections setting drilling activities in 2024.

The National Oil Company is deploying the latest technology with the experience of some of the best brains in the industry to unlock new oil and gas deposits in the Voltaian basin which runs across 103,600 sq. km and through the Northern, Savannah, Bono, Oti, Ashanti, and Eastern Regions.

After a successful phase-4 operation in the Upper Voltaian sections of the Northern and Savannah regions, GNPC has gathered a total of 1180-line km in 2D seismic data acquisition with geochemical samples being collected and the result has been a string of leads which, while tentative and pending further data collection and interpretation in the southern section of the basin, holds promise of a chain of oil and gas discoveries in commercial quantities to transform the Voltaian area into one of Ghana’s most prolific basins.

After successful forays in its offshore operations which is currently yielding positive impact on Ghana’s economy, GNPC has shifted a good chunk of attention to its frontier onshore project, with its next steps expected to further usher its exploratory activities home with positive prospects of producing oil from the Voltaian basin in 2024.

Moving southward in its explorations, GNPC is scheduled to commence seismic acquisition, geochemical samples collection and interpretation in the Bono, Oti, Ashanti, and Eastern regions where stakeholder engagements have begun to secure the requisite permits to lay cables and deploy the giant seismic vibrators for the operation.

“With a new global goal towards cleaner ways of exploring for energy resources, GNPC is motivated to leverage enhanced and environmentally friendly technology to strike a healthy balance to responsibly exploiting Ghana’s fossil fuel resources,” Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, chief executive officer of GNPC.

While analysts laud GNPC’s bold take with the project, there are fears of the risk of failure especially as studies have suggested that the success rates worldwide in the exploration of hydrocarbons in the inland basins commercially range from 30%-40%.

GNPC is however determined to become a technically strong and commercially efficient independent Exploration and Production (E&P) operator by 2030. The Voltaian Basin Project presents GNPC with this biggest opportunity to achieve this goal.

The GNPC CEO, O-A Danquah maintains that Ghana stands a great chance to significantly boost oil revenue, generate employment and pump tremendous cash into the development of the regions and communities within the Voltaian Production enclave while supporting the entire country.

GNPC seeks to complete 1040-line km of seismic data acquisition in its current phase in south of the basin with projections to complete their activities by June 2024.

The prospect of what the successful activities [in the Voltaian Basin] mean to the region and Ghana is driving the seriousness with which GNPC approaches the project, an effort further advanced by the promise of its preliminary results of finding Ghana’s next hydrocarbon deposits for commercial production.

Yaw Ampomah (GNPC, Corporate Affairs)

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