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GNPC identifies 16 districts in the northern region for oil and gas exploration



The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is considering exploring for oil and gas in 24 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in four regions of Ghana. Out of the 24 districts, 16 are in the northern region where the oil and gas potential is described by GNPC as huge.

Two wells drilled in Yendi and in Nasia by Russians in the 90s are also being considered for exploration. The areas identified, according to GNPC, have abundant water resources.

Before the exploration can take place, GNPC and the Environmental Protection Agency have begun stakeholder engagement and consultations to alert people about exploration activities in order that when issues crop they will be addressed amicably.

The impact of the exploration on water, air and culture of the people are being taken into consideration to avoid future conflicts, GNPC reassured. The stakeholder engagement process  is being supported by the Norwegian government oil development fund.

A Senior Environmental Engineer at GNPC, Seth Foli disclosed this in Tamale when he presented an overview of the potential oil areas on the Voltarian Basin at a day’s regional stakeholder consultation process on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of onshore oil and gas development in the Voltarian Basin in Tamale.

He explained that the objective is to inform stakeholders in strategic planning and also to prepare communities for meaningful dialogue. The Voltarian Basin, according to GNPC, has an onshore total surface area of 106,000km2. Assessing long term environmental impact is important because the process can take about 40 years, Seth Foli explained.

He also cautioned against reading meanings into the potential oil rich regions, saying the oil areas considered by GNPC are purely geological and have nothing to do with politics, religion or tribe.

A senior program officer at EPA Mr Samuel Kofi Agbtsiafa, who presented the processes involved in strategic management, underscored the importance of the consultation process with stakeholders.

He said security issues might emanate from any exploration in the potential areas which explains why consultation with stakeholders was crucial to prevent any potential security threat to the nation as it occurs in some oil producing countries such as Nigeria.

Screening, he said, has already been done and they are currently carrying out what EPA calls scoping before any activity can take place.

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