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FEBRUARY 2, 2017

Osei-Akoto

The minister designate for Evaluation and Monitoring, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei has hinted of plans to help restructure the country’s energy debts. Taking his turn at the ministerial vetting committee on Monday, Dr. Akoto Osei said his ministry has plans to collaborate with the energy and financial ministries to ensure that the country is not plunged into erratic power supply. He emphasized that “If you have 200 million in your budgets and you go and give 800 million, and then obviously there will be debts. So you need to stick to your budget.

The nature of the energy sector is that it deals with big finances, and if we stick by our budget the issue of arrears will not arise. He adds that as a member of the economic management team, his outfit will not hesitate to advice the finance ministry on the outcome of negotiation of the IMF programme.“As a member of the economic management team, my advice is to support the finance minister when he meets the EMT, and we will be around to advise him to take it to parliament because it is constitutional”

 
Source: http://3news.com/akoto-osei-to-collaborate-with-other-ministers-to-manage-energy-debts/

FEBRUARY 2, 2017

PORT

The Takoradi Port would now be able to accommodate bigger vessels to enable large quantities of cargo to be loaded through the port.

This follows the completion of the first 200 metres of the proposed 800 metres quay wall bulk ore terminal as part of the ongoing expansion project at the country’s maiden port.

Currently, the new bulk jetty, which has been dredged to minus 16 (-16) chart datum, has been opened to traffic to handle bulk mineral ore which is expected to boost revenue generation.

So far two large vessels, M.V Josco Fuzhou with a draft of 11.7m and M.V Iris Oldendoorf sailing with a draft of 13.5m have berthed at the port to load bauxite.

To meet the ever-growing demands of the port’s clientele, the Port of Takoradi has embarked on a major expansion and investment programme to transform the port’s capacity, facilities, and operations.

The original master plan recommended segregation of cargo and improved container handling facilities.

However, the discovery of oil prompted a new master plan to accommodate facilities to service offshore support operations, development of bulk and container terminals, the positioning of a floating dock for vessel repairs with depths ranging from 10 to 16 metres.

Phases one and two of the project included the extension of the breakwater, provision of a bulk terminal/jetty to handle bulk commodities and dredging of the access channels. The berths will also be dredged to a depth of 16.0 metres.

Speaking to Business Guide, the Public Affairs and Marketing Manager of the Takoradi Port, Peter Amo-Bediako, mentioned that the expansion project of increasing revenue was gradually coming to fruition even though the entire project had not been completed.

He explained that unlike the old port, the construction of the new bulk jetty would enable the Takoradi Port to accommodate larger vessels with large volumes of cargo and would also help reduce operation cost.

He mentioned that since the Takoradi Port commenced business in 1928, the two vessels are the largest vessels in terms of size and draft to berth at the port.

Mr Bediako noted that the first vessel, M.V Josco Fuzhou, had an initial load of 37.760m/t at the No.3 buoy and was later shifted to the new bulk jetty to top-up with 13.367mt of bauxite, increasing the final load to 51.127mt.

“The second vessel did not berth at buoy N0.3 at the old port to do initial loading but was piloted to the new jetty to commence loading of 63,000mt of bauxite. This brings to total loading to 114,127mt of bauxite,” he added.

Source:  Daily Guide

JANUARY 13, 2017

Being upbeat on investment means being downbeat on prices, or at least that’s the way it is with the oil industry.

This is basic economics. As the rig count of American production picks up, according to the most recent data published this week, there’s an expectation that production will rise, supply increase, and the price subsides.

There are shorter term fluctuations. Wednesday’s trading has been affected by Saudi Arabia confirming it is cutting supply to Asian customers, in line with its commitment last month to the wider cut in production by the OPEC exporters cartel.

But the trend of recent weeks has anticipated the growth in output. And we learned from energy analysts Wood Mackenzie on Wednesday that it foresees the Texas fields of the Permian Basin to the main player as the frackers return to work. Further south, there are shale developments moving ahead in Argentina.

WoodMac, based in Edinburgh, forecasts investment is going to pick up more widely this year, for the first time since 2014. Oil companies, which have been holding back from committing to big projects while the price has been low, are showing signs of changing that.

This is not only because of a much higher price than this time last year, but also because costs have been slashed over the past couple of years – by an average 20% for each of the past two years.

That process is running out of the opportunities to keep cutting, but exploration and production spend is set to rise to $450bn, the forecast suggests. That’s a 3% rise, but it’s still 40% below 2014.

Areas to watch include ‘tight oil’, including fracking – up by a forecast 23% in the US, to $61 billion, and potentially boosted by the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for energy security and scepticism about climate change.

Final investment decisions on major projects reached 40 in 2014, and fell to nine last year. The forecast is for 20 this year, most of these smaller projects building incrementally on existing infrastructure, with much higher return on investment than in the boom times of only three years ago.

Deepwater drilling may get more attention, but half of the existing big deepwater projects are reckoned to break even at more than $60, so they are looking doubtful for the foreseeable.

Among the regions worth watching, the North Sea does not feature, but Norway’s northern Barents Sea is worth watching, including an area in which there’s a dispute with Russia.

That’s while the ethical watchdogs who police Norway’s vast state oil fund have served warning that they’re going after industries which are the worst polluters.

The fund owns around 2% of the world’s stock market valuation, and it is widely seen as providing a lead on ethical investments. So a fund sourced from oil and gas revenues and profits is now turning against those who burn the stuff irresponsibly.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-38589629

JANUARY 26, 2017
The Lead Consultant of Wellspring Petroleum Services Limited, a petroleum business consultancy firm, Mr Michael Bozumbil has called on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to vigorously pursue consolidation measures in the industry.
Consolidation among the indigenous Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), he said, would help them come together to form bigger entities to withstand stiff competition from foreign companies.

Mr Bozumbil, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PETROSOL, an Oil Marketing Company, said the industry was currently made up of a lot of players with very weak financial and infrastructure base and also very small market share, a situation that makes them very vulnerable for take-over by foreign players who are good at beating the system by getting unpatriotic local people to front for them.

“If this issue is not quickly addressed frontally, the gains made so far by having indigenous players controlling greater market share now will be lost with time to foreign players which will take us back to the era before deregulation when multinationals controlled a bigger market share,” he said.

He, therefore, advised that “the NPA should use ingenuous regulatory measures with some incentives to make the existing small indigenous players see the need to come together to form bigger entities.”

While recognising that the NPA had done well by encouraging indigenous private participation in the industry, it was important to push the agenda of consolidation.

Ensuring regulatory clarity

Mr Bozumbil explained that in a deregulated environment, regulatory clarity was very key to ensure that there was no ambiguity when interpreting guidelines.

Therefore, the NPA, he said, should do well to ensure that the guidelines are as simple, clear and unambiguous as possible.

“For instance, whenever the NPA comes out with new regulations or requirements, do those regulations or requirements affect only new entrants or existing ones or both? For example, currently, the NPA has raised the minimum number of outlets one should have to be licensed as an OMC to service stations. What exactly does this mean? Is it the case that only new entrants must have at least seven service stations or that existing OMCs with less than seven stations must meet the number before their licenses are renewed”, he quizzed.

Again, one of the regulations or requirements is that for a company to be licensed as an OMC or BDC, it must show evidence of local partnership of at least 50 per cent to be held by Ghanaian citizens.

“What exactly does this mean? Is this applicable only to new entrants or existing entrants must meet this requirement before their licenses are renewed? It is important for there to be regulatory clarity to promote easy compliance and also engender trust and confidence in the regulator,” he said.

Growing indigenous companies

He explained that to ensure that indigenous companies grew in the sector; the NPA should also consider reviewing the provisions of licenses to OMCs.

“The number of stations requirement for new entrants should be raised from the current seven stations to at least 15 stations but with preference given to Ghanaian partnerships. Additionally, requirements should include demonstrable evidence of experience or track record of management team,” he said.

Therefore, an OMC he said, should be able to source products directly to supply its stations if it has the capacity to pay without having to necessarily pass through another BDC or set up a new entity all together to use it as the vehicle for a BDC license.

“In other countries, OMCs own their own petroleum storage depots. In fact, even some years ago in Ghana, some of the major OMCs had their own depots. Therefore, I think the decision to form a separate entity or not should purely be a matter of corporate strategy for the OMC, rather than regulatory requirement,” he said.

He said what the NPA could do to facilitate the implementation of his suggestion was to encourage operators that will concentrate on providing only depot infrastructure services.

Deregulation in Ghana

Deregulating prices of petroleum products was implemented in July, 2015 in Ghana. One of the major policy objectives that has been achieved after deregulation has been the reduction of the burden of petroleum subsidies on government budget by ensuring that there is full cost recovery by Petroleum Service Providers (PSPs).

In 2015, a dedicated petroleum downstream regulator, the NPA was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 691) to continue the process of implementing the policy, which was initially being handled by the Energy Commission and later supported by the National Petroleum Tender Board (NPTB), but this time, with a much more focused approach, and with the necessary legal backing.

JANUARY 13, 2017

Oil and gas analyst, Kwame Jantuah has advised the NPP government to increase the country’s capacity to refine more crude at a cheaper cost if it is to reduce the prices of fuel.

His comments follow the assurance by the Finance Minister Nominee, Ken Ofori Atta to consumers that there will be no immediate hikes in the prices of fuel and utility anytime soon.

According to Mr. Ofori Atta, the NPP government will consider the energy mix and proffer measures upon assumption of office as substantive minister.

”We will have to examine our energy mix and I think we’re likely going to get a little bit more from gas which will then help in giving us a chance to breath from that, so I don’t expect us to be increasing prices of fuel and ECG. We are looking actually to see how we can as we promised, bring some relief to Ghanaians,” Ken Ofori Atta asserted.

But Kwame Jantuah tells Citi Business News fuel prices could largely drop if Ghana refines its own crude.

In addition, he urged the new government to find sustainable means of shoring up gas supplies at lower costs.

“We also need stocks of crude, and it is a good thing that at the moment the TOR is taking one million barrels of crude from GNPC stock from TEN for refining. I would expect that the same is adhered to concerning crude and supply of refined products. But that is also dependent on whether exploration had commenced on those blocks that had been given out and how soon they can come into production,” he advised.

Mr. Jantuah however maintained that the new government would have to be given a little more time to outline its plan for the energy sector.

“It is early days; the Finance and Petroleum Ministries are yet to take positions and we cannot conjecture at this moment what is going to happen till they assume office and update us on what is the situation in terms of supply of gas for the country’s electricity.”

The Vice Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee was also hopeful the new plan agreed on by government and the VRA in restructuring the power distributor’s debts should culminate in solving the challenges facing the sector permanently.

Source: http://citibusinessnews.com/index.php/2017/01/13/reducing-fuel-prices-analysts-suggest-local-refining-of-crude/

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