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Development of Ghana’s Petroleum Industry


Hydrocarbon exploration in Ghana’s Sedimentary Basins dates back to 1896 when early explorers drilled wells in the onshore part of the Tano Basin to target locations with oil and gas seepages. The first documented discovery well, WAOFCO-2 was drilled in 1896 by the West African Fuel Company to a total depth of approximately 35 metres. This well produced about five barrels of oil per day for a short period.  About twenty-one (21) additional shallow onshore wells were drilled around this period by various companies. These early wells were mainly wildcats drilled without the benefit of detailed geological understanding or subsurface data.

There was a shift in exploration to the offshore basins around 1967 leading to a number of discoveries including the Saltpond Field discovery made in 1970 by the Seago10-1 well.


Following the passage of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, 1983 and establishment of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, exploration became better planned and sustained leading to greater interest and participation of international companies. Their efforts led to numerous discoveries offshore. In 2007, the Mahogany-1 well was drilled by Kosmos Energy in the West Cape Three Points Contract Area to target deepwater turbidite sandstone reservoirs. Mohogany-1 discovered the Jubilee Oil Field. This became Ghana’s first commercial deepwater discovery and opened the way for deepwater exploration. Following the Jubilee Field discovery, twenty-five additional offshore discoveries have been made of which two fields (Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme Field and Sankofa - Gye Nyame Field) both comprising a cluster of discoveries are in production.


Currently, there are 16 Operators with Petroleum Agreements over 18 Contract Areas. These Operators are in varying stages of their respective agreements ranging from Exploration to Production.

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