PHASE 6 (2002 – 2007)
During this period, exploration for commercial hydrocarbons was intensified. Soon after taking the reins of power, the new government decided to focus on GNPC to keep to its core function, which is, facilitating the search for commercial hydrocarbons for Ghana.
A deliberate and concerted training of the staff of GNPC to meet the challenges of dealing with the international E & P companies was progressively undertaken by GNPC management. These training programmes involved staff secondment or attachment to the E & P companies in the areas of seismic data interpretation, field evaluation and development as well as to some service companies in seismic data acquisition and processing. Academic training to upgrade staff as required was also pursued. This resulted in a competent core staff which has become a solid human resource base for the corporation.
Subsequently, GNPC was restructured downsized given the directive to focus on its core function of facilitating the activities of the E & P companies in Ghana to find commercial hydrocarbons for Ghana. The refocused GNPC was retooled with new state of the art workstations for the Operations Division and other computer paraphernalia for some other staff in order to facilitate work.
The new dispensation required that GNPC become more investor friendly in issues such as data licensing in order to facilitate exploratory work. In addition, there was an intensification of a campaign to attract investors at international oil and gas fora, such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) annual conventions, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) conferences, African Petroleum Forum (APF), UPSTREAM conferences etc.
Some reputable Independent Oil Companies like Kosmos Energy, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Norsk Hydro Oil and Gas etc. began to take note of the potential hydrocarbon prospectivity of Ghana. They therefore directed their attention to Ghana as an investment destination.
The GNPC and The Ministry of Energy also initiated a review of the fiscal and regulatory regimes of the petroleum agreement to improve areas that had been a source of disincentive to potential investors who felt that Ghana’s royalty and tax regime, among others needed a downward revision.
Dana Petroleum plc again found oil with their second well WT-2X, in 2002.
Though other wells did not find commercial hydrocarbons, their results were very encouraging and provided solid technical basis for defining the future direction of petroleum exploration in the country.
The E & P companies, together with GNPC, also conducted a number of geological/geophysical studies to support the current models and concepts in use offshore Ghana.
Analyses of acreage positions of the companies and their respective approved work programmes for these acreages revealed that there was a gradual and systematic shift of focus from the shallow water areas to the deepwater areas of the offshore basins. Devon, for instance, relinquished portions of their shallow water acreages and sought amendments to their Petroleum Agreements to enable them concentrate on deepwater exploration.
The increased spate of activity in the deepwater areas was occasioned by other deepwater discoveries made in the Tano/Cape Three Points basin and more importantly, by the results of the four deepwater wells drilled in Ghana between 1999 and 2003 (see table 5). These wells proved the existence of an active petroleum system in the deepwater, for example, the Hunt Oil’s WCTP-2X well encountered 14ft of light oil column. This effectively reduced the risk of petroleum generation in the deepwater area of Ghana.
It is worth noting that though this gradual shift of focus to the deepwater began only less than a decade ago, enough evidence had been gathered to suggest that this area would play a vital role in oil and gas exploration in the country.
It therefore came as no surprise when in June 2007, block operator Kosmos Energy, technical operator Anadarko, Tullow Oil and E. O. Group together with GNPC struck a significant (about 312ft/96m net) column of a light sweet crude oil in the Mahogany prospect with the Mahogany-1 well in the West Cape Three Points Contract Area/block. This was the most significant discovery crowning years of concerted effort by all concerned. Following this, in August 2007, Tullow, the block operator and its partners also struck a similar type of oil in their deep Tano block with the Hyedua-1 well.
These two wells were found to have dynamic communication and therefore were seen to be draining the same structure. The Jubilee Field is therefore a carved out portion of this structure.
Below is the list of wells drilled up to end of 2007.