Environmental disaster to hit offshore Saltpond – Energy Policy Group

The Institute for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR), has revealed that there is an impending Environmental disaster at offshore Saltpond, in the Central Region. The research body explained in a statement that Ghana is facing an imminent environmental catastrophe if the 65 years old Oil Rig, ‘‘Mr. Louie’’ is not decommissioned immediately. The Saltpond field is Ghana’s oldest Oil field, discovered in 1970 and was operated by the Signal-Amoco Consortium.
They relinquished the concession field in 1976 to offshore Hydrocarbon Limited citing the field as non-commercial. Offshore Hydrocarbon entered into a development partnership with Agri-Petco of U.S.A between 1977 to 1978. “This company initially brought the jack up rig called ‘‘Mr. Louie’’ to drill six appraisal wells. In October 1978, the Jack up rig was converted into a production platform. “The saltpond field was abandoned between 1985 and 2000, until in August 2000 when rehabilitation works commenced with the repair of the ‘’Mr. Louie’’ platform by Lushann International. “The field was producing an average of 400 barrels per day from two well when production started in August 2000, then dropped to around 150 barrels per day before operation of the oil field was halted on June 10, 2010 by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
“A decision to decommission the field was made in March 2018 when the Phase-1 of the project was awarded through a competitive process to a consulting consortium led by PAP Energy Limited. Their report on the decommissioning plan was submitted to the Ministry of Energy and GNPC in July 2019. Based on this report, a competitive tender to award the decommissioning contract was started in May 2020. The process has stalled since then and all efforts to ascertain from GNPC, the reason for the delay has yielded no information. “Recent reports on ‘’Mr. Louie’ sighted by INSTEPR reveals a very disturbing state of the platform. The wellhead valves which are the primary locks securing the wellbore from flowing oil and gas back to surface are currently severely pitted and rusted. The production platform has rusted severely as it shakes and wavers during heavy rains.  Currently there are gas leaks and should the wellhead valves or pipes or even the platform fails eventually, there will be an explosion and the gas build up in the well will bring around 150 barrels of crude oil daily into the sea in the central region of Ghana.
“GNPC keep a skeletal staff on this platform and their lives are in danger should there be such an accident. This oil spillage will destroy the natural ecosystem of the area and makes the fish in our seas unsuitable for human consumption for years to come. “It will also cost Billions of dollars to control the well and safely clean up the oil spillage as well as fines by international environmental agencies. Similar disaster was witnessed on television during the 2010 Oil Spillage in the Gulf of Mexico. “The Institute will want to draw the attention of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GNPC and the Energy committee of Parliament to immediately supervise the decommissioning of this production platform ‘’Mr. Louie’’ before our worst nightmare happens.” By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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