Ghana yesterday made history by joining other oil producing countries when President John Evans Atta Mills turned on the value at exactly 10.05 am for the first oil to flow into the production train.
“Today is a special day in the lives of Ghanaians; as we are pouring the first oil let’s give thanks to God and enjoy.
After a long wait this day has come,” the President remarked.
This event which took place simultaneously on the Floating Processing storage and offloading FPSO Kwame Nkrumah Vessel, 60 kilometres offshore Cape Three Point in Western Region and the Takoradi Airforce station, will enable Ghana to pump 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in the next six months from the initial rate of 55,000 bopd pumped initially in November this year.
It is expected that, the first tanker of oil from the Jubilee Field would be exported in January 2011.
The quality of the oil from the Jubilee field has been rated by the American Petroleum Institute (API) as having the high quality of 37.6 degrees Celcius and is in high demand from refineries worldwide.
Already the Jubilee Partners say that the Jubilee Oil is in great demand worldwide and that commercial and marketing teams have been making arrangements for offloading of crude oil and loading it on specialized tankers that will sail the crude to buyers, marketers and refineries.
They further stated that Tullow had appointed Vitol SA to market Tullow’s share of the oil while the GNPC and other Ghanaian agencies will be similarly managing their share.
The event was witnessed by an array of dignitaries including former President J.J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, former President J.A. Kufuor, the President of the National House of Chiefs, Nana Prof. J.S. Nabila, the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, the Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Adjei, other ministers of state, Members of Parliament, the diplomatic corps and chiefs.
Before inaugurating the pouring of the first oil, President Mills, accompanied by Tullow officials including Mr. Dai Jones, President of Tullow Ghana toured the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah vessel and at the control room he clicked a computer for the production monitoring to begin.
As the President turned on the value for the first oil to flow into the production train he urged Ghanaians to work hard to achieve success with the oil, adding that those in leadership positions had a special responsibility to ensure that “the oil becomes a blessing and not a curse.”
He again said, “we should use the oil benefits for the people and transform the country to serve as an example to all that national assets could be used for dreams to come true.”
President Mills thanked the Jubilee Partners for delivering the oil in a record time of 40 months and assured them of government cooperation in this new enterprise.
Later, he unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event as the staff on board the FPSO and the guests at the Takoradi Airforce Station applauded.
A non-executive Director of Tullow oil P/c, Mr. Tutu Agyare, in a speech re-echoed the statement made by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana that, Ghana would always look forward as she charted her destiny.
He said at the time that the first President made that statement, Ghana was at the cross road in its political development.
“Today, as we stand at another crossroad of Ghana’s economic development, those words resonate louder still and he would be proud as we name the vessel after him and what we have achieved here.”
Mr. Agyare said, many people did not believe that the Jubilee partners could achieve the feet in such a short space of time, but the commitment and strength of the team had pointed the future for Ghana.
He noted that, the successes chalked rested on a very stable investment environment created by the past and present governments.
“This is not just providing a stable political and economic environment, it’s also about respecting the sanctity of contracts and security of property rights “he told the gathering.
All of these, he said, were vital for any major investment in any country.
Ghana’s new found status as an oil producer, he said, had widened the possibility of developing an oil industry that could be “a beacon for the entire African continent”.