Ghana has begun drilling crude from a second offshore field operated by British company Tullow Oil on Thursday, hoping the additional revenue will uplift the flagging economy.
The Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) field hopes to rise to about 23,000 barrels per day in 2016, eventually reaching 80,000 barrels per day along with associated gas to be harnessed to ease a domestic power deficit.
President John Dramani Mahama opened the valves on the $1 billion Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessels, the Prof John Evans Atta Mills, named after Ghana's former president who passed on in 2012.
TEN, with estimated reserves of 240 million barrels of oil and associated gas of 60 million barrels equivalent, is Ghana's second oilfield after the country's flagship Jubilee project, also operated by Tullow, which began in late 2010.
The revenue from TEN is significantly less than was first anticipated when the country launched the project in 2013, owing to the slump in world oil prices..
"I believe that current setbacks in the world (oil) market are temporary and we'll see a recovery soon that will give a fair price to producers," President Mahama, who is seeking re-election on Dec. 7 this year, said as he opened the valve.
"Its been a long journey but a fruitful one."
Oil revenue is vital as Ghana battles to meet conditions set by a three-year aid programme with the International Monetary Fund that aims to bring down inflation and the budget deficit as well as stabilise the cedi currency.
by Salim Abubakr/ghanaguardian.com