An oil slick, first spotted by fishermen November 3rd, has washed ashore in the Ahanta West District. At this point there is little information available. The government is suggesting the oil leaked from or was dumped by a tanker, but is providing no proof or details. Fishermen report first seeing the slick near the Jubilee field and some suspect that the spill is related to the oil activities. Neither Tullow Oil nor any of the other partners has made any statements, so at this point, it is difficult to know what happened.
I’m trying to learn more. In the meantime, here are a few articles from the Ghanaian press — one on the spill itself and one on the risks of further spills due to insufficient monitoring:
In the past few days both Tullow Oil and Anadarko have made statements regarding Ghana’s lower-than-expected oil production. By now the Jubilee field should be producing 120,000 b.p.d., but output is only about 85,000 b.p.d. The companies say that wells must be redesigned.
There’s no indication that the drilling problems have anything to do with the oil spill. The problem is one of opacity: we learn about drilling issues only because investors are worried and the companies want to assure them that the Jubilee field does contain as much oil as estimated. But the information released in general and minimal. Then, when something happens, in this case, a spill, there are no official statements. We do not know how much oil spilled, from where or why.
This hardly inspires confidence.