There’s been a flurry of excited news coming out of Ghana the past few weeks. Ghana’s growth rate hits 16%. Ghana signs the first $1 billion of its $3 billion loan agreement with China. An additional $6 billion Chinese loan is in the works. The $1.2 billion gas plant project will soon move into high gear. Vice President John Dramani Mahama says Ghana will rake in $1 billion from gas annually and that will allow Ghana to pay off the $3 billion loan ahead of schedule. He predicts the gas industry will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. (Check out Ghana Oil Watch for articles on all this and more.)
Wow! All sounds amazing, but is it too good to be true?
Today I’m posting an article by Stephen Yeboah on the proposed Bonyere gas project. Yeboah, a Ghanaian development practitioner who focuses on the extractive industries, recently participated in a training program on oil and gas reporting funded by Revenue Watch Institute, Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes).
First some background:
The Jubilee oil development project includes plans to pipe the gas released by the drilling to shore where it will be processed to generate electricity and eventually lead to further industrial development.
Read this and think.
This excellent article details many of the “externalized” costs of oil production — costs that we pay through the myriad subsidies we provide to the oil companies. And one thing worth noting with this accounting: the costs of damage caused by drilling and spills in many developing countries can only be guesstimated. Standard operating procedure for oil companies working in locales far from prying journalists or vigilant authorities is to simply ignore environmental and economic damage.
Out of sight, out of mind.