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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Govt Plans Sea Port, Railways to Aid Oil Industry


Ghana will build a deep sea port and rehabilitate its railways as the West African nation prepares for production in its oil sector, President John Atta Mills told lawmakers.

Oil revenue will “change the country’s economic paradigm” as it develops infrastructure and other industries, Mills said today in his State of the Nation speech to Parliament.

Mills didn’t say where the port would be built. The country now has a port at the industrial hub city of Tema, 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Accra, the capital, and a smaller port in Takoradi, 250 kilometers from the capital in the Western region, where much of the offshore oil exploration has taken place. Ghana is “laying the foundation” for the development of industries including petrochemicals, fertilizer and integrated aluminum, Mills said.

A bill on how revenue from the nascent oil and gas sector will be managed is still being drafted and will go to Parliament for approval, Mills said, without providing a date. Revenue will be used to build roads and improve electricity and water utilities, he said.

Ghana will start earning revenue when oil production at the offshore Jubilee field begins in the fourth quarter of this year. The revenue from the sector could account for 6 to 7 percent of Ghana’s gross domestic product, the International Monetary Fund’s First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky said on Feb. 17. He didn’t say when that may occur.

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