19 July 2014, Accra – The Ghanaian parliament has ratified a commercial agreement between the government of Ghana, Lonrho Ports Ghana Limited and Atuabo free Port Company Limited for the facilitation of the Ghana Oil and Gas Free Port Project.
The project which would be situated at Atuabo in the Western Region is expected to be fully operational in 2016 to meet the logistics and support requirements of Ghana’s Oil and Gas industry and the wider Gulf of Guinea region.
It involves the construction of a harbour protected by a rock breakwater to the west and a rock groyne to the east, a dredged approach channel, a turning circle, berth pockets and quays.
The project would deliver an airstrip and a helipad to facilitate aircraft and helicopter transportation, as well as other infrastructure like power generation, boreholes, accommodation, offices, a naval base, hydrocarbon fuel storage area and roads.
Other components includes service facilities to be located in the port along the quays to provide support services to the off-shore oil and gas industry, including rig repair, waste treatment and management, fabrication and supply facilities.
Chairman of the Finance Committee, James Avedzi, who moved the motion for the adoption of the report of the joint committee of finance and transport said, under the terms and conditions of the agreement the project would be a private sector joint venture with government, referred to as “the developer ” totally funded by the private sector with government guarantee.
Highlights of the Concession Agreement he said includes an exclusive right granted Lonrho to operate the Freeport, with tax exemption, for 25 years, with further rights for another 25-year extension; provision of 2000 acres of land by the Government of Ghana at the project site, which is strategically located opposite the Jubilee Fields; provision of security, immigration and custom by government; tax free zone for companies operating in the part and for materials imported or in transit; and the development of the only Petroleum and Hyrdocarbons Logistics Port in the Western Region.
He said “45 percent of the project shall be wholly Ghanaian owned with a 35 percent of initial capital contribution being made by Ghanaian institutions such as SSNIT,GPHA,GNPC,VRA, SIC, to acquire equity in Atuabo free Port Limited. “