A senior Ghana government official said here on Thursday the West African country expected to get additional 8 billion barrels of crude oil reserves if the application for an extended continental shelf was granted.
Ghana was among 50 countries globally, including Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya, to meet the May 13, 2009 deadline for UN member countries to seek expansion of their territorial waters.
The government had prepared and submitted to the United Nations’ Commission on the Limit of Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) in New York.
Addressing the media here, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Mike Hammah said the prospects for granting Ghana’s request were high.
He added that the West African country’s request involved the extension of its continental shelf to about 15,000 square kilometers beyond 200 nautical miles, where preliminary studies had shown the potential for at least eight billion barrels of petroleum reserves.
The Jubilee oil field where commercial oil production began exactly a year ago is estimated to contain three billion barrels of oil reserves.
On the work of the boundary commission that had been holding talks with neighboring Cote d’Ivoire and other neighboring West African nations on trans-boundary economic issues, the minister said their work had enhanced the country’s smooth development of the oil and gas sector.
“With regard to the security of our oil resources, I wish to assure you that our oil field is safe and out of any controversy,” Hammah assured.
In October, Ivoirian oil and gas authorities appealed to petroleum companies working in Ghana’s oil fields to stop drilling into its waters, following an altercation over offshore territorial claims by the two states.
“The state of Ivory Coast, which has continually denounced these operations, again appeals for this [drilling] to end because the resources being exploited are our exclusive property”, the authority said, demonstrating with maps that some oil blocks being prospected for Ghana were 5,526 square kilometers within their territory.