The construction of the Atuabo port project is said to be in limbo due to what experts describe as misunderstanding between the government of Ghana and the project contractors on certain terms.
Issues related to tax exemptions, conflict of interest, and lack of transparency on project costs are said to be the issues in contention.
The US$700 million Atuabo Free Port project was expected to become operational in 2017 and serve as a regional hub in promoting safe and efficient offshore businesses but this has not materialized.
The delay is said to be costing the contractors and project implementers millions of dollars, and worsening the financial position of the companies.
The free port was designed to be attached to the deep water port to grow the oil and gas industry.
The port was being designed to house facilities like load out quay connected to fabrication assembly areas, and heavy lift capacity.
Others are service plot available for tenants and users, and a fully accessible and protected port with deep 16. 5meter access, approach channel and port basin suitable for large heavy lift vessel, barges, rigs and floating production storage and offloading vessel.
In July 2014, some Members of Parliament filed a lawsuit seeking that the project is restrained. The move also followed government’s decision to suspend a further expansion of the Takoradi Port to allow for construction works at Atuabo. The case was subsequently dismissed by the court.
The Atuabo Free Port is projected to be the gateway to West Africa’s offshore oil and gas industry and a regional hub supporting the activities, of not only the upstream oil and gas companies but also the service companies that support them.
By Adu Koranteng