Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has commenced the processing of the data acquired from a 2D seismic survey of the Voltaian Basin which commenced in 2018 and was scheduled to be completed by the end of the first quarter of this year.
While it is still unconfirmed whether the acquisition of data was indeed completed by the weekend, as scheduled, GNPC sources say that by the end January the exercise had been 90 percent completed.
The results so far have been extraordinarily encouraging, presenting expectations that Ghana will sooner or later be able to develop major onshore oilfields.
Michael Aryeetey, Exploration Manager at GNPC told OFFSHORE, a leading Ghanaian specialized oil and gas industry journal that “processing of data has already commenced and I am happy to say that the processed data is an interpreter’s dream. We have also completed the first phase of sub surface gas sampling from the basin and preliminary analysis looks very promising.”
Indeed, GNPC is now gearing up to plan actual exploration of the basin which now has assumed the status of the corporation’s flagship project. The drilling of two conventional wells is now scheduled for 2020. GNPC is also to use the acquired data to define structural and stratographical interpretation of the basin and identify drillable prospects to open up the area for block licensing.
Says Aryeetey: “Though the Voltaian basin may be the least explored over the years, with the help of the Petroleum Commission, the regulator and the leadership of the industry, we at GNPC believe the Voltaian basin may be Ghana’s next big thing.
Ongoing data analysis follows a six year reconnaissance programme involving environmental impact assessment, community relations management, acquisition of 1,700 square kilometers of data on a regional scale, and geo-chemical sampling of sub-surface gas. Data collection has been executed by a seismic contractor contracted by GNPC last year
Several companies have expressed interest in bidding for exploration blocks when they are opened up. Data acquired and analysed so far have confirmed the existence of a thick sedimentary cover of a six kilometer thick in the deepest sections. There are already indications of heavy oil, gas, bitumen and other hydrocarbons.
However, GNPC and whichever oil exploration and production companies end up taking blocs know they would be entering unchartered territory; this would be the first time they are doing environmentally unfriendly work onshore, where people not only earn a living, but where they actual live. Unless handled tactfully it could possibly recreate the kind of civil unrest that has bedeviled neighbouring Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta for decades.
Ghana’s onshore Voltaian basin occupies about 40 percent of total landmass of Ghana, which is about 103,600 square kilometers. It is an epicontinental interior basin associated with the Pan African Orogeny of 600 million years ago and was formed as a result of the collision of the West African Shield (of the Birrimian System) with the Benin-Nigerian Shield (of the Dahomeyan System).
By Toma Imirhe