The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has cut the sod for the construction of a Forward Operating Base at Ezilinbo in the Jomoro District in the Western Region to protect the country’s oil and gas infrastructure.
The infrastructure will be constructed by Amandi and Vuluxx. It will include a breakwater and a jetty, with a double-lane tarred road, berthing facilities and accommodation for 150 military personnel.
At the sod-cutting ceremony yesterday, President Akufo-Addo revealed that the ceremony was in fulfilment of a pledge he made to the Ghana Armed Forces at this year’s WASSA in March.
“As part of the project, the government has also contracted Hawkmoor Co. Ltd to supply six Phantom boats and provide other equipment to enhance the operational efficiency of the base. When completed, the base will serve as an advance military operational location from where the security of our offshore oil fields, TEN, Sankofa and Jubilee, can be co-ordinated and maintained,” he added.
The President said considering the enormous potential of the oil and gas sector and the need to confront the general maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, the government, through the Ministry of Defence, initiated plans for the establishment of forward operating bases (FOBs) at selected locations along the country’s coast to augment existing naval port infrastructure.
“These locations include Keta in the Volta Region, Winneba and Elmina in the Central Region and Ezilinbo in the Western Region. Today, I am delighted to be cutting the sod for the first of these bases here at Ezilinbo,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, on bringing to reality the maritime security operational plan which had been on the drawing board since the country started the exploration of oil and gas in commercial quantities.
He said the benefits of the oil and gas industry to the economy and the citizenry were evident for all to see.
The oil and gas sector, he explained, had witnessed continuous growth, offering jobs and sustainable livelihoods for many Ghanaians.
He noted that more offshore explorations and discoveries were being made, and the country’s daily production rate had risen from 80,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to over 200,000 bopd, which was expected to double to about 400,000 in the next four years.
“It is evident that huge capital investments in this nascent offshore oil and gas industry come with attendant security challenges and should, thus, be jealously protected,” President Akufo-Addo added.
He said currently, piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continued to pose significant threats to national and regional maritime activities, including the operations of the facilities of the offshore oil and gas sector.
“Aside from these major threats, incidents of theft, including illegal oil bunkering, kidnapping at sea for ransom, illegal fishing, terrorism and drug trafficking are common threats across our territorial waters. These transnational crimes do not only affect national and regional peace and stability but also impose significant costs on our economy and those of our neighbours,” he stated.