The Institute for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR) has warned of an imminent environmental catastrophe in the country if the 65-year-old oil rig, ‘‘Mr. Louie’’ is not decommissioned immediately.
The Institute, in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Kwadwo N. Poku noted that recent reports on ‘’Mr. Louie’’ reveal a very disturbing state of the platform.
“The wellhead valves which are the primary locks securing the wellbore from flowing oil and gas back to surface are currently severely pitted and rusted. The production platform has rusted severely as it shakes and wavers during heavy rains.”
“Currently there are gas leaks and should the wellhead valves or pipes or even the platform fail eventually, there will be an explosion, and the gas build up in the well will bring around 150 barrels of crude oil daily into the sea in the central region of Ghana,” it indicated.
It warned that the staff of GNPC who are on the platform risk losing their lives should there be such an accident.
INSTEPR further sounded the alarm that an oil spillage will destroy the natural ecosystem of the area and make fish in the sea unwholesome.
“It will cost Billions of dollars to control the well and safely clean up the oil spillage as well as fines by international environmental agencies. A similar disaster was witnessed on television during the 2010 Oil Spillage in the Gulf of Mexico,” it added.
According to the Institute, a decision to decommission the field was made in March 2018 when Phase-1 of the project was awarded through a competitive process to a consulting consortium led by PAP Energy Limited.
“Their report on the decommissioning plan was submitted to the Ministry of Energy and GNPC in July 2019. Based on this report, a competitive tender to award the decommissioning contract was started in May 2020. The process has stalled since then and all efforts to ascertain from GNPC, the reason for the delay has yielded no information,” it added.
It called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GNPC, and the Energy committee of Parliament to immediately supervise the decommissioning of this production platform before “our worst nightmare happens.”