Ghana Summit Opening Ceremony: Oil and gas updates from GE and West African Gas Pipeline Company

31821117364 e75266aec5 zA GE project in Ghana for encouraging local skills and development training. (Image Source: Junior Achievement Africa/Flickr)At the Ghana Summit Opening Ceremony, Kwabena Aforo Addo spoke on behalf of GE Oil and Gas West Africa in his capacity as sales director, while West African Pipeline Company (WAPC) was represented by Christopher Beale, the general manager for commercial and business development

Mr Addo talked about how GE started in Ghana in 2010 with four employees and it now employs 110 people. He said that in Africa, GE is a "full-stream company" and that digital industrial transformation is an important part of its business.The company has worked in Africa with BP, Eni, Tullow and Shell using "industrial internet" technologies for work such as process surveillance, equipment monitoring and offering "fleet-wide insights for real time visibility".

With the "lower for longer" oil price scenario, Mr Addo said it was important for companies to leverage technology when there are cost-savings to be made, as well as improved productivity.

Christopher Beale said that for WAPC, a hydrocarbons transportation company, to adapt to a "dynamic market", business models have had to change. Since 2010, the west African oil and gas landscape has also changed significantly, according to Mr Beale. He explained that in 2010, Nigeria had "an abundance of gas that needed a home", Ghana was still an emerging player in the gas industry, and fuel prices, including liquid fuels for power generation, were high.

In contrast, Mr Beale said that in 2017, there is an emergent domestic market for gas in Nigeria, as well as new sources of gas in Ghana and western Nigeria, and competing alternative fuels. He said the western Nigeria gas plays are in an area that is unaffected by miltiants and liquid forms of gas will be competitive in the low oil price environment.

"WAPC is well positioned to transport new gas supplies," said Mr Beale. He cited "capacity and connectivity" as two important factors in meeting the new transport needs for West Africa, such as transforming pipeline from unilateral to multilateral flow, with multiple supply points along pipelines. He added that a different tariff structure would be required for a multi-entry/multi-exit pipeline, akin to models used in Europe, where customers can book entry and exit points separately.

"Pipeline gas will remain the most competitive source of fuel in the region," Mr Beale predicted. "[We need to get] competitive gas so we can deliver power where it's needed [and] stimulate industrial demand."

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