Aker Energy, developers of the Deep Water Tano Cape Three Points oil block, Ghanaâ€™s fourth oil field yet to come on stream in 2021, has begun stakeholder consultations in Takoradi the Western Region.
The engagement is to solicit views which will help the company, the first Norwegian Oil company to develop oil field in Ghana, understand the nature of impacts the development of this new oil field will have on offshore eco-systems as well as the immediate communities.
The sampled impacts and mitigation measures will be captured in a mandatory Environmental and Social Impact Assessment required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For participants in the Western Region, lessons learnt in previous engagements should help proffer better mitigation measures for oil impacts on fishing and the over 90 communities in the six coastal districts.
Some of the concerns were raised by the Executive Director of Friends of the Nation, Mevuta Donkris.
He sought to understand how Aker Energy intends to develop the Deep Water Tano Cape Three Points field without disrupting free movement of whales.
His question stems from the fact that over 20 sea mammals have been killed and washed ashore since 2009. Some have attributed their deaths to the increased oil and gas activities in Ghana waters.
Other concerns were about how the company intends to live in harmony with fishermen. Other issues that were raised by participants during the scoping stage centered on employment and spill response among others.
Reacting to how Aker Energy intends to do things differently, the environmental adviser to Aker Energy, Ole Aspholm, outlined how the company intends to deal with concerns raised by participants. He first tackled Oil spill contingency plan.
He said there will be two tankers with spill response capacity during drilling activities â€œto deal with emergency situations.
â€œWe will also employ technical methods capable of informing fishermen of the safety exclusive 50 meters zone. As part of this, we will also carry out a fisheries impact assessment to understand the impact the operations can have on fisheries and best mitigation measures,â€ Mr. Aspholm added.
It ended with assurances from the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Aker Energy Emmanuel Annor Appiah for local employment.
â€œWe will do our best to offer employment to people in the region with the requisite driving, catering, cleaning and other high levels skills. This way, we will help boost the local economy,â€ he said.