Assessing and managing the environmental and social impacts associated with developing Ghana’s first major offshore oil field to meet the requirements of regulators, joint venture partners and the International Finance Corporation.
When Tullow Ghana Ltd and its joint venture partners discovered an oil and gas field in Ghana, it needed help in understanding the environmental and social impacts of developing Ghana’s “first oil”.
The Jubilee field is in 1200 m of water and located approximately 60 kilometers offshore from Western Ghana. As part of Phase One of the development, Tullow Ghana Ltd needed to drill 17 oil and gas production and water injection wells and to establish sub-sea production facilities to extract and handle hydrocarbons. Given the deepwater, offshore location a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel was required to be moored above the sub-sea infrastructure. The initial estimated gross production capacity is 120,000 barrels of oil per day and the total project cost is estimated at US$3.2 billion.
Tullow Ghana Ltd appointed ERM to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the development of this flagship oil and gas development. We took a collaborative approach to the project drawing on the expertise of ERM consultants around the world and working closely with a team of local consultants.
To fully understand the possible impacts of the Jubilee oil field on Ghana, we gathered environmental and socio-economic baseline data from as many sources as possible, including government agencies, NGOs, research organisations and fishermen’s groups. We also carried out a number of technical studies, which included water discharge, drill cuttings and oil spill modeling, and developed a waste management plan.
An important part of the project was to work with Ghanaian regulators and the IFC to ensure that the project met the specific requirements of national legislation and met lenders standards.
The EIA consultation and approval process included 26 consultation meetings with national and local groups as well as eight full day public hearings. Issues raised at the Public Hearings and comments from the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency were addressed in the final EIA.
Benefits and Value
By working with ERM to conduct a thorough EIA, Tullow Oil was able to:
- identify and manage the impacts of its oil and gas production operations on the local environment and community;
- manage national and international interest in the development of an oil economy in Ghana;
- comply with national legislation and IFC lending standards; and
- produce its first barrel of oil just three and half years after discovering the new field, which is the fastest ever full-scale deepwater development.
Now that oil production has begun, ERM has continued to support Tullow Ghana Ltd through a framework contract with advice on establishing EHS management and monitoring systems, waste management plans and a communications strategy.