The parliament of Ghana has endorsed a commercial agreement between the Government, Lonrho Ports Ghana Limited and Atuabo Free Port Company Limited to facilitate construction of the Ghana Oil and Gas Free Port.
The Ghana Oil and Gas Free Port will be set up at Atuabo in the Western Region. The port is also expected to come into full operations in 2016 and will assist in meeting Ghana’s logistics and support requirements in oil and gas industry. It will also help serve the needs of the entire Gulf of Guinea region in this industry.
Also lined up are an airstrip and a helipad to facilitate aircraft and helicopter transportation. In addition, the government will see establishment of other infrastructure such as power generation, boreholes, accommodation, offices, a naval base, hydrocarbon fuel storage area and roads.
Service facilities will also be located in the port along the quays in order to provide support services to the off-shore oil and gas industry. These facilities include rig repair, waste treatment and management, fabrication and supply facilities.
A harbor is also part of the construction planned. This harbor will be protected by a rock breakwater to the west and a rock groyne to the east, a scour approach channel, a turning circle, berth pockets and quays.
James Avedzi, the Chairman of the Finance Committee added that the private sector will enter into a joint venture with the government referred to as ‘the developer’ which has the government guarantee. The Concession Agreement also highlights the exclusive right granted to Lonrho to operate the Freeport. It will be exempted from tax for 25 years and another 25-year extension for the provision of 2,000 acres of land by the Government of Ghana at the project site.
This is advantageously opposite the Jubilee Fields and thus will benefit from security, immigration and custom services by government, tax free zone services to companies operating in the port and imported materials or in transit.
The Ghanaians will posses 45% of the project, 35% of initial capital contribution being made by Ghanaian institutions such as SSNIT,GPHA, GNPC, VRA, SIC to acquire equity in Atuabo free Port Limited. International investors such as Lonrho Ltd, Africa Finance Corporation and China Habour Engineering Company (CHEC) will possess the other 55% of the project.