Friday, February 10, 2012 (Page 28 Lead)
TENSION is looming in the Jomoro District of the Western Region following reports of a possible relocation of an $850 million gas processing plant from Donmunlini to Atuabo in the Ellembele District.
The youth in the area are up in arms against moves by the authorities to relocate the gas plant from Donmunlini to Atuabo and argue that the decision is premature and hasty; but the government shares a different view.
“The Board of Ghana National Gas Company is yet to take a definite position on the siting of the project but Atuabo is likely and best site for now,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Gas Company, Dr George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He said the government would consider national interest over emotional sentiments and cited the security of the plant as one of the reasons the plant needed to be sited at Atuabo.
According to him, preliminary studies conducted by Synopec, a Chinese company, indicated that the country would save millions of dollars if the plant was sited at Atuabo and not the originally designated town of Domunlinu.
The youth of Jomoro, in a strong-worded statement to traditional rulers in the Western Nzema Traditional Council, government officials and other stakeholders, have indicated their intention to move to the Castle in their numbers to protest the decision to relocate the gas processing plant.
According to the youth, farmers in the original designated area had lost large tracts of farmlands but they have not been paid any compensation.
They said it was, therefore, painful for the area to be sidelined at the last hour, especially when they had lost virtually all their farmlands; their main source of livelihood.
Reacting to their concerns, Dr Yankey denied allegations that he was one of the officials championing the relocation of the project and gave the assurance that his outfit had taken steps to compensate affected farmers.
He said the Land Valuation Board had been tasked to do crop numeration and put value on commercial trees which were felled in order to pave way for the payment of compensation to affected farmers.
He also gave the assurance that petrochemical industries would be built on the acquired land to create jobs for people in the area.
Dr Yankey said construction works on the plant which would be fed with gas from the Jubilee Oilfields are expected to be completed this year.
Currently, road survey for the laying of the onshore pipeline has been completed while engineering studies of the structure of the onshore pipeline would be completed in a couple of weeks after which pipes would be ordered.
The chief executive officer further explained that tenders had been received from prospective companies interested in manufacturing the gas processing plant and added that a company would be selected to manufacture the plant before the middle of next month.
A Deputy Minister of Energy, Mr Emmanuel Kofi-Armah Buah, who was also accused of manipulating the relocation of the project, denied any wrongdoing.
“I have no power to divert the project,” he explained and further disclosed that the Jomoro District had not been abandoned because a fertilizer plant would be set up to provide jobs for people in that area.
He said the Volta River Authority (VRA) would provide a $600 million 500 megawatts power plant at Bonyere in the Jomoro District.