The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is Ghana’s National Oil Company (NOC), established in 1983, to support the government's objective of providing adequate and reliable supply of petroleum products and reducing the country's dependence on crude oil imports, through the development of the country’s own petroleum resources.
The corporation, which started operations in 1985, is partner in all petroleum agreements in Ghana. GNPC is also the national gas sector aggregator in Ghana, and aims to supply efficient fuel to meet Ghana’s increasing energy needs. After the inception of GNPC, technical assistance was sought from Braspetro, the international subsidiary of the Brazilian National Petroleum Corporation (Petrobras) under UNDP sponsorship in 1985 for the preparation of a strategic organizational plan and recommendations for institutional capacity building.
Ghana has four sedimentary basins. These are the Cote d'Ivoire-Tano Basin (including Cape Three Points Sub-basin), the Saltpond Basin, the Accra/Keta Basin and the Inland Voltaian Basin. The offshore basins cover about 60,000 km² (0-3500m water depth) extending from the Cote d'Ivoire-Ghana maritime border in the west to the Ghana-Togo maritime border in the east. The onshore/coastal expressions of the Tano and Keta basins, respectively, located at the south-western and south-eastern corner of Ghana, have a total size of about 4,000 sq. km. The Inland Voltaian basin is the largest sedimentary basin in Ghana. It occupies the central-eastern-northern part of Ghana. It is about 103,600 sq. km in size. The Sedimentary basins are divided into quadrants of size one degree by one degree, equivalent to about 12, 420 sq. km. Each quadrant is further divided into eighteen blocks with each block size equal to about 690 sq. km.
Exploration for hydrocarbons in Ghana started in 1896, when oil seepages were sighted onshore in the Western Region. This was due to the presence of onshore oil and gas seepages found by early explorers in that area. Between 1896 and 1957, twenty-one shallow exploration wells (wildcats) were drilled. Most of these shallow wells encountered hydrocarbon in shallow horizons. It is important to note that exploration activities within this period, was purely wildcatting/chasing seepages.
Ghana was not left behind when global activities moved offshore. The first offshore well was drilled in the Saltpond Basin in 1970. The success of that well led to increased interest, offshore Ghana. Subsequently, more acreage were awarded and exploration activities intensified in the 1970s mainly in the Tano-Cape Three Points and Saltpond basins.
The Tano basin also recorded its first offshore exploratory success in 1970 with the Volta Tano well and subsequently the North Tano field.
The first and only exploratory well in the Voltaian basin was drilled in 1974 by Shell, following the acquisition of a 206-line kilometer 2D seismic data at the southern part of the basin. Oil and gas production in the Saltpond Field started in 1978 and peaked at 4,500 bopd. The first deep water well, the South Dixcove -1X was drilled in 900m of water in 1978 by Phillips Petroleum, offshore Cape Three Points.
Commercial production started in the late 70's in the offshore Saltpond area in the Central basin of Ghana. In December 2010 first oil was produced from the Jubilee field, which was discovered in 2007.
The strategic goal of GNPC is to become a world-class operator by 2027.
GNPC has adopted a phased approach to achieving full operatorship by 2019. The first phase involves entering into joint venture/ joint operator arrangements with world class operators to achieve rapid transfer of operating capabilities. Thereafter, the Corporation will systematically assume full operatorship based on well-defined risk and opportunity assessments. With a newly incorporated subsidiary - Exploration and Production Company Limited (Explorco), GNPC is participating in incorporated joint ventures, with commercial interests held by Explorco.