GE Oil & Gas Opens New Sub-Saharan Africa Facility To Support ENI

GE Oil & Gas Opens New Sub-Saharan Africa Facility To Support ENI

GE Oil & Gas opened a new facility in Takoradi Port, Ghana Thursday, expanding its global footprint and supporting Italian oil and gas  giant Eni, Africa’s leading gas producer.

Based in London, GE Oil & Gas is a subsidiary U.S.-based conglomerate General Electric. The company says it plans to deliver more than 45,000 training hours for Ghanaian personnel over the next five years as it seeks to build a local team.

The GE facility will be the primary service center for deep-water offshore projects in Ghana, GE said in a press release. It has a 1,600-square-meter (17,200-square-foot) indoor test area and 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet) of indoor and outdoor storage.

This new infrastructure is already supporting installation for Eni’s Offshore Cape Three Points project. GE Oil & Gas is supplying Eni with subsea and turbomachinery equipment for the project.

With an oil sector that is less than 10 years old, Ghana has limited domestic capacity to serve the multinational oil companies that are commercializing its offshore petroleum reserves, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Domestic companies have limited experience in providing technical services to offshore operators. Onshore services are somewhat more mature but still under-developed. The government of Ghana has mandated minimum levels of participation by local companies. For some portions of the oil and gas sector, up to 90 percent of equity will have to be held by domestic Ghanaian firms.

General Electric, once considered the second-largest U.S. company, lost its Top 10 ranking on the Forbes 2016 Global 2000 after dismantling its financial arm, GE Capital. Though its market cap increased, GE’s sales, profits and assets all declined, Forbes reported in May 2016.

GE says it plans to provide support in Ghana for the local supply chain, and for small and medium-sized enterprises.

African exploration prospects took a hit over the last two years but, but Eni’s successes demonstrate there is plenty of potential still worth securing, AfrOil reported:

Eni’s exploration success rate is the envy of its peers.

The Italian company has almost 4,900 oil and 555 gas wells, with 10 field startups planned or under development.

Most of Eni’s worldwide finds of 13 billion barrels of oil were discovered in the last decade, mainly in Nigeria, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana and Angola.

A long-established presence in Egypt was rewarded with the discovery of the giant Zohr gas find in 2015. Other significant African finds include Ghana’s Offshore Cape Three Points oil and gas project in 2009 and Angola’s Block 15/06 gas field in 2006.

As a result of these discoveries, Eni is Africa’s leading gas producer with an output of 2.23 bcf (billion cubic feet) per day of gas produced and sold in 2014, AfrOil reported. The company plans to invest US$12 billion in Africa from 2016 to 2019, according to Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, who presented the company’s 2016 results in March.

Employing 3,742 people in 14 countries in Africa, Eni is in exploration and production in Algeria, Angola, Congo (Brazzaville), Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Mozambique and Nigeria. Smaller projects are under way in Tunisia, South Africa, Liberia, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.

Eni also has refining and marketing operations in Gabon and Ghana.

Lorenzo Simonelli, president & CEO of GE Oil & Gas, attended the GE opening ceremony in Ghana with customers, suppliers and local government representatives.

“We are committed to partnering with Ghana to help support building critical skills and developing infrastructure for the country’s future growth,” Simonelli said.

GE Oil & Gas has recruited more than 30 Ghanaian staff to work at the new facility, including two trained field service engineers who are working offshore to support the installation phase for the Eni project.

“Ghana has decades of development potential,” said Ado Oseragbaje, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas sub-Saharan Africa. “We are excited to provide support to a project that will act as an important energy source for the country for many years with minimal environmental impact, while also driving the development of local infrastructure and capacity-building.

“We have the strength and scope to be able to stay close to our customers, work where they work, and invest in the training and facilities required to reduce complexity, provide faster turnaround of equipment deliveries, support our partners and build a solid talent pipeline in-country.”

GE secured an $850 million contract to supply equipment to the Eni project block in 2015. This contract draws technologies and expertise from across the company, GE said in a press release.

“GE is known for its leadership in technology and innovation,” said Robert Jackson, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. “Here in Ghana, GE has partnered with our USAID-funded Supply Chain Development project to build the capacity of local small and medium businesses. That’s not only a commitment to Ghana, it’s a commitment to transitioning from donor funding toward private sector-led growth.”