Ghanaian oil production is expected to reach record highs of over 200,000 b/d in October as exports of new grade Sankofa pick up, trading and industry sources said Friday.

  • Oil production has more than doubled since last year
  • October exports to average 214,515 b/d
  • New Sankofa crude is a medium sweet oil

Ghana’s oil exports will average 214,515 b/d in October, the highest since it first struck oil in late-2010. The October loading program consists of 91,935 b/d of Ghana’s flagship Jubilee crude, and 61,290 b/d of both Sankofa and TEN blend crudes, sources said.

Almost all the country’s output is exported because it sole refinery in Tema has been shut since early-January this year.

Ghana’s oil output has almost doubled in the past year with the startup of its big the two deepwater oil projects — the TEN field in August 2016 and the Sankofa field in July 2017 part of the Offshore Cape Three Points development.

These two projects which jointly cost over $10 billion have provided a much needed boost to Ghana’s nascent oil sector.

Ghana came relatively late to the oil party compared with its West African neighbors, and only began commercial crude production at the Jubilee field in 2010, with output averaging 90,000-120,000 b/d in 2013 and 2014.

Ghanaian oil production then fell in 2015 and 2016 due to technical issues with the Jubilee fields.

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Oil production averaged 88,487 b/d in 2016, according to Ministry of Finance data.

The TEN and OCTP projects were undertaken when the price of oil was close to $60-$100/b, and with prices falling sharply over the last three years there were some doubts over whether they would remain on schedule.

But the oil companies persevered putting their faith in Ghana as a proven petroleum reserve, relying on the projects to cushion them while the current low oil price environment persists.

NEW EXPORT GRADE

The 45,000 b/d Sankofa field is part of the OCTP development which comprises five fields and will also produce non-associated gas, making it the first major gas development in Ghana.

Eni operates the block in partnership with commodities trader Vitol and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

Exports of Ghana’s newest oil grade Sankofa will average around 31,148 b/d from August to November, according to loadings schedules seen by Platts.

Sources said the crude is a medium sweet crude, with an API of less than 30 degrees, which produces a high yield of gasoil.

The grade with a sulfur content of 0.3% has been classified as similar to low sulfur crudes like Angola’s Hungo and Cote d’Ivoire’s Espoir.

Sankofa has so far observed strong buying interest from European refineries, notably from a Spanish refiner and an oil major.

Asia, which is a big consumer of Ghanaian and West African crudes, is also expected to be a buyer of this new grade.

The crude is currently being exported from the John Agyekum Kufuor floating production, storage and offloading vessel, with the first cargo exported in late August.

Sources said there will be no Sankofa cargoes in September, but two 950,000-barrel stems are scheduled for October, and one-950,000-barrel cargo will be exported in November, according to the provisional loadings schedule.

–Eklavya Gupte, eklavya.gupte@spglobal.com
–Gillian Carr, gillian.carr@spglobal.com

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