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The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has established a Research Chair in Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Ghana, Legon (UG).

The one million dollar project would see GNPC annually committing $250,000 over four academic years to support the Chair.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect, was signed on Monday between Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, Chief Executive Officer, GNPC and Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor, UG, in Accra.

The project, which would strengthen Petroleum Geoscience research and education capacity, would also support the optimal exploration, delineation and development of Ghana’s hydrocarbon resources.

The major objective of the Chair would be to facilitate the sustainable development of Ghana’s hydrocarbon deposits, while providing a reference point for developing similar technical capacity in Africa.

Dr Sarpong said the Corporation had already established similar projects in three other universities, namely Chair in Petroleum Commerce at the University of Cape Coast; Chair of Mining Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology; and a Chair of Petroleum Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

He said over the four academic year period, each of the participating universities was entitled to one million dollars for their established chairs.

He said science and technology played a crucial role in petroleum exploration and production; stating that, “For those of us in the industry, we believe that we need to build capacity if we are to make strive in this fast changing industry.”

He said he could confirm that Ghana’s offshore basin had a lot of hydrocarbon potentials but the drilling works needed to go as deep as sometimes beyond 3,000 metres beneath the sea to be able to reach where the hydrocarbons were.

“Everyone is looking at philanthropist; we want to go beyond that especially in the area of education and training. We believe that if we don’t build capacity, we cannot bring the oil out,” Dr Sarpong noted.

He said the Corporation had just commenced exploration works onshore (the Volta Basin), which covers about 40 per cent of Ghana landmarks.

He explained that the feasibility studies had shown that the area was endowed with petroleum, hence, the need for exploration work; stating that this would be a major game change, if we were able to achieve it as a nation.

“We see this great potential but we belief that as the industry is developing, we need to build capacity,” he said.

Dr Sarpong recounted that for the 2017/2018 academic year, the GNPC awarded 900 scholarships to Ghanaian students studying in the nation’s universities in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); of which UG alone had 160 slots.

He appealed to all universities to disburse the GNPC scholarship funds to beneficiary students.

He said the $30 million project, which would be completed within two years would be a Centre of Excellence in the petroleum industry.

He said the Centre would link up with universities to provide postgraduate training.

Prof. Owusu said the scope of the Chair included the establishment of technical partnerships with leading universities and industry leaders within and beyond the African continent.

Others are engagement with industry to establish state-of-the-art research laboratory in petroleum Geoscience and coordination of graduate level Petroleum Geoscience programme.

He said the project would facilitate the setting up of a Centre of Excellence in Ghana and Africa for producing world-class professionals in the field of geology and geophysics to provide innovative solutions to the mining and petroleum industries.

Prof. Daniel Kwadwo Asiedu, Provost, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, UG, said the UG was committed to the MoU because it had the lecturers and the capacity to deliver.

Prof Sandow Mark Yidana, Head, Department of Earth Science, UG, said the project would enhance research and training, not only in Ghana but Africa as a whole.

In attendance were Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for GNPC Foundation; Dr Kwame Amoah Baah Nuakoh, the General Manager of Sustainability, GNPC, and Executive Director of the GNPC Foundation and Mrs Mercy Haizel-Ashia, Registrar, UG.
Source: GNA

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