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Chinese firm wins $600m port construction contract in Ghana

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-09 10:58

ACCRA - China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) has won the bid to construct a new Free Port in Atuabo, 326 km west of the capital.

At the end of the bidding process to select main contractor for Atuabo Free Port (AFP), officials of CHEC and Atuabo Free Ports signed an agreement late March to make the Chinese firm the main engineers for the free port project.

External Affairs Officer of AFP, Philomena Kuzoe told Xinhua over the telephone that CHEC will construct the $600 million port which AFP is to develop and operate in Atuabo, where Ghana's first gas processing infrastructure has just been completed by SINOPEC Petroleum of China.

Seth Terkper, and Murtala Mohammed, Deputy Minister for Trade were present during the signing of the agreement for the deep water hydrocarbon logistics center.

The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Sun Baohong and other officials from China and the Ghana Investment Promotion Center witnessed the signing ceremony.

The port with an 18.5m deep channel and three quays of varying depths from 16.5m; 12m and 9m, clear activity zones will provide an Offshore Logistics, Subsea Fabrication, Rig and Vessel Repair, Business Technology Park and General Business Support Infrastructure.

The private sector led facility initiated by LONRHO aims at serving the West African sub-region's offshore oil and gas industry and a regional hub supporting the activities of not only the upstream oil and gas companies but also the service companies that support them.

The project is a joint Venture including a 10 percent free carry shareholding for the government of Ghana and a 35 percent shares to be owned by state owned enterprises (SOEs) while AFP owns the other shares.

There will be no demand for government to guarantee the financing of the project, the project partners said.

According to Kuzoe, although CHEC will be the main contractors, there would be some Ghanaian firms working as sub-contractors in the project which is expected to generate at least 1,000 jobs.

"Construction is expected to commence in the third quarter of this year and be completed in 25 months," she disclosed.

After the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Ghana for the first time in 2007, the country which now produces over 100,000 barrels of oil per day (100,000 bopd) from the Jubilee field is also in the process of commencing oil production from other fields that have been appraised or are being appraised.

The government seeks to turn the nascent oil sector into a booming industry that will catalyze economic growth and job creation.

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