By Chronicle Reporters
An overjoyed President John Evans Atta Mills turned the wheels for the official production of oil in commercial quantity on board the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah vessel, some 60 kilometres off Cape Three Points yesterday, and proclaimed: “We rejoice in the oil find.”
Like the three wise men in the Bible, who rejoiced over the fact that they were the first to reach the Baby Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem, Prof. Atta-Mills felt fulfilled in performing the first official function which signified Ghana’s emergence as an oil producing nation.
He said the day should serve as reason for all Ghanaians to work hard and not rest on their oars. “It means we are assuming extra responsibilities.”
The Head of State said Ghanaians living now are trustees for future generations, and promised that his Government would manage the oil revenue well.
“Revenue from the oil will be used for the benefit of all, and not for a few,” echoing the sentiments of countrymen praying for the efficient management of the oil resources to improve on infrastructure and society generally.
After joining the dignitaries at the Takoradi Air Force Base after commissioning the oil project, he said, “The oil will be a blessing and not a curse for Ghana,” echoing the prayer of the people of Ghana for the efficient management of the natural resource.
Turning to the request by the chiefs of the Western Region for 10 percent of the oil revenue to be used to develop the region, Prof. Atta Mills assured the traditional rulers that his government would listen to their plea, and act in concert with the dictates of the economy.
He praised his two immediate predecessors for their great vision and activities that led to the finding of oil in commercial quantities.
Under the Rawlings regime, the President told the gathering that “oil exploration was greatly intensified, and requisite infrastructure and legislation were put in place,” he said.
He was also full of praise for ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor. “It was during his stewardship that oil was struck in commercial quantity,” he told the cheering crowd.
He acknowledged the roles played by companies and individuals in the long search for oil, and singled out Tsatsu Tsikata, who as Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation organised the first oil and gas conference in Accra, to draw attention to the nation’s potential as an oil producing country.
“Oil and gas,” the President told the gathering, “will be used to transform the economy from raw material base to industrialisation,” mentioning an aluminium smelter, petro-carbon, agro-processing and iron and steel as some of the industries that would spring up with the discovery of oil in commercial quantity.
He asked all Ghanaians to enjoy the day. “A great day is today, and today is a great day,” recalling the saying of Kwame Kwakye, a former District Commissioner in the Convention People’s Party of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana is expected to drill 55,000 barrels of oil a day, rising to 120,000 by next year.