Business News of 2014-04-08

Coastal communities prepare against oil spill

Ghanaian industrial waste management company, Zeal Environmental Technologies Ltd (ZETL), has taken a bold initiative to train persons from selected coastal communities in the Western Region in the handling of shoreline oil spills.

The companies producing oil on the Jubilee Field have identified 40 communities on the shoreline that could be affected in the event of oil spills.

Although the oil companies have each engaged Oil Spill Response companies (OSRs) to handle oil spills offshore, Zeal believes its initiative would be a complement to ensure that inhabitants of identified coastal communities will not have their livelihoods affected negatively when spills or other pollutants contaminate the shorelines.

The ZETL intiative

“The oil companies have identified 40 companies. But we have picked 17 communities and trained two persons in each community as liaison officers and in the handling of the cleaning equipment,” the Chief Executive Officer of Zeal Environmental Technologies, Mr Kwaku Ennin, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at Nyankrom, near Sekondi.

The company has an articulated truck loaded with basic shoreline cleaning equipment which it makes available to the communities for use by the trained liaisons in the event of any oil spills that extend to the shorelines.

It drives closer to the spill area and use mini trucks and boats to carry the equipment closer to the affected community.

“We are doing this because if there is an oil spill, it will impact negatively on the economic activities of the people living on the shoreline because they are all fishermen. The issue is that, you cannot determine when the spill would occur so you have to be prepared all the time,” Mr Ennin, whose company has been operating industrial waste management services for mining and oil companies for nearly 40 years, said.

Training

Training of the people from the communities started about two years ago. Zeal Technologies financed the training which was facilitated by the Oil Spill Response companies.

“OSRs can manage the waste offshore, but when it comes to onshore, you need the communities to help you. This is what this initiative is all about,” the CEO said.

Support of oil companies

Currently, Zeal is exploring the opportunity to have contracts with the oil companies to share in the responsibility towards the exercise.

“We think that they will buy into the idea and support it. So far, we go to the communities, once every month to fraternise with them and motivate them,” he explained.

ZETL manages both hazardous and non-hazardous waste for the oil and gas sector and mining companies in Ghana and other West and North African companies.

It has an industrial incinerator for managing waste; it handles oily waste water from marine vessels and the oil production vessel, FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, as well as different sections for different waste handling, with emphasis on recycling where possible.

The US Ambassador

The work of the company, one of the few local companies that has given meaning to local content in the oil and gas industry, has attracted the attention of the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene A. Cretz, who visited the facility on March 26.

“I am impressed about this hi-tech facility. It speaks very much of the best of America and the best in Ghana. Building local capacity to ensure that Ghanaians handle this in future is an impressive partnership and anybody who comes here will be so impressed,” Mr Cretz said.

He lauded the good partnership among US companies operating on the oil fields and reputable and technically professional Ghanaian companies and expressed optimism that more such collaborations could happen in other sectors of the economy.