At the age of eight, Ethel Laurel Akafful was already flirting with some of Ghana’s mineral resources – gold and diamond to be specific.
Born in a village in the Eastern region of Ghana to a petty trader mother and a father, who dealt in gold and diamond, Ms. Akafful had an adventurous upbringing.
She taught as well as sold wristwatches, t-shirts among others, honing her entrepreneurial skills in the process.
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Now at the age of 27, Ms. Akafful is an MSc. Petroleum Geoscience Graduate and the founder of an oil and gas company called Laurel Gas Resources – a clean energy distribution entity that uses technology to promote the broad and safe use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Ghana.
“We were very young but we knew what gold was at that age. When it rained heavily, we go to the gullies and pick pieces of gold put them in a mercury container. After some time, we get bigger sizes and sell to my dad,” she told Business World Ghana.
“Sometimes when my dad is absent and people come around I’m able to weigh the gold and buy on his behalf.”
Ghana discovered oil and gas reserves in 2007 in what is now called the Jubilee Field, 60km offshore.
Production began in 2010 managed by Tullow, Kosmos, and Anadarko in partnership with the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC).
Total production currently amounts to approximately 100,000 barrels of oil and 80 Mscf/d of natural gas (thousand standard cubic feet a day).
In Ghana, the oil and gas industry has segmented operations into the upstream (exploration and production), midstream (involves all activities between the oil wellhead and the refinery including transportation of oil and gas from oil fields such as Jubilee to refineries onshore and storage of petroleum) and downstream (predominantly characterized by the importation of crude oil and finished products, refining, storage, marketing and sale of petroleum products.)
This allowed the likes of Ms. Akafful to also venture in the industry.
“If you go to the gas station and the pump (of the gas cylinder) has been tampered with, you wouldn’t know. We make sure you get value for your money. We buy the gas on your behalf and we transport it conveniently and safely,” she told Business World Ghana.
“We help you fix your cylinder, offer advice on what to do when we detect faults, we check the position of your cylinder, check regulator, valve, etc.,” she added.
Ms. Akafful’s oil and gas company comes at a time the government of Ghana introduced the Cylinder Re-Circulation Model.
Instead of LPG outlets filling empty gas cylinders, LPG bottling plants outside commercial centers would rather fill the cylinders for sale at the retail outlets.
“So every innovation, every new thing we are doing in the industry is towards a safer and affordable means of getting LPG for homes and offices.”
Recently Springfield Group’s CEO Kevin Okyere revealed his company had discovered gas and two streams of light oil offshore Ghana in its Afina-1 well.
It made the discovery at a depth of 3,323m in waters about 1,000m deep.
“I can proudly announce that we now have over 1.5 billion barrels of proven oil and almost 1 TCF of proven gas with additional potential upside of over 3 billion barrels of oil and a lot more gas,” he noted.