The World Bank will provide up to $500 million to Ghana in the form of a partial risk guarantee for use if the country defaults on payments for gas from the Sankofa field, the state oil company said on Thursday.
The guarantee is the largest of its kind to be granted by the Bank and provides security to Ghana over gas expected to flow in 2018 from the $7.9 billion offshore oil and gas field being developed by Italy's ENI.
The deal was signed with Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). Chief Executive Alex Mould said the country would take 180 million standard cubic feet of gas from the field per day.
"This guarantee will also give investors the confidence that GNPC will have the wherewithal to deliver on the purchases from its partners," Mould told Reuters after the deal was signed in Accra.
ENI holds a 44.4 percent stake in Sankofa, upstream trader Vitol holds 35.6 percent while GNPC holds a combined carried and participating interest of 20 percent. The World Bank will loan $200 million to the Sankofa partners.
The gas project is expected to generate about 1,000 megawatts of power to Ghana, Mould said. Ghana has yet to fully recover from a prolonged energy shortfall that crippled industry and angered voters ahead of an election in December.
Gas from Sankofa and two other new fields could eliminate the need for Ghana to import gas from Nigeria through the West African Gas Pipeline Company, said a report on Wednesday.