As Ghana’s Jubilee offshore oilfield approaches peak output of 120,000 barrels per day, interest in the country's untapped deepwater potential remains high, according to a report by Business Monitor.

While Ghana's second major oil development project, TEN, is expected to come online in late 2016, Business Monitor says that without a positive investment decision on a number of promising new discoveries under appraisal and/or new finds, the country's overall output may begin to gradually slip by the end of the decade.

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A few highlights from the Business Monitor report include:

• After a troubled start, output from the Tullow Oil-operated Jubilee field is on track to reach the target production rate of 120,000 barrels per day (b/d) by the end of 2013. According to Tullow's H213 operational update, output was averaging 110,000b/d and remained on track to reach the plateau rate of 120,000b/d by the end of the year.

• In another sign of strength for Ghana's oil sector, regulatory approval was given to the Tullow-led Tweneboa-Enyerna-Ntomme project (TEN), which will see peak output of 80,000b/d (less than the 100,000b/d initially planned) and is due to come online by late-2016.

• This increased upstream activity will support rising production, which Business Monitor expects will grow from around 110,000b/d in 2013 to 243,000b/d by the end of its forecast period in 2022. However, these volumes assume the contribution of new supplies beyond fields currently approved, namely liquids from Eni's Sankofa development.

• New production will be important, in line with a strong macroeconomic picture; oil demand is expected to rise, which will in turn reduce the amount of oil available for export, hitting earnings. However, with added supplies, should Ghana fail to invest in its downstream, it will continue to rely on expensive imports of refined products from abroad as the ageing refinery at Port Tema falls short of domestic demand.

• A deal announced in late September would see Tema upgrade aging equipment in order to increase capacity from 45,000 b/d currently to 60,000 b/d by 2015.

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