Kufuor hails Equatorial Guinea's gas plant

Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday formally entered the global gas market as a major new player with the inauguration of a 1.5 billion-dollar Liquefied Natural Gas Plant.The plant has the capacity to deliver 3.7 million tonnes of the fuel annually for 17 years.President John Agyekum Kufuor, who was specially invited to join in the celebration of the occasion, alongside the leaders of Nigeria and Sao Tome, hailed the initiative by the country to expand and diversify its oil industry, as an important economic step. African countries, he said, needed to add value to natural resources to sustain their economies and take advantage of the global market system.He, however, cautioned that in so doing, care must be taken to protect and maintain the environment. The environment must never be neglected in the pursuit of social and economic advancement, he stated.President Kufuor therefore encouraged the government of Equatorial Guinea to make sure it involved all stakeholders in the management of the environment.Again, it should strive to use the new-found wealth to benefit and improve the lives of all the population.President Teodoro Obiang Ngueso Mbasogo, said the onshore project was a symbol of what could be achieved through economic partnership. He pledged his government's commitment to utilise the country's oil wealth to raise the living standards of the people.Mr Ken Woodworth, Managing Director of the EN LNG, operators of the plant, said their hope was that the project would serve as a catalyst for the establishment of the Gulf of Guinea as a world force in the industry.Equatorial Guinea, with a population of less than 800,000 has large oil and gas deposits. Their exploitation is driving spectacular economic growth.Now the third largest producer of crude oil in Sub-Sahara Africa, after Nigeria and Angola, it has a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 18.6 per cent with inflation pegged at 5.2 per cent.

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