President John Mahama has commissioned 4 helicopters delivered by the Chinese government as part of the Ghana Gas infrastructure project.
The China-manufactured fleet which comes with two hangers, maintenance equipment, among others are estimated at about 100 million dollars.
It forms part of the Chinese Development Bank - CDB’s credit facility to the Ghana Gas Company in establishing a comprehensive gas infrastructure.
This has become necessary as the country positions itself to expand and utilize its gas resources for the benefit of the economy.
The helicopters were therefore, purchased to assist the company in its surveillance and monitoring responsibilities in order to secure its installations like gas pipelines and other allied operations across the country.
The aircrafts will also enable Ghana Gas tackle any challenges and threats to production of gas offshore, general security of all oil installations in offshore oil fields and as well place the company in good a good position to secure its gas production environment.
They will however, be maintained and operated by the Ghana Airforce.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Mahama expressed delight at the arrival of the aircrafts saying, the purchase of the fleet has come about due to the successful collaboration between the Ghana Gas Company and the Ghana Air Force, which reflects government’s policy to encourage inter-departmental partnership to advance Ghana’s developmental agenda and its agenda for transformation.
President Mahama added that the aircrafts “will enhance our maritime security, anti-piracy operations, rig-bound medical and casualty evacuation, search and rescue operations, aerial photography, riot control and traffic management.
"It will also be deployed for disaster management and anti-sea-bound narcotic interdiction operations", he added.
The helicopters were manufactured by the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation – CATIC.
Z-9 EH Aircrafts are light to medium aircraft with a proven versatility in both onshore and offshore operations.
It is an aircraft based on the Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin 2 helicopter that is extensively used in Ghana for mining operations and oil and gas services.
It is equipped with a full-glass cockpit which is a current requirement by the Ghana Airforce for all its platforms.
With its ruggedness, flexibility and speed, the Z-9 EH helicopters are well-suited for a wide spectrum of operations from security to humanitarian roles.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Gas Company Dr. Sipa Yankey in his address stated that the supply is in compliance to a December 2012 contract between the Ghana Gas Company and Messrs CATIC of China after securing the approval of the Public Procurement Authority to procure 4 units of Z-9 EH helicopters from China.
He added that “the acquisition is one of the sub-projects implemented with funding from the CDB for the funding of the Ghana Gas Infrastructure which comprise:
1. A 12-inch-58km gas pipeline from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to the landfall of Atuabo.
2. The state-of-the-art Atuabo Gas Processing Plant which receives gas from the FPSO through the offshore pipeline for processing into 4 various gas products
3. 20-inch-111km offshore pipeline from Atuabo to the Abuadze thermal plants and
4. The supply of 4 helicopters with spare-parts, tools, vehicles, training and 2 hangers.
He was full of praise of the Ghana Air Force for their support and professionalism and called for enhanced partnership in ensuring the successful execution of their mandates.