Ghana will receive its first payment for oil flows later this month, the country's finance minister said on Wednesday after parliament passed a long-delayed oil revenue management bill in a unanimous vote.
Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor said Ghana would be paid for 1 million barrels of crude that are going to be lifted on March 9, the first revenues to enter the state's coffers since oil was first pumped from the Jubilee field in mid-December.
The passing of the bill has been seen as a key milestone after months of debate since it was submitted in mid-2010. The delays had raised questions over the use of Ghana's new income.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is lifting on 9th March, and that is what is going to give us our first revenue, Duffuor told Reuters, confirming the volume of 1 million barrels. Brent crude for April is trading at over $115 a barrel on Wednesday.
Tullow Oil, Anadarko Petroleum and privately held Kosmos Energy -- Ghana's partners in the Jubilee field -- say they have lifted a total of 3.7 million barrels of oil so far.
Ghana joined Africa's oil-producing club with an initial production of 120,000 barrels per day (bpd), which is seen rising to 250,000 bpd by 2013.
A number of amendments have been made to the oil bill over the past few months, and an opposition member of parliament sought to insert further changes on Wednesday, but the move was blocked and the bill was passed in a unanimous vote.
The next step is to operationalise it for effective management of the oil revenue, Duffuor said.
The bill allows the government to use 70 percent of oil revenues to support its budget, while 30 percent is saved in Heritage and Stabilisation funds.
The legislation also allows the government to use the 70 percent allocated for the budget as collateral for loans.
A proposal to allocate 10 percent of revenues to the western region, off whose shores the oil is pumped, was rejected.