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 volume 7, issue #22 - Wednesday, November 13, 2002

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Togo may be on verge of economic break-through

21-10-02 Against the background of political bickering over the current preparations to hold legislative elections without the country's main opposition parties, a piece of juicy good news appears to be seeping through Togo. And barring the unexpected, the good news is that Togo may be on the verge of an economic break-through, through the discovery of potentially large commercial quantities of petroleum, gas, and hydrocarbons in its territorial waters.

The groundswell of renewed hope was raised in Lome, following the signing of a joint venture oil production agreement between the Togo government and the American Hunt Oil Company based in Texas, and Petronas Carigali of Malaysia for the extraction of oil in Togo.
Andjo Tchamdja, Minister for Mines and Energy, signed the agreement for the Togo government, while Christopher Stone signed on behalf of Hunt Oil of America in the presence President Gnassingbe Eyadema and Prime Minister Koffi Sama at the private residence of the Togolese head of state in Lome. Also present was Karl Hofmann, the US Ambassador to Togo.

Minister Tchamdja said the joint venture oil production agreement will enable the first off-shore wells to be sunk in Togo's territorial waters next month for the drilling and extraction of petroleum. But neither the minister nor Christopher Stone, Managing Director of the new joint venture oil company, could confirm whether preliminary exploration has led to the discovery of commercial quantities of oil in the fields in which the wells will be sunk.
However, Minister Andjo Tchamdja was optimistic that "the new agreement will open the way for the Togo economy to attain the much needed equilibrium, recovery, growth, and development." He said the exploitation of the oil wells will help to confirm the hopes and aspirations of the people of Togo about the encouraging technical results which were obtained through earlier exploration programmes.

While the feeling of optimism was generally high among government supporters, opposition groups expressed fears that the discovery of petroleum gas and hydrocarbons may further worsen the political woes of Togo and serve to harden the ambition of President Eyadema to continue to stay in office, come the year 2003, when his second term expires.

Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

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