The Minority in Parliament has dismissed as a sham, government’s announcement of a supposed 55million barrel oil find by Aker Energy, one of the foreign oil companies operating a concession in Ghana’s oilfields.
A statement released by the Minority members on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament has hinted that the false alert by government may be a red herring purposed to help cover-up $47million budgetary allocation that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is not accounting for.
“The Minority demands that the government tell Ghanaians…the whereabouts of the US$47million approved by Parliament and subsequently transferred to GNPC,” a statement signed by Hon. Adam Mutawakilu, Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee said.
While demanding the missing $47million from GNPC, the Minority also explained that the supposed recent discovery by Aker Energy is a hit that happened as far back as 2012 and a windfall that the NPP government refused to take advantage of in spite of the fact that the previous Mahama regime had done the groundwork for Ghana to benefit from.
“In 2006 the Government of Ghana signed a Petroleum Agreement with Hess Ghana (whose shares were taken over by Aker Energy in 2018) for the Exploration and Production of DWT/CTP Block which was subsequently ratified by Parliament that same year, with a shareholding structure of; Hess 90%, GNPC 10%.
”The exploration period for the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points Block was seven (7) years. As such the exploration license expired on 18th July 2013. During the exploration period, the Operator (Hess) acquired a total of 5000 Sq.Km of seismic data drilled eight (8) Exploratory wells and made seven (7) successive discoveries; Five (5) for oil and two (2) for gas between 2011 and 2013,” the Minority statement recounted.
With only Paradise and Hickory North carrying gas, the remaining five were oil discoveries. These discoveries which were made in 2012 is what the NPP government recently claimed was new discovery, the Minority said. At that high discovery success rate of 80% the Mahama government moved to acquire 10% of Aker’s concession and got Parliament to approve $47million for the GNPC for the purpose.
However, along the line, neighboring Cote d’Ivoire made claims that parts of Ghana’s oilfields encroached on its seas, eventually leading litigating at ITLOS. About 80% of the Aker find was affected by that litigation which put work on those oilfields on hold.
The NDC lost power in 2016 before Ghana would later win the case at ITLOS under the new NPP government. “It was planned that after the ITLOS ruling, if successful, the payment would be made (to Aker) for the 10%. After the Nana Addo/Bawumia party won in the 2016 general elections and following the ITLOS ruling in September 2017, it was expected that GNPC will effect the payment and acquire the 10% interest.
”That did not happen, and Hess reclaimed the 10% shares allocated to Explorco (GNPC subsidiary company); thus changing the shareholding structure to Hess – 50%, Lukoil – 38%, Fueltrade – 2% and GNPC – 10%.
“In 2018, Hess opted to sell its 50% shares to Aker Energy. The then Minister of Energy, Hon. Boakye Agyarko proceeded to approve the transaction in spite of the several requests from the Minority in Parliament to the Government to acquire the 10% paying interest as a precondition to minimize the effects of the flaws in the fiscal package.
”This act of negligence and incompetence has made Ghana lose at least 10% more interest in the block. The benefits that would have accrued to Government by taking the 10% interest would have been enormous,” the Minority’s statement said.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Stan Assor