The Energy Ministry has refuted claims by policy think tank, IMANI Africa that, a 30-day deadline for a response to a Plan of Development proposal from oil exploration firm, Aker Energy on new oil well finds, expires Friday.
Senior Vice President of the think tank, Kofi Bentil at a press conference Thursday, lamented over the Ministry’s failure to respond to the proposal in time as stipulated by law.
Aker Energy in January announced that it had discovered oil in commercial quantity at the Cape Three Point offshore, after it took over from Hess Energy and subsequently presented the Plan of Development (PoD) to the Energy Ministry.
The law mandates the Energy Minister to assess the PoD proposal and either reject or approve it in 30 days. Failure to do this within the stated days means the proposal has been accepted.
At the press conference, Mr Bentil wondered why the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu, has yet to respond to the proposal although the Petroleum Commission has advised him to.
Mr Amewu’s lackadaisical attitude towards the issue when the country’s resource to the tune of $30 billion is at stake, baffles the private legal practitioner.
But in correspondence with Joy News’ Kojo Manu, the Energy Ministry denied the April 26 deadline as stated by IMANI Africa.
According to the Ministry, “when we take a look at the interpretation of days, it talks about working days” and as far as they are concerned, the deadline is far away.
The Ministry says it will respond to IMANI’s claims on Friday.
In an interview on Joy FM’s Top Stories, Mr Bentil insists the deadline is April 26, “when somebody says 30 days, it could be 30 calendar days or otherwise but the point is if you count 30 days ordinarily, it expires tomorrow [April 26].”
He is surprised at the Ministry’s account saying, nowhere in the agreement was it stated that it must be 30 working days.
“So it is not prudent for you to assume that it is 30-working days, you might be caught on the wrong footing,” he added.