The Energy Ministry’s response to claims made by IMANI Africa concerning oil exploration company, Aker Energy does not satisfy the policy think tank.
Senior Vice President, Kofi Bentil in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story pointed out what he described as inconsistencies in the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu’s rebuttal to their claims.
“There is a contradiction in the position that no petroleum agreement is required, if the Minister says Aker is still evaluating that find to check on the dynamic connection, the point I want to make is the dynamic connection is what determines whether it is a new find or not and if it is a new find, then there will be the need for a new petroleum agreement.
“The Minister says in one breath, there is no need for a new petroleum agreement then he says in another breath, they are still evaluating whether there is a dynamic connection or not. We think those positions contradict,” Mr Bentil said.
The private legal practitioner raised an alarm at the possibility of Ghana losing some $30 billion worth of oil revenue if government fails to negotiate the country’s rights to the estimated 450 to 550 million barrels of oil found in two wells following a discovery in March.
Aker Energy announced the discovery in the Pecan South-1A well in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana. The find is touted as the biggest oil find in Africa.
The delay to a Plan of Development (PoD) proposal to government, caused IMANI Africa to panic. They feared the failure of the Energy Ministry to respond to the proposal in 30 days as stipulated by law would cause Ghana to lose its rights.
IMANI Africa used its press conference to raise questions on the Energy Ministry’s handling of the issue
Mr Bentil raised this and many other issues at the press conference, calling on government to act in order to avoid losing the $30 billion revenue the new oil wells come with.
But in its own press conference Friday, Mr Amewu described IMANI Africa’s claims as falsehood.
The Energy Minister criticised IMANI for misinforming Ghanaians on a potential loss of $30 billion to the country if the government failed to negotiate a new petroleum agreement.
“IMANI tried to alarm Ghanaians about a potential loss of $30 billion to the country if the government failed to negotiate a new petroleum agreement with new terms with the DWT/CTP partners. This is absolutely false” Mr Amewu said.
Responding to the assertion that the Ministry had until Thursday failed to respond to the PoD, the Minister said the proposal was submitted on March 28.
Upon receipt of the proposal, Mr Amewu said the Ministry wrote to the Petroleum Commission requesting it to review the PoD and make a recommendation to the Honourable Minister of Energy.
The reference of the PoD to the Commission was done pursuant to Section 28(1) of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016.
Mr Amewu in a counter press conference said IMANI goofed
Act 919 provides “The Minister shall not approve a plan of development and operation unless…the Minister has received a recommendation from the Commission and relevant agencies…”
“Based on a thorough study and review of the Aker Energy’s PoD, the Commission came to the conclusion that Aker Energy’s PoD cannot be approved in its present form. As indicated earlier, the Commission by a letter dated the 17th day of April, 2019 transmitted an Advisory Paper made up of the reasons why the PoD cannot be approved; to the Minister stating among others that Aker Energy must be made to review the PoD to comply with the necessary provisions of the law and the DWT/CTP PA,” the Minister said.
He also denied that the country risks losing $30 billion dollars if the interest of the state is not protected.
But Mr Bentil is unpleased with the explanation that has been given. He believes there has been a play on the information.
“We didn’t come to this quickly, we have worked on this for quite a while…according to Aker’s own press statement, they said we have found between 400 to 550 million barrels and we could even recover more than that.
“If you just take the 550 million barrels of oil and you multiply it even by $60 per barrels, you will come to the conclusion that the oil fields we found are worth $30 billion dollars,” he added.
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