The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is not enthused by the approach adopted by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) regarding its proposed oil deal with Aker Energy and AGM.
According to the GNPC CEO, Dr. Kofi Koduah Sarpong, it is unfair for these groups to unnecessarily criticising the deal instead of channeling their effort towards asking relevant questions that will advance the cause.
He explained that “when this conversation started, people have made wild comments. My style is not to respond to rabble-rousers. I do not do that. I have better things to respond to. Some of the CSOs have spoken to us. But they are divided, and it’s a mockery.”
The deal is expected to see an increase in Ghana’s shares up to 47% and 85% in Aker Energy and AGM blocs respectively.
But some CSOs including IMANI Africa, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and other petroleum energy experts have raised red flags about the arrangement in terms of valuation.
They have pointed out other transactional and policy issues which may leave the GNPC with overpriced assets on its balance sheet if not addressed properly.
But the GNPC CEO believes that some of these Civil Society Organisations have an ulterior motive.
He suspects some of the CSOs who he described as ‘divided’ have been hired to destroy their work because “that perception that a price has been determined is erroneous.”
“But the discerning ones among them have been to us. The good book tells us to ask, seek and knock [and you shall find]. They are not doing it, but set their own questions and provide their own answers. It is very unfair to professionals like us,” Dr. Sarpong told Accra-based Citi TV.
He further stressed that the GNPC is not perturbed by the opposition it faces from the CSO because “we are not buying the two blocs at $1.3 billion.”
“What the Minister requested was the mandate that he can go and negotiate within that limit. But parliament after consideration said it will give a limit of $1.1 billion for acquisition.”
On the back of these justifications, he believes it is early days yet for any group to draw conclusions that may be unfounded.
“If you bring two experts to value the two blocs, I will be very surprised that you will get the same figure. Unless their assumptions are the same. I engaged Lambert.
“Some can engage Bank of America, HSBC but the question is what are the assumptions underlying these valuations. These evaluations are to help us get the acquisition price,” he added.
The GNPC CEO also assured that the move is in the utmost interest of the country.
Once finalized, GNPC Explorco, the commercial wing, would also become a joint operator with Aker Energy in both blocks through a new joint operator company, providing an opportunity for GNPC to acquire operatorship capacity to enable it to play a major role as an Exploration and Production company.
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