Parliament has directed Energy Minister Peter Amewu, to re-negotiate government’s amended deal with AGM Petroleum for oil exploration in the Deep South West Tano oil block.
It follows the concerns of the Minority members on the Energy Committee of Parliament, about the decision to reduce the 3% additional shares entitlement of Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) in the block.
The Minority had opposed government’s proposal to amend the original 2013 deal insisting it will reduce Ghana’s holding in the block from 43% to 18% and make the nation lose $10billion.
They also questioned the basis for which a company which was registered only last year, Quad Petroleum was being given a 5% stake as local partner.
"Who is benefiting from this 5% local content,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu demanded to know at a news conference Friday. The company, the Minority found, only came into existence barely a month ago, incorporated on April 10, 2019.
Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent, Joseph Opoku Gakpo reported that, the House after a series of consultations among the leadership, agreed to approve the deal.
They, however, ordered that government amends it and increase GNPC’s additional interest in the block from 3% to 10%.
The Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, has six months to return to the house to update MPs on steps taken to re-negotiate the amended agreement.
“The recommends that the Minister of Energy, together with Patrica [mother company of AGM Petroleum and AKER Energy], should facilitate the resolution of the issues...and it's consequential interest, Energy Committee chairman, Emmanuel Gyamfi, stated on the floor.
Despite the backroom consultations, ranking member on the Mines and Energy Committee Adams Mutawakilu insisted the deal is not good enough.
But Deputy Energy Minister, Amin Adams has justified the decision to reduce Ghana’s stake in the block, insisting it will help the country get more.
He rejected the claim that it is out of place for a one-month-old local company to be given a stake in the oil block as a local partner, saying there is no law against that.
The John Mahama government first entered into an agreement with AGM Petroleum in 2013 but not without calls by ACEP to have the deal suspended.
But government has explained, a review has become necessary because Petrica Holding AS in 2018, acquired some shares in its parent company, AGM Petroleum and also owns Aker Energy.
In effect, the two petroleum exploration and production companies linked to one company, are working in the same area of oil wells about 3,000 meters into the sea.