I have observed with great concern, the raging issue in respect of the decision by the Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and the CEO of the Corporation, to sell 50% of Ghana's 7% stake in the Jubilee Fields to the Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA).
This issue has undoubtedly spawned a full-blown turf war between the Minister of Energy on the one hand and the Board Chairman and CEO of GNPC on the other. But beneath their heated exchanges lies the clear impropriety of the actions of the Board Chairman of GNPC, Mr. Freddie Blay, and his CEO, which must be a subject of a serious investigation. This is because their actions smack of clear misconduct and have the potential to shortchange Ghana's interest.
Ghana purchased a 7% stake in the Jubilee Fields worth US$164.8 million through GNPC following Anadarko's exit from the TEN and Jubilee fields and subsequent offloading of its shares to Kosmos in 2021, as part of a negotiated tax settlement consented to by the Government of Ghana.
It is only under a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) among contractor parties of a Petroleum Agreement (PA), that Preemptive Rights can be exercised in transferring interests among the Oil Partners. Preemptive Rights can only be exercised on the transferor and not the transferee.
Under these circumstances, since GNPC was not a Contractor party to the (PA) strictly speaking under the old law ( PNDC Law 84) and only holds the State's participating interest from Anadarko (the transferor), GNPC becomes a transferee. Hence, the invitation to PetroSA to exercise a right of preemption does not arise in this case. What the Board Chairman of GNPC and the CEO are bent on doing therefore effectively amounts to attempting to relinquish Ghana's interest on a silver platter.
It is important to point out that Ghana's current producing fields- Jubilee, TEN, and Sankofa are well over 50% depleted, and the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government has failed to add a single producing field since assuming office in 2017.
The least expected of GNPC- The National Oil Company must therefore be to take steps to increase Ghana's stake in our oil resources in fulfillment of its mandate, rather than ceding Ghana's interest.
President Akufo-Addo must institute an immediate probe into the actions of GNPC's Board Chair and Chief Executive.
The author is Ghana's Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Ellembele Constituency. He is also former Minister of Energy and Petroleum
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