A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations(CSOs) on extractive governance has called for the immediate removal of Mr Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, Chief Executive Officer and Mr Freddie Blay, Board Chair of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
In a Press Statement by the CSOs, the two gentlemen had been said to be a threat to Ghana’s petroleum sector particularly over steps to sell 50 per cent stake of Jubilee Oil Holding Limited in the Deep Water Tano (DWT) block to PetroSA, a State-owned Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa.
The call had also been necessitated by the recurring controversies surrounding Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited operations.
The 32 CSOs forming the Coalition said, Aker Energy had defaulted on the loan of $ 200 million it had to invest in the Pecan field of Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Point (DWT/CTP) and handed it over to be controlled by AFC Equity Investment, a subsidiary of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Aker’s main creditor.
“Aker handed over the asset in a face-saving sale for $1, ooh yes, one dollar. Aker will only recoup some of its investments if AFC succeeds in developing the filed where it can produce and sell oil,” the Coalition said.
It said the sale of Aker’s interest to AFC and the subsequent submission of the Plan of Development (PoD) to the Government raised questions.
The Coalition said: “Aker is scheming to stay on the Pecan development through surrogates and Ghanaian collaborators across segments of our society to amass ridiculous benefits.”
It said Aker Energy purchased a Floating Production Storages and Offloading (FPSO) for $35 million but in their PoD submitted to Government, Aker’s previous owners intended to bill Ghana $1.7 billion for the FPSO.
GNPC in 2021 acquired 7 per cent stake in the sale of Anadarko’s interest in the Jubilee and TEN fields and a Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) report 2022, noted that the Jubilee Oil Holding Limited (JOHL) raked in some $207 million after $83 million was paid to Explorco who holds an interest.
It was noted per the Report that the $207 was not put into the Petroleum Holding Fund, besides, the CSOs also said GNPC had taken steps “to sell 50 per cent of JOHL, a national assets held in the Cayman island to PetroSA in a bizarre circumstances two years after Anadarko sold the asset to GNPC.”
The Coalition said GNPC had agreed a preemption claim of PetroSA though the Ministry of Energy had written to the Corporation and the President to oppose the transaction.
“Preemption cliams are illegal and those contemplating it have interest at variance from the State. It is unjustifiable for PetroSA to preempt the State’s interest without any legal basis in the Petroleum Law and the applicable Petroleum Agreement,” it said.
The Coalition had demanded a full audit of the expenditure of the $200 million deemed recoverable at the start of production, transfer JOHL and it’s assets GNPC and requested that the Norwegian Government took interest in dealings of Aker Energy in Ghana to forestall negative image.
Some of the CSOs are Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG), PIAC, Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Economic Governance Platform and Centre for Public Interest Law.