The Deputy Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC), Onassis Kobby, says the deal between Aker Energy and Ghana Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is quick-witted stealing of the country’s resources.
The GNPC wants to acquire stakes in two oil blocks – a 37% share in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy and a 70% stake in the South Deep Water Tano (DWT/CTP) field operated by AGM Petroleum.
The deal, according to the Ministry of Energy, will result in the formation of a joint operating company with Aker Energy, AGM and GNPC Explorco, the operating subsidiary of the state oil company, as partners.
The GNPC is counting on Norway’s Aker and the United States’ AGM to build the muscles of GNPC Explorco, to become a profitable operator–exploring and drilling oil.
In view of this deal, the Alliance of civil society organizations working on Extractives, Anti-corruption and Good Governance has warned that Ghana will be short-changed if the government goes ahead to fork out $1.65 billion for shares in two oil blocks.
In reflection of this, Mr Onassis who doubles as an expert in oil and gas revealed that the Ghanaian public has been lied to in respect of the intent of the Aker/GNPC share purchase, indicating, from a cursory look at events, format, and PR surrounding the transaction, a critical thinker and industry player will not fall short at labeling transaction as a deliberate scheme to steal the resources of the nation.
He further opined that GNPC made separate presentations to the Nana Akufo Addo cabinet that endorsed the proposed share purchase and to the parliament of Ghana. In their presentation to Parliament, GNPC omitted the Post-Transaction Structure – Create an Operator JV diagram as captured on page 26 in the presentation to the cabinet.
“This is what the Post Transaction structure is supposed to be; GNPC 10 % ( though not mentioned but constant ), Explorco 33% ( GNPC subsidiary), Aker 4 %, JV to operate the field 10% ( 6% aker and 4% Explorco ), Lukoil 38% and Fueltrade 5%.”,.
” From the above structure, it is clearly a distinct Lukoil owns the majority shares in the block , so how does it make any sense, that a certain JV to be formed by Aker and Explorco is going to be the operator where all decisions with regards to the development and production of the field will be taken ?. Isn’t it curious the majority shareholder of the block thus Lukoil is not part of the proposed JV to operate the field ?”, he quizzed.
He hinted that, “the deal is proposing a JV /Joint Operator Company to serve as the operator through a fund which will be owned by Aker 60% and Explorco 40% . The JV which will be a distinct company/fund will own shares in the DWT-CTP block with 10% ( Aker 6% and Explorco 4% ). From this proposition, Aker has clandestinely taken over control of the block with a majority stake in the JV where all actions will take place.
Onassis Kobby also disclosed that the sponsors of the deal claim, the arrangement is to train and equip Explorco into becoming an operator in the near future.
He continued: “quite insulting for Aker Energy to see itself as experienced and credible than GNPC/Explorco in that regard. Aker Energy is owned by Aker ASA and TRG which are all connected to the Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke. The company has no credentials as an established E&P company. It was purposely set up to enter the Ghanaian hydrocarbon exploitation space. They can never claim to be experienced than our engineers and manpower at GNPC with vast knowledge in the industry who have been very instrumental to all multinational companies that have at a point in time attempted to invest in our hydrocarbon industry. The reverse must be the case! Such language should come from Lukoil which is a partner in the block “.
The Director of Operations of Indigenous Oil and Gas Company, reiterated that “Aker Energy makes a claim through GNPC to use a subsidiary of Aker ASA by name AkerBP as a leverage in its operatorship. If that is what the industry is about, then GNPC /Explorco would not need to partner any company as its lead because services of oil and gas service providers can be procured at any point in time. The shareholders and Board of Directors of Aker Energy and Aker BP are separate and distinct. At best, Aker Energy can only procure the services of AkerBP for specific tasks”.
Ultimately, “this arrangement only seek to steal our money in the name of buying shares then not having control over the resources in the end”, Onassis said.