Ben Boakye, Executive Director of the African Center for Energy Policy

The executive director of the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Mr. Ben Boakye, said the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was not available for discussions on the deal with Aker energy.

He said on TV3’s key points on Saturday August 28 that claiming civil society organizations are unfair to the GNPC with criticism of the deal because they did not commit the company to the deal, is incorrect.

Brother Boakye told host Dzifa Bampoh that “the claim that GNPC is available and that civil society doesn’t want to engage, we just want to criticize society, is incorrect. They were not available.

“We have issued a statement listing the issues with the transaction and you would normally want the company to respond to us. Do you know what they did? Instead, they responded to the Norwegian Embassy, ​​Parliament and IMF because we copied them. So where is the commitment to their end? There was no commitment.

GNPC, through its exploration and production company Limited (GNPC Explorco), intends to purchase 37% of the capital of Deep Water Tano / Cape Three Points (DWT / CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited and 70% of the capital of South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited.

To this end, the Minister of Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has asked Parliament to give its approval which will allow GNPC to acquire stakes in the oil blocks of Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

This transaction has divided the front of civil society organizations in Ghana, with some saying the deal is bad while others are in favor.

In a previous statement, Mr. Ben Boakye indicated that GNPC presents this unique transaction as the silver bullet on steroids for Ghana to effectively face the uncertainties of the energy transition.

“But is Aker leaving because of the energy transition? With all the staging around the energy transition in the tale to spend over $ 1 billion, why can’t proponents of the deal fail to tell us why Aker is selling the assets.

“We find it difficult to filter the arguments put forward by supporters of the transaction on stranded assets. We will isolate the deeper issues about why businesses leave Ghana in the following articles. However, the claim that if Aker leaves, GNPC must acquire its stake at all costs, and worst of all, Aker must linger as an extraordinary operator to lead GNPC to the operator’s promised land is only ‘a cover-up. “

“So CSOs tried to demystify the narrative and political inconsistencies embedded in the transaction and basically show it;

“GNPC doesn’t need Aker to become an operator. In a series of articles and public statements, we have shown that GNPC simply refuses to be an operator. The Corporation which owns three oil blocks as an operator has turned around to convince the executive and Parliament that it lacks capacity, ”he said.

“Why is he clinging to the blocks if he is unable to explore them?” To become an operator, you learn by doing from the basics. Drill a well, learn from service companies so you can control future drilling operations. “

“Ghana has been producing oil for almost eleven years. GNPC participated in the drilling campaigns of all the producing companies. Is the GNPC saying that these workers it attaches to the oil companies are not engineers, or that they have learned nothing from Eni and Tullow? Our position is that the Society should make serious arguments as this learning expedition. “

“GNPC has not behaved like a company that wants to be an operator in its past spending and choices. For example, with around $ 1 billion (excluding fundraising expenses) of Ghanaian oil money paid to GNPC between 2011 and 2020, the company has not drilled a single well. Instead, the Company signed a long-term import of gas, on a firm buy-back basis to phase out domestic gas production and now wants to convince the government that it needs budget support to become a commercial oil and gas operator. We say the primary responsibility of the state is to ensure a proper diagnosis of the past before tying the national budget to the Corporation’s abysmal spending performance. “

“There are significant flaws in the structure of the transaction that do not match the claim that GNPC will learn to become an operator through the transaction. If the operation is successful, Aker will become a minority with a 10% stake in the Pecan and AGM blocks, then manages to remain an operator through a Joint Operating Company (JOC). Essentially, GNPC will keep Aker as the boss in this transaction after paying them. CSOs do not know how the JOC will pass capacity to Explorco since Explorco itself will be a passive participant through its 40 percent stake in the JOC. A similar agreement with Technip since 2014 is now in the hands of the same GNPC. “

“GNPC’s assessment of Aker’s $ 2 billion stake is baseless. He only supports Aker’s claims that he can simply multiply preproduction barrels by a given price and sell to the resource owner, even when he quotes the value of his assets at around $ 214 million to shareholders of the company. The oil in the ground is owned by the state and means nothing until it is extracted. Therefore, the science of assuring investors that oil can be produced at a projected rate is much more rigorous than what Aker and GNPC are pushing down the throats of Ghanaians. “

“So make it clear that the challenge for CSOs with the transaction is not just a question of evaluation. If anyone wants to understand the CSO position, it is important to pay attention to the details by reading the statement released by the CSO Alliance, other activists and individual experts who have spoken and written in support of the CSO position. . It is not enough to refer and draw conclusions on structured interviews where specific questions are answered.

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