General News of 2014-04-03

Osagyefo Barge saga: Ghana "not down and out" - AG

The Attorney General Marieta Brew Appiah-Oppong says Ghana is "not down and out" after the Court of Arbitration in Hague slapped $12 million on the West African country for abrogating a contract with Balkan Energy for the operation of the Osagyefo Barge.

The AG with her team of lawyers confirmed the ruling by the Court of Arbitration at a press conference held in Accra, Thursday. Balkan Energy was awarded the amount on April 1, 2014, after years of arbitration. Marrieta Brew Appiah-Oppong said she was bound by the rules of arbitration not to disclose the details of the arbitration, Joy News' Fred Smith reported. The company turned to the Court of Arbitration to settle a dispute that had risen with the government of Ghana over the administration of Osagyefo Barge.

The 125 MW barge-mounted gas-turbine electric power generating station was located at Effasu in the Western Region of Ghana.

The 77m long barge is equipped with a pair of single-cycle heavy-duty gas turbine units that have a combined generating capacity of 125 MW. It is designed to burn either natural gas or diesel fuel.

In July 2007, the government of Ghana entered a 20-year lease agreement with the company, Balkan Energy Ghana, to refurbish and operate the power barge, initially using diesel fuel and later using gas to be delivered by the West African Gas Pipeline.

Balkan Energy promised to begin operations within 90 days after the lease agreement had been signed. They were also expected to increase the barge's generating capacity by 60 MW, bringing it from its current capacity of 125 MW up to 185 MW.

But the company failed to honour its obligations due to several factors.

The government of Ghana then sued the company and by extension nullified the contract entered into with the company. Balkan then went to Hague to seek justice and demanded $2 billion damages.

The International Court of Arbitration ruled in their favour but handed a $12 million fine instead of the amount originally demanded against the government of Ghana.

The Attorney General stated however that per the ruling, the barge now becomes the property of Ghana.

She said the government will liaise with its external solicitors to take a second look at the judgement.