General News of 2014-04-17

ACEP jabs gov't in Miura oil/Energy ministry fraud saga

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has attributed the forgery of the Energy minister’s signature by oil company Miura Petroleum to claim ownership of the Offshore Cape Three Point South (OCTPS) block in Ghana to the secrecy surrounding oil deals in Ghana

The centre says adopting an open and competitive process for granting oil and gas concessions must become a necessity for Ghana.

Also, it wants Parliament to invite public comments before approving Petroleum Agreements.

Miura Petroleum, which is reported to be owned by the son of an international Ghanaian diplomat, in conjunction with its parent company Gondwana Oil Corp, recently announced its assets in Ghana to include the right to the offshore block about which it had begun negotiations with the Government of Ghana.

However, a press statement released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum said Miura had not been awarded any contract and the company had forged the award letter and signature of the Minister of Energy and Petroleum.

Miura is reported to have already bagged US$1.5 million having sold majority shares to a Canadian company Gondwana.

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy in a press statement in reaction to the matter said Ghana’s oil and gas industry may be exposed to international ridicule following the alleged forging of the signature of the Minister of Energy.

According to ACEP, there may be many other companies around the world holding letters with forged signatures allegedly from Ghana and taking advantage of Ghana’s oil and gas industry to make money.

According to the centre, the controversy if proven, exposes other companies holding Petroleum Agreements from Ghana to serious risks in the international capital market, particularly when the country’s sources reveal that Gondwana used the said letter in its Listing statement to the Canadian Stock Exchange.

Gondwana Oil Corp recently listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange to mobilize funds for its operations.

ACEP recently cited the Miura Petroleum’s claim to assets offshore Ghana as example of Ghana “giving away” juicy blocks to inexperienced and questionable oil companies and called for a moratorium on further licensing until the new Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill was passed.

The centre says it strongly believes that the secrecy surrounding oil deals in Ghana is largely responsible for this alleged forgery and criminality.

It says it is no longer an option but a necessity for Ghana to adopt an open and competitive process for granting oil and gas concessions.

It also wants Government to take its call for the award of oil blocks to companies that have the financial muscle to finance the huge capital operations in the oil industry seriously.

It adds that the Economic and Organized Crimes Office in Ghana must investigate the alleged forgery of the letter and signature of the Minister of Energy and Petroleum to reassure the international community that Ghana is ready for genuine partnership in the emerging oil and gas industry.