General News of 2014-05-22

Pratt, Oteng Agyei lead 'verbal war' at oil documentary premier

A VIP premier of a documentary about Ghana's oil find on Wednesday triggered heated arguments by high profile personalities who watched the documentary.

Former Energy Minister, Dr. Oteng Agyei, and Kwesi Pratt Jnr. all of whom were captured in the documentary have either attacked the credibility of the documentary or the panel constituted to discuss the documentary.

The 99-minute documentary titled "The Big" written and directed by Rachel Boynton, an international film­maker, featured Hollywood Superstar Brad Pitt.

The documentary captured behind-the-scene stories about boardroom discussions and how Texas based oil exploration companies were said to have exploited Ghana and Nigeria's oil resources.

The premier of the documentary on Wednesday night, provoked as much controversy as the content of the documentary itself.

Dr. Oteng Agyei scorned the documentary, describing it as a propaganda tool for Cosmos. He also accused David Ampofo, of the Time with David fame of being the propaganda machine for Cosmos.

Joy News' Evans Mensah who moderated discussions at the screening described the post-documentary analysis as heated.

He was sweating in a fully air-conditioned conference room, he confessed.

David Ampofo did not take kindly to the allegation and demanded an immediate withdrawal and apology.

While Dr. Oteng Adjei attacked the credibility of the documentary, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. attacked the organisers of the premier of the documentary in Ghana and questioned why Franklin Cudjoe of Imani Ghana and head of civil society group Africa Centre for Energy Policy, ACEP, Dr. Amin Adam, should be on the panel to discuss the documentary.

He accused the two men of championing an agenda against some personalities in Ghana.

The documentary itself was pregnant with allegations against the Kufuor administration, under whose tenure oil was struck in Ghana, that it gave a "sweet deal" to Cosmos, the company that was behind the oil find.

But the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, says there are good lessons in the movie that Ghana can learn in order to benefit from its oil find.

He told Joy News' Francis Abban the documentary highlighted the lessons learnt from Nigeria, which is widely seen as a victim of a resource curse.

He also said the documentary portrayed how governments go into deals with oil companies to protect their own self interest instead of the national interest.

Dr. Amin Adam described the propaganda allegations as unfair because the facts in the documentary do not support that allegation.

Why would Cosmos champion a documentary which has key figures in the documentary questioning the propriety of the Cosmos deal? Dr Adam noted.

He also dismissed assertions that Cosmos was given a "sweet deal" by the Kufuor administration.

He explained that, given the financial risk Cosmos took by investing in 3d seismic data, the deal they got under the Kufuor administration was largely fair.

He compared it to the deal signed with Tullow after Cosmos had struck oil, saying that except a 2.5 per cent difference in additional paid interest, the Cosmos and Tullow deals were the same.

Under the contract signed around 2006, Cosmos had to pay five percent royalties, 10 per cent carried interest and 2.5 per cent additional paid interest.

Tullow, which signed its contract much later, also had to pay 5 per cent royalties, 10 per cent carried interest and five per cent additional paid interest. He said Tullow did not have to take the risk of largely 3d seismic data.

Dr. Amin Adam advised successive governments to respect the sanctity of contracts signed with oil companies.

Source: myjoyonline
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