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General News Fri, 30 Nov 2007

GNPC: Operation of Saltpond fields above board

Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on Friday said the operations of the Saltpond Oil and Gas Fields were above board, dismissing views that the operations of the venture were shrouded in secrecy.

In a statement signed by Mr M.O. Boateng, Managing Director, GNPC said 546,022 barrels of crude oil were produced between June 2002 and July 28, 2007 at the oil field.

The statement said the oil was sold at 24,762,435.27 dollars. "Production is ongoing and the total quantity in the storage tanker as of (November 28, 2007) and awaiting lifting is 81,468.73 barrels." It said royalties on the sales due the government of Ghana totalling 742,873.06 had been paid directly to the Bank of Ghana or through GNPC to the Ministry of Energy into Government of Ghana Non-Tax Revenue Account as and when they became due and payable.

GNPC said it maintained engineers on the production platform in the Saltpond field who reported production figures and occurrences to the Corporation daily.

It said joint Management Committees, which were provided for under the petroleum agreements were held regularly by which GNPC monitored all activities of petroleum companies operating in Ghana.

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"GNPC regularly reports on our own activities and the activities of petroleum exploration and production companies, including SOPCL, that are operating in Ghana to the Minister of Energy."

It said prior to any lifting of crude, GNPC was informed in writing. "GNPC then secures permits from CEPS and Ghana Navy upon due notification for the intended lifting. No lifting is undertaken by SOPCL without these pre-requisite permits."

GNPC said all sales were made strictly by letter of credit, except in the case of Tema Oil Refinery, which was by direct payment after the oil had been delivered and payment was made directly to SOPCL's bankers. It said currently a long-term agreement had been concluded to cover the sale of crude oil to TOR.

GNPC explained that after payment of royalties, the residual revenue is then used to meet the company's production and operating costs, payment of carried interest and other outgoings.

"After the expenses have been made the profit and loss accounts are prepared to determine the yearly operational results and payment of dividends. Unfortunately, in view of the marginality of the field, the company is producing at a loss and no dividend has been paid to date." During the on-going debate on the budget in Parliament, the minority spokesman on Energy, Mr Moses Asaga said there was secrecy surrounding the operation of the Saltpond oilfields.

Source: GNA
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