The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) says groups challenging the propriety of its joint operating contract with AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited, for the Deep Tano Exploration project, are misinformed.
Head of Evaluation and Monitoring at GNPC, Kwame Ntow Amoah, told Joy Business there is nothing untoward about the involvement of AGM Petroleum as suggested by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP).
ACEP had expressed worry over the agreements GNPC negotiated on behalf of the country with AGM Petroleum Ghana under the Joint Operating Partners and the Petroleum Agreements - saying the agreement “stinks badly and must not be allowed to pass without serious Parliamentary scrutiny".
The agreement notwithstanding, has been approved by cabinet.
ACEP also alleged that the AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited is an unknown Company in the global oil and gas industry and especially with no upstream experience.
“Our investigations shows that AGM Petroleum Ghana firm has no evidential record of raising as much capital as may be required for exploring and developing of Ghana’s deposit oil block (South Deep Tano block of about 3,000 metres depth) and again ill-experienced in deepwater exploration,” it said.
But Kwame Ntow Amoah explained that AGM Petroleum Ghana is a subsidiary of AGR of Norway.
"And...everybody knows AGR. AGR is known as the operator's operator. They've drilled wells in the deepest parts of the world", he said.
The policy think tank is also worried the country could be shortchanged by the potential abuse of “Ghanaian Company” principle to justify a patronage system in the oil and gas industry- as a company becomes Ghanaian, if it is incorporated in Ghana and with a minimum of 51% ownership is held as such.
But again Kwame Ntow Amoah said "the law itself requires that [multinational] companies...have to incorporate a company in Ghana for operations because you don't want to mix up the Ghana operations with other operations, so it's a legal requirement."
GNPC together with EXPLORCO and AGM Petroleum Ghana will explore and develop the Deep Tano block.