Business News Fri, 5 Aug 2022

Government not aware of US$7bn judgement debt – Energy Ministry responds to Minority’s claim

The Ministry of Energy has refuted claims suggesting Ghana could be facing a US$7 billion judgement debt over the protracted impasse between ENI/Vitol and Springfield Ghana.

This comes after the Minority caucus in parliament in a statement signed by Ranking member on Mines and Energy, John Jinapor, said the current impasse has also led to a bitter legal dispute resulting in a Ghanaian court order directing ENI/Vitol to deposit 30 percent of its monthly revenue into an escrow account pending unitization.

Reacting to the claims in a statement sighted by GhanaWeb, the Ministry dispelled claims of a looming judgement debt due to the impasse.

It also defended government’s decision to direct ENI/Vitol and Springfield Ghana to hold engagements toward the unitization of oil fields.

“Government's decision to direct unitization was not premature but was based on the provisions of the Petroleum and Production) Act 2016 Act 919 and occasioned by the failure of Springfield and Eni after several fruitless engagements to exchange and evaluate the data in their respective areas."

"The exchange of data was to confirm or refute Springfield's claims that the two discoveries extended beyond the boundaries and belonged to the same accumulation of petroleum,” the statement by the Ministry read.

It further stated that the entire process has also not been poorly managed as suggested and therefore maintained that due process was followed by the then Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu.

“The then Minister simply sought to implement the provisions of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 2016, Act 919. Section 34(1) of the Act.

It explained the Act states: "Where an accumulation of petroleum extends beyond the boundaries of one contract area into one or more other contract areas, the Minister in consultation with the Commission may, for the purpose of ensuring optimum recovery of petroleum from the accumulation of petroleum, direct the relevant contractors, to enter into an agreement to develop and produce the accumulation of petroleum as a single unit".

The statement added the former Minister's actions were based on sound technical and legal advice from relevant petroleum sector agencies, many of whom it says the Minority have worked with and whose competencies they can attest to.

“These agencies established that the hydrocarbon accumulation extended across the two contract areas prior to the directive being issued,” the statement added.

In conclusion, the Ministry assured citizens of its commitment to the development and proper utilization of the country's petroleum resources contrary to the views of the Minority caucus in parliament.

“The Minority may have to review their positions on these issues in line with the signs of the time. We wish to emphasize again that the Government is not aware of any $7 billion judgement debt from the current dispute over the unitization directive between Springfield and ENI/Vitol.”

Read the full statement by the Energy Ministry below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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