A former deputy Minister of Energy under the Kufuor administration, K.T Hammond has downplayed the concerns of Policy Think Tank, IMANI Africa over Ghana’s agreement with a Norwegian oil company, Aker Energy.
IMANI had accused Aker Energy of shortchanging Ghana in its petroleum Agreement with the country for oil production.
It claims Aker Energy did not have any formal agreement with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation before it explored oil in some areas outside the blocks it inherited from original owners Hess Energy.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Hammond indicated that the claims by the policy think thank is without basis since the terms of the contract do not allow for such amendments.
“What they [IMANI] are saying is mind-boggling. What they mean is that the Hess bloc that was acquired by Aker has not been restricted to its original bloc area and they were extending it to some other areas. That can’t be done because it doesn’t work like that. So I am not sure it is factually accurate. They also said Aker was changing the terms – that can’t also be done. What exists is, Aker is asking for an amendment of the original terms given to the Hess. Even if that is the case and they did that, I have no doubt that the end product will have to come back to Parliament,” said KT Hammond.
Aker Energy in January announced that it has discovered oil in commercial quantities at the Cape Three Points offshore site.
Challenging the terms under which Aker entered into new agreements with Ghana, the Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil stated that Ghana will lose millions of dollars if the company is allowed to start oil production.
“Hess’ concession was based on the old law which many people believed shortchanged Ghana because it gave us too little and that is why we have passed new laws such as Act 191 and the related legislation so we can get a bit more from our oil.”
“Somehow, Aker believes that it can get more favourable terms even under the new law and they, are seeking recognition of the terms they inherited which Hess was working under.”
He added that IMANI’s sources indicate that “Aker has relaid its request for a renegotiation and that renegotiation presently is being considered and going through a series of things which makes us worry why Aker gets what they get in this country.”
Loss of revenue
IMANI had previously explained that if the agreement is renegotiated, Ghana stands to gain an estimated $9 billion, through potentially 25% to 30% increased equity interest and royalties.
It estimated that Ghana is likely to lose billions of dollars if the agreement with Aker Energy is not renegotiated.
The Minority in Parliament is also raising issues with the oil discovery by Aker Energy.
It said Ghana could lose $7.2 billion in the deal.