General News of Wed, 20 Jun 2007123
Minister storms parliament with ‘dirty oil’
Energy Minister Joseph Kofi Adda on Tuesday stormed Parliament House with a receptacle containing a sample of oil from the discovered fields of Cape Three Points in Ghana.
He was in the House to formerly brief members of the discovery of what is widely believed to be a vast, commercially viable column of oil in the Western Region by a consortium of oil companies.
Mr. Adda was hoping to convince the House that Government’s decision to limit the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to its core business of oil exploration was the result of the oil find.
Moments after he lifted a quantity of salt to show the members, he also lifted a container of oil which he claimed was coming from the newly discovered fields and told the MP’s that it was the result of a focused corporate effort.
The previous National Democratic Congress government had diversified the GNPC’s operations to include investments into other sectors, including telecommunications and salt winning.
The minister’s display of salt and oil therefore, was to tell the House that if the NDC found salt, the NPP has discovered oil.
Expectedly, while the majority side cheered the presentation and the good news, it was all jeers from the minority, with shouts of ‘salt or oil, the value is the same’ to mimic the Bank of Ghana’s cedi redenomination exercise slogan, while others chanted ‘dirty oil’ as the minister lifted his container of oil.
The minority contended that the new announcement of an oil find should be celebrated with caution until an actual confirmation of the commercial viability of the deposits is made.
They explained that several similar claims of huge oil finds have since independence been made, however they have always ended up with the same sad story of being commercially insignificant.
MP for Jomoro, Lee Ocran, produced from his archives, a June 18, 1970 publication of the Graphic which an elated Minister of Lands and Mineral Resources then, R.R. Amponsah, went to Parliament to proclaim the find of oil and gas in potentially significant quantity.
Reading verbatim from the report, he said the then government had been so elated at the announcement but till today, there had not been anything to celebrate again apart from the first announcement.
To underscore the then government’s jubilation, he said the announcement of the oil find was made at a hurriedly convened press conference for the Parliamentary Press correspondents.