A former Deputy Minister of Energy under the Agyekum Kufuor-led 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 short-changing the country in its Petroleum Agreement for oil production. It claims Aker Energy did not have any formal agreement with Ghana National Petroleum Corporation before it explored oil in some areas outside the blocks it inherited from original owners Hess Energy.
But Mr Hammond indicated that the claims by policy think tank is without basis since terms of contract do not allow for such amendments saying “what IMANI is saying is mind-boggling. The Hess bloc 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.
“It also said Aker is changing the terms – that can’t also be done. What exists is, Aker is asking for an amendment of the original terms given to Hess. Even if that is the case and they did that, I have no doubt the end product will have to come back to parliament,” Mr Hammond stressed.
Challenging the terms under which Aker Energy entered into new agreements with Ghana, Kofi Bentil, the Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, cautioned that the nation would lose millions of dollars if the company the 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, that is why we have passed new laws such as Act 191 and the related legislation to get a bit more from our oil.
“Somehow, Aker believes that it can get more favourable terms even under the new law and are seeking recognition of the terms it inherited which Hess was working with. Aker has relaid its request for renegotiation and it’s being considered and going through a series of things which makes us worry why Aker gets what they get in this country,” Mr Bentil lamented.
Aker Energy in January announced it has discovered oil in commercial quantities at the Cape Three Points offshore site, the nation is likely to lose billions of dollars if the agreement with Aker Energy is not renegotiated but stands to gain an estimated $9 billion through renegotiation.