GNPC-Aker deal: I’ve not taken any bribe, says Haruna Iddrisu

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    The minority leader in Parliament says media reports that he has been compromised in the GNPC-Aker deal are “malicious”.

    The minority leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has denied ever taking bribe to be soft on the government over the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Aker Energy deal.

    He said the allegation published in The Herald newspaper is “malicious and baseless.”

    In a statement on Friday 3 September 2021, the Tamale South MP served notice he will sue the newspaper for defamation.

    “I wish to place on record that the publication under reference is spurious, malicious, and baseless and a figment of the imagination of the “ghost” writer. The fact that the writer mysteriously omitted his by-line shows his or her malevolent intent and points to the fact that the publication is a fabrication. I wonder why the writer will want to hide under the cloak of anonymity if he or she were confident of his news story,” the lawmaker said.

    He added: “For purposes of emphasis, I have at no time participated in or been privy to the issues, dealings and processes that have been alleged against me. The said publication is nothing but falsehood calculated at tarnishing my hard-won reputation and bring me into disrepute and public opprobrium. It also exposes the general lack of knowledge and understanding of the workings of parliament.”

    “I entreat all well-meaning and discerning members of the public to read in-between the lines and see this publication as exactly what it is – malicious, mischievous and a pack of lies. I also implore my colleague members of the NDC Caucus in Parliament to disregard this attempt by what is obviously the work of unseen hands to create disfavor and disaffection for me personally. It is also a premeditated effort to place a wedge among us as the Minority Group, cause disunity within our Caucus and make us incapable of holding government accountable for its policies and decisions – which is one of our key responsibilities.

    “I demand that The Herald retracts the said publication and render an unqualified apology with the same prominence as the said malicious publication within 24 hours failing which notice is hereby served that I have instructed my lawyers to assess all possible grounds that this publication offers for a legal suit against The Herald newspaper, the writer of the story and all the hidden faces behind such a wicked and politically motivated publication against my person,” Iddrisu said.

    Rational behind acquisition

    The government, acting through GNPC, has initiated the process to acquire a 37% stake in Deep Water Tano Cape Three Points and a 70% stake in the South Deepwater Tano

    The purchase agreement once finalised will ultimately result in the establishment of a joint operating company between Aker Energy, AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited and GNPC Explorco.

    The planned acquisition which has received cabinet approval was laid before Parliament on Monday 2 August 2021 for the input and approval of the house and to mandate the Ministers responsible for Energy and Finance to commence negotiations and agree on a purchase price with Aker Energy and AGM.

    Ghana has in place 18 petroleum agreements, many of which have not seen substantial work done as of December 2020. Out of the 18 fields, three are producing fields and four are discoveries.

    The Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, 2016 (Act 919) which governs the upstream petroleum industry gives GNPC exclusive rights to undertake its mandate in all open blocks in the country. It requires all persons wanting to undertake upstream petroleum operations in Ghana to partner with the Corporation.

    But, the declining number of majors in Ghana and the ongoing energy transition means that if no one else is willing to explore or develop, GNPC may have to develop Ghana’s deepwater resources alone. To do so GNPC must have operator capabilities and the technology.

    GNPC acknowledges that it will need some capacity building in order to become an operator on its own. The process requires a major oil company willing to travel on this learning route with GNPC. Partnership with AKER Energy and AGM, with proven deepwater capabilities, provides such an opportunity for the national oil company to develop operator capabilities.

    GNPC proposes to partner with Aker Energy/AGM to jointly develop the DWT/CTP and SDWT blocks. The two companies, with a wealth of deepwater experience and the requisite technology, are keen to enter into this arrangement with GNPC.

    The existing discoveries by Aker Energy and AGM (the Pecan and Nyankom fields) are by far the largest discoveries in Ghana, and the only ones that can be developed as stand-alone developments. This partnership has the potential to add more than 200,000 barrels of crude oil to Ghana’s current production within the next four to five years.

    Benefits

    The transaction according to the Energy Ministry offers significant benefits to Ghana in its quest to develop its petroleum sector. Among others, GNPC gets to build operator capacity at a critical time in history to ensure that the hydrocarbon resources in the country can be fully developed.

    Other expected benefits are Ghana’s crude oil production will increase by 140,000 to 200,000 bpd within three to nine years, oil produced may be exported or refined in Ghana for domestic use thereby reducing imports of refined products and conserve foreign exchange, local content agenda can be effectively set by GNPC and a GNPC with operator capabilities will provide enhanced value creation for Ghana.

    GNPC Explorco will eventually recoup the capital expenditure as part of petroleum costs and loan offered to GNPC Explorco for the transaction can be repaid at First Oil through securitization of crude oil entitlements.

    Additionally, tax expenditures (through exemptions) and initial concessions extended to Aker Energy/AGM will be substantially reclaimed by GoG and assets to be acquired by GNPC Explorco will be done at a discount to current valuation.

    Royalties, tax revenues and profits to GNPC Explorco will amount to about US$6.5 billion in nominal value over 15 years and substantial foreign exchange inflows will accrue to Ghana which will contribute to GDP growth and expanded job opportunities.