The former Vice Chairman of Public Interests and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Kwame Jantuah, has said Aker Energy has gone over its boundary in contravention with Ghana’s constitution.
According to him, the action of the Norwegian oil firm could either be emboldened by “some powerful people” or it simply chose to be lawless.
“…Two things! It is either there are some powerful people behind them that give them the confidence to do it, or they are blatantly ignoring the law,” said Mr. Jantuah in an interview with 3FM’s Sunrise morning show with Winston Amoah.
His comment adds up to growing concerns raised by policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, calling on the government to renegotiate an oil exploration deal with Aker Energy, in which they alleged the country is being shortchanged up to the tune of $30 billion.
According to IMANI, Aker Energy was prospecting outside the concession it bought from Hess Corporation.
Government has, however, denied the claims by the think-tank.
Aker Energy, earlier this year, discovered oil in commercial quantities in the Pecan 1-South well in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Point (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana.
However, Mr. Jantuah argued that if Aker Energy wants to add another bloc to what it already has, it has to, then, go to the negotiation table under the amended petroleum law.
“If they are now adding Peacan 1 and Pecan 2 to their block, the [Petroleum Agreement] that they have does not indicate that they can do that.
“The PA they have is in the old law PNDC 8464 that is the one they used for Hess oil [another Norwegian company] that is what continues in the present block they have.
“If they want Pecan 1, Pecan 2, they have to go for new negotiations and the negotiation will be done with Act 919 – the new law,” he explained.
Mr Jantuah further added that the company had no right continuing to do exploration while it was under an appraisal .
The energy expert and legal practitioner revealed that the natural process of oil production starts with exploration: where one uses seismic instrument to check whether there is oil or not, then an appraisal of it.
“Aker Energy is at the appraisal stage and when you are doing appraisal, you cannot do exploration,” the legal expert said.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has also noted in a press statement that Ghana stands to lose $7.2 billion in revenue in terms of interest and royalty payment to government in the same deal.