A former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould, has raised alarm about the entire integrated Plan of Development (PoD) resubmitted by Aker Energy in relation to the Pecan oil field.
According to him, per the resubmitted PoD, Aker Energy wants government to allow them to continue exploration after their exploration period has ended and also retain oil fields not covered under this PoD, which should be relinquished as per the Petroleum Agreement (PA).
Also, the energy and finance expert disclosed that Aker were seeking to “let any development in the future of these unrelinquished fields, be subjected to the same poor economic terms to the Government of Ghana, instead of applying for a new PA which will increase the Government of Ghana’s equity share by 100%”.
Speaking at the maiden Oil and Gas Conference held at the University of East London in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 29, Mr Mould added that Aker Energy wanted to “have all exploration, appraisal and development costs of these unrelinquished fields to be charged to the Pecan oil field thereby reducing the Government of Ghana’s revenue (i.e. without any ring fencing)” and also “extend the term of the PA by 4 years to 19 July 2040.”
He noted that instead of going through the process of tendering for sub-contracts, which was used for TEN (Tullow) and SGN (eniGhana) from 2012-2016, “the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Commission are in the process of approving a contracting strategy called ‘the Alliance Model’ in the PoD” which he claimed is against the current laws and regulations of the upstream petroleum sector.
“This will give Aker Energy the sole right to go ahead and give out major contracts worth over $3 billion, without tendering, using the so-called ‘Alliance Model’ where only existing, preferred foreign vendors who have global contracts with Aker Energy, will be given the major contracts.
“Now, listen to this carefully; the catch here is our government is willing to permit Aker Energy to have this right, despite it violating our current laws and regulations,” he stressed
Mr Mould hinted government was prepared to pass amendments to the already laid down regulations and laws, “provided that Aker Energy agrees to the NPP Government’s demands, that Aker Energy only use the designated/chosen local partners (mainly controlled by people associated with the leadership of the NPP), even if these local partners are not qualified or even if these foreign oil services companies have already chosen their local partners; and this is all being done in the name of fast- tracking production.
“If this is granted, it will come to haunt future governments, with these precedents which all oil and gas exploration companies will ask for,” he advised.
Mr Mould said the need to fast-track the project to have first oil by 2020 elections was no longer possible or required, “since the development of the Hess/Aker Block to produce first oil will not be completed before 1 January 2023.
“This begs the question as to why any patriotic person, who also understands that the benefits of doing so – which accrues mostly to Aker and the ‘chosen’ local partners to the oil service companies – will even contemplate approving this ridiculous request made by Aker” the former GNPC CEO retorted
Reacting, the Minister of Energy, Peter Amewu, who was also at the conference, confirmed the terms Aker is asking for in the resubmitted PoD and added that, he would refuse approving the PoD should Aker Energy insist on charging cost of exploration and development of the other discovered fields and prospects in the block to the Pecan development.
“The PoD that you are talking about is lying on my table and I insist I am not going to give them the opportunity,” he stated.