GNPC-Aker deal: Ben Boakye shreds KK Sarpong over response to CSOs

The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEO), Ben Boakye, has expressed his disapproval over a comment by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr. K.K Sarpong regarding the GNPC-Aker Energy deal.

The GNPC through its Exploration and Production Company Limited (GNPC Explorco) intends to buy 37% stake in Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited and 70% stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited.

To that end, Energy Minister Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh requested parliament to make an approval that will enable the GNPC to purchase stakes in oil blocks of Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

This transaction has divided the front of Civil society Organizations in Ghana with some saying it is bad whereas others are for it.

The CSOs believe that the valuation used a higher value of about 65 dpb, and that Ghana is not likely to achieve that  price in the  medium to long term  and therefore, it makes the  transaction disadvantageous  to the country.

Dr KK Sarpong had denied claims of the CSOs that the GNPC is seeking a loan of $1.65 million to acquire stakes in Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana oil blocks.

Speaking in an interview on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ programme Thursday morning, he said “We gave all the valuations to the government and the government also, at Cabinet level to Parliament, they decided on the figure of 1.65 but it’s just a guide . . . out of that money, 350 million dollars is GNPC contribution to development if we acquire the stake. We have to also contribute to development of the field to first oil wherever we are to develop . . . when you take out the 350, it means the amount that the government wants Parliament to consider is 1.3 billion for acquisition. The Parliament also gave an upper limit of 1.1 billion.

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”There is nothing one can do about the 350; it’s an estimated cost that you will incur once you want to do it . . . So, if someone says we have decided on 1.1, that price is yet to be agreed but what Parliament said is at no point go beyond 1.1 . . . even with that, it’s not conclusive,” he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi.

But speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM with host Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday August 28, Mr Ben Boakye said “We also see another diversionary act of Dr KK Sarpong trying to rather tout to his credential to win public support for this transaction.

“He was talking about his role at COCOBOD and how he helped syndicate loans, I am not sure we are going to celebrate that as a civil society. If he wants to draw our attention to his public life, we are happy to engage him on that. But we have deliberately stayed on this conversation to ensure that we are dealing with the specifics and the subject matter.

“That smear campaign we will not engage in, I am not sure civil society will want to celebrate turning COCOBOD into a debt procurement institution for several decades. Recently, I was in the US to learn about how Cocoa is processed in a museum, they had cocoa grown in a room to show  people ow cocoa thrives. That is the legacy you will want to leave and not becoming a debt procurement enterprise. I am surprised that he leaves out other roles in public life being in TOR. We had to get into all of those things.

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“As much as possible we want to stay on this conversation and if he wants to  stay there we ill dissect the issues , we will bring to perspectives what the problemS are with this particular transaction, we can even zoom  deeper into his role in this GNPC and pick on many issues.”

 Mr Boakye further said the GNPC has not been available for discussion on the deal with Aker energy.

He told Dzifa that claims that the CSO are being unfair to the GNPC because they failed to engage the corporation on the deal is inaccurate.

He said “The claim that GNPC has been available and Civil society doesn’t want to engage, we just want to criticize the corporation is  inaccurate, they have not been available been available.

“We issued a statement cataloguing the issues with the transaction and ordinarily you would want to see the corporation respond to us. You know what they did? They rather responded to the Norwegian embassy, to Parliament and to the IMF because  we copied them. So where is the engagement from their end? There hasn’t been any engagement.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana