Plot to hijack Ghana’s Oilfield with GNPC/Aker Energy cooked

28th November 2022

….Another free money awaits key politicians, MPs, Journalists and CSOs in bribery scheme

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is the place to focus on, as some elements within President Nana Akufo-Addo’s circles with his direct involvement, are about to pull one of the biggest scams before the nation, using the Norwegian oil firm, Aker Energy as front men.

It will a see renewed interest in the Pecan oilfields and witness huge amounts of cash already earmarked for the deal exchanging hands between political class, Members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the House, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and prominent media personalities to once again give their unflinching support to a deal which was earlier plagued by bribery and corruption.

A meeting on this, recently took place in Dubai between the owners of Aker Energy and President Akufo-Addo, towards having the Norwegians sell their interest in the Pecan fields to GNPC at over 1.3 billion United States dollars, but still be around producing oil from it. Technically, Aker would have sold its interest in the oilfields, but still be around as international fronts aligned with the President’s private interest and those of his men (names withheld).

The intervention of President Akufo-Addo, follows Aker’s resolve and subsequent announcement that it does not intend to submit a Plan of Development (PoD) for the DeepWater Tano/Cape Three Points Contract Area also known as the “Pecan fields” as directed by Ghana’s Ministry of Energy by close July, this year. 

The Herald, has been on the bit with some patriotic citizens at the Aker Energy Ghana Limited led by Kadija Amoah, the GNPC, the Ministry of Energy and the Office of the President, working day and night to expose the grand attempt to shortchange the country.

Interestingly, Aker Energy, had wanted to dispose off its interest in the Pecan fields at US$250 million, but this price was inflated to US$1.3 billion in two successions in a matter of days by US$980 million more when GNPC presented the transaction to the Economic Management Team (EMT) and US$1.3 billion in Parliament. In effect, government officials kept adding their interest in approving the transaction.

This financial engineering, would allow Aker and its local allies of the President, his close friends, and family members finance the development of the pecan fields with state cash from GNPC to bribe and silence many other political interests involved in approving the transaction. They are getting the country’s oil resources free of charge.

The Herald gathered that at the meeting between the President and Aker energy in Dubai, Nana Akufo-Addo, assured Aker Energy that he would personally ensure the successful implementation of the earlier quest to sell the assets to GNPC.

 This is raising significant concerns in light of ample evidence that Aker, has breached the agreement with Ghana consistently. The company had struggled to find a buyer of the oil fields in the international market even at US$250 million.  

The president’s private financial interest in the transaction, has placed a freeze on regulation and disabled any legitimate sanction on Aker Energy. At the same time, other investors in the oil project, have their investments locked with no prospect of recovery in the foreseeable future. 

Many have wondered why Aker energy, a new company with limited capacity, is the operator on a field with a giant like Lukoil involved. However, the President’s personal self-interest is providing clues to the situation and why the oilfield initially expected to produce oil by 2021 is yet to complete PoD. 

It is emerging that Aker Energy wanted to dispose off the asset to investors at a market value of about US$250 million last year.

However, some individuals close to the president and the former CEO of GNPC, Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, saw an opportunity to operate it at the backend and engineer a transaction to own Aker energy, and pay off the owners of Aker Energy, an agreed fee after the transaction. 

Therefore, the Ghanaian fronts, would have put over a billion dollars in the books of GNPC to allow them to own the pecan fields through the pseudo-operatorship antics to build the capacity of Explorco. 

Earlier in the year, Aker told investors and the Ghana government that it would submit its PoD by June 2022, but at the end of the timeline, the company wrote to the Ministry of Energy and GNPC for further extension to the submission of the PoD. Aker Energy cited the Russia and Ukraine war as the basis for its extension application. 

However, GNPC, in a letter dated June 27, 2022 sent to Kadija Amoah, disagreed with Aker on the excuses saying; “As Aker Energy may already be aware, there have been continuous engagements with the Ministry of Energy (“MoE”) towards finding a viable solution that ensures the smooth continuation of the Pecan Project in the event that Lukoil is sanctioned”.

It continued that “We believe discussions regarding this issue can concurrently be considered while the submission of the Plan of Development (“PoD”) for the Pecan Project takes place as planned. We therefore strongly recommend that Aker Energy maintains the current schedule to ensure the submission of the PoD by June 30, 2022, as communicated to GNPC, MoE, and all other stakeholders.”

The demand from GNPC by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah, copied Andrew Mercer, Deputy Minister of Energy, for Aker to proceed with the submission of the PoD, was later set aside by the Minister of Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh.

In his letter dated June 30, 2022, Dr Opoku Prempeh, extended the deadline for “Submission of Plan of Development for the DeepWater Tano/Cape Three Points Contract Area” to the end of September 2022.

It said “We refer to your letter dated 17th June 2022 on the above subject with reference Pecan 1-AKG-MOE-LE-008 and related correspondence, in which you seek for the eighth (8th) time an extension of the period within which to submit your PoD.

We acknowledge issues related to and affecting your DWT/CT license and your inability to submit the required PoD on schedule. Government will work with the partners to ensure that these matters are resolved within the next three (3) months at which time you will be expected to submit the PoD.

Consequently, the request to submit your PoD is extended by 3 months effective 30th June 2022.”

However, Lukoil, which the company blamed for the inability of Aker to submit the PoD, claimed it was not part of the decision. The company issued a press statement and indicated that it was not under sanctions, as claimed by Aker.

 Lukoil, further stated that the approval of the delays was not legally justifiable in Ghana and wondered why the government was patronizing Aker. 

The September deadline the Energy Ministry gave Aker has since expired. However, there has been no action from the Minister.

 Many are beginning to raise eyebrows over the special treatments to Aker, instead of taking the oil bloc from it.

But The Herald’s insiders say, government elements are afraid that the Norwegians could reveal a lot of dirt on the government and people close to the President. This paper is informed that the Norwageans, feel more frustrated by the government. 

They wanted to just sell at the US$250 million and get out of Ghana, until the US$1.3 billion price and other propositions came up from the Energy Ministry and subsequently went to Parliament.  

Readers will recall how GNPC and Aker’s officials shared money with authorities, CSOs, and the media to push the transaction last year. There is a new move to reintroduce the transaction at the instance of the President.

The Herald has more intelligence than millions of dollars have already been earmarked for influencing as the last shot at the transaction. Incidentally, the IMF is tracking how Ghana seeks to consolidate expenditures in the current critical economic meltdown. 

However, this transaction appears so important to President Akufo-Addo, to be axed as part of broader economic recovery actions. In the coming days, The Herald will publish shocking details of the transaction and its actors. 

The elaborate plan to execute the transaction, includes targeting more CSOs opposed to the transaction, the media, and MPs, including the members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) with monetary inducements. There is also an option to securitize the assets of GNPC under consideration.

Written by Web Master

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