Energy Policy Think Tank, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has welcomed government’s decision to delay the approval of Aker Energy’s Plan of Development (PoD) for the drilling of oil in Ghana’s Jubilee Field.
ACEP believes the decision will offer an opportunity for more independent voices to be heard on the issues that have come up so far over the deal.
Last week, IMANI Africa raised concerns about the oil find, indicating that the contractual agreements will shortchange the country by some 30 billion dollars; a claim that has been denied.
Executive Director of ACEP, Ben Boakye told Citi News that all persons interested in the issue must make their input to shape the final decision on the plan of development of the fields.
“Government has actually communicated that they cannot approve the POD which essentially means that if there are comments or there are positions that will improve on the proposals that the contractor is making, it has to be communicated before the approval of the POD. So if anybody has a position or any input to be made this is the time to do it.”
Aker Energy announced the discovery of oil in the Pecan South-1A well in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana.
Aker Energy is the operator of the field with a 50 per cent stake for which it recently submitted a U$4.4 billion plan for development to the government for approval.
But IMANI said there were delays in addressing the Plan of Development (PoD) proposal to the government and the think tank feared that the failure of the Energy Ministry to respond to the proposal in 30 days as stipulated by law would cause Ghana to lose its rights.
It said a potential $30 billion revenue from the new oil wells was at stake.
But the government said IMANI’s claims were false with the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu criticising IMANI for misinforming Ghanaians on the potential loss of $30 billion.
Gov’t puts on hold approval of PoD
The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, at a press conference last week to rebut IMANI’s claims said government could not approve Aker Energy’s PoD “in its current form” following recommendations from the Minerals Commission.
“Aker Energy submitted a Plan of Development & Operations (PoD) to the Ministry of Energy on the 28th day of March, 2019. On receipt of the PoD, the Ministry of Energy wrote to the Petroleum Commission requesting it to review the PoD and make a recommendation to the Honourable Minister of Energy. Based on a thorough study and review of the Aker Energy’s PoD, the Commission came to the conclusion that Aker Energy’s PoD cannot be approved in its present form…stating among others that Aker Energy must be made to review the PoD to comply with the necessary provisions of the law and the DWT/CTP PA.”
“The Honourable Minister, considered the Petroleum Commission’s Advisory Paper and agreed with all the reasons it gave. Subsequently, by a letter dated the 24th day of April, 2019 communicated to Aker Energy that its PoD cannot be approved in its present form further to which it was directed to review the PoD based on the reasons which were attached to the letter and submit a revised PoD within 45 days of its receipt of the letter,” the Minister added.
Also on The Big Issue, Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Hadzide said: “the matter is settled and the government says that [despite]the concerns that IMANI may have with the PoD as submitted by Aker, we are not accepting it [Aker the propsal] in that manner so [they should]make some amendments.”
A 45-day ultimatum had been given for a new proposal from Aker with new benchmarks for the company to satisfy.