Minority challenges gov’t’ on developments in oil sector

Former Energy Minister, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah

The former Energy Minister, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has said the previous administration witnessed the drilling of 38 oil wells, with an investment of over $2.2 billion, between 2013 to 2016, contrary to the government’s position on the development of upstream petroleum sector.

The records, which he attributed to the Petroleum Commission (PC), he said, “should tell you a lot about the active participation of the major oil companies, and how active our oil basins were.”

He said within the same period, some 23 discoveries were made, noting that it was as a result of the activeness of the oil basin at the time.

The comments by Mr. Kofi Buah, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Ellembelle constituency, in the Western Region, was in a sharp rebuttal to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s remarks on the upstream oil sector, when he addressed Ghanaians on the state of the Nation.

Speaking in Parliament in reaction to the President’s comments that not a single oil well was drilled during the “opaque period” of 2013 to 2016 which saw the signature of thirteen petroleum agreements, from which fourteen wells were to be drilled, he insisted that a lot of efforts were made by the previous government to increase Ghana’s oil production before leaving office.

He said for example that by the time the NDC government left office they had brought three major production vessels, being FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, FPSO Kuffour, and FPSO Atta-Mills, to boost the country’s oil production capacity.

“That is why the NDC left three major producing fields, TEN, Sankofa, and Jubilee, and it takes a lot to make sure you go through the process and produce,” he stated.

The Minority Member of Parliament, therefore, noted that the claims by the President on the development of the upstream petroleum sector were factually inaccurate.

He said the projected revenue, by the Petroleum Commission (PC), by the end of the term of the current government will amount to GH₵20.6 billion. Meanwhile, he noted that the whole period of the previous government realised GH₵ 6 billion because all efforts were being made to ramp up the country’s oil reserve.

He said it was the previous administration that instituted and put in place the necessary regulatory bodies and act to support the operations of the oil industry. “The passage of the local content LI was all done by the NDC government” to ensure that Ghanaians were active participants in the oil industry.

He said the Petroleum Commission has stated that because of the passage of the local content LI, $1.2 billion of contracts have been given to indigenous Ghanaians, $5.7 billion of contracts have gone to Ghanaians and foreigners as joint ventures.

However, he stated that all this progress is being derailed by the activities of the current government citing the amendment of the ‘Aker Energy’s agreement.’

“What that amendment sought to do was to weaken the powers of the regulator, the Petroleum Commission,” while also weakening the participation of Ghanaians in the upstream industry and on the contrary strengthen foreigners.

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