A COALITION of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has expressed reservations about the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) efforts to sell a portion of Ghana’s petroleum assets to PetroSA, the national oil company of South Africa, Africa Briefing’s Koku Devitor reports.
The controversy arose following a strongly-worded letter from Ghana’s Minister for Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, urging GNPC to refrain from allocating 50 percent of Ghana’s interest in Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) to PetroSA.
The Coalition of CSOs on Extractives and Good Governance, consisting of 32 local and international organisations, held a press conference on Tuesday, highlighting the potential loss of at least $150 million annually for Ghana if the transaction proceeds.
In 2021, GNPC acquired a seven percent stake in the Jubilee and TEN (Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme) oil fields by purchasing the shares previously owned by Anadarko. These shares were then held in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands under the name Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd (JOHL).
Official petroleum accounts reveal that Ghana generated an additional $290 million in oil revenue in 2022 as a result of the acquired shares.
Abdulkarim Mohammed, spokesperson for the coalition, expressed concern over GNPC’s move to sell 50 percent of the shares held in the Cayman Islands to PetroSA, calling the circumstances ‘bizarre.’ He also highlighted that GNPC Board Chairman Freddie Blay and CEO Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah unilaterally agreed to PetroSA’s preemption claim over the JOHL assets.
‘Considering that the seven percent shares have already yielded over $290 million, the purchase of 50 percent of the shares implies that PetroSA would receive a portion of the accrued benefits without paying anything for the interest,’ said Mohammed.
The CSOs expressed their support for the energy minister in his efforts to halt the transactions. They urged him to facilitate the transfer of JOHL and all its assets from the Cayman Islands and other jurisdictions to GNPC.
Additionally, the CSOs called for the immediate removal of Blay and Danquah from their positions, citing their actions as a threat to Ghana’s interests in the petroleum sector.
Partners involved in Ghana’s Jubilee field, are Tullow (operator) with a 39 percent stake, Kosmos with 38 percent, GNPC with 20 percent, and the Central Energy Fund of South Africa.