Emmanuel Armah- Kofi Buah,Minister of Energy and Petroleum
Following some allegations of forgery made by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum against Miura Petroleum and its Canadian partner, Gondwana Oil over how the South Block offshore West Cape Three Points was awarded, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called on Government to investigate the matter.
‘We take this allegation seriously, particularly coming from the Ministry of Energy and for the grave implications it has for Ghana’s oil and gas industry.
‘We however expect that the on-going investigations into the matter will go beyond the alleged signature forgery to cover the processes for the award of petroleum licenses, including alleged insider deal by some officials of the Ministry,’ a press statement issued by ACEP indicated.
According to ACEP, its investigation showed that there was more to the issue than what was reported by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
‘We know that the suspect for the alleged forgery is on investigation by the Ghana Police, but we also know that the Ministry of Energy was economical with the truth on the entire application for a block by Miura Petroleum and its partner. Indeed, we find the Ministry very unprofessional in the role it played by putting out a press release, which contains information contrary to the truth as established by us.’
Checking the facts
The Ministry of Energy, in a statement, noted that the applicant (Miura Petroleum) was unknown to the Ministry and that it was told that the block in question was not available.
ACEP stated that it became curious after an application for a block, which was not available was referred to the Petroleum Commission and the GNPC ‘in line with established procedure for petroleum licensing in Ghana.’
Again, ACEP indicated that the Ministry claimed in its statement that Miura Petroleum (the applicant) did not enter the GNPC data room to review seismic data on the block in contention.
‘However, we can confirm that Miura had access to the data room in response to a Data Review Letter issued to them.
Additionally, the energy think tank said the Ministry’s statement also indicated that the block in question was being processed for approval for another company but the Ministry neither provided the name of the company nor its owners.
Conflict of interest
Another senior official, a Director at the Ministry, who is facilitating for the company, is also a former worker of the company.
‘We suspect therefore that some officials of the Ministry are engaged in insider dealings with some oil companies and we are at pains to know how the Ministry can be fair to other companies when important players in the Ministry have interests. This raises serious conflict of interest situation, which must not be allowed in the country’s oil and gas industry. It is for this reason that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum must halt its internal investigations into the matter. We call on the President of the Republic to investigate the potential role of the Ministry’s officials including potential conflict of interest and the abuse of established procedure.’
ACEP said that with ‘a recent discovery in an adjacent block by Hess, it is highly probable that the block in contention has significant reserves or at best the Hess discovery straddles the block.
‘This in our opinion makes the block the juiciest one so far and our suspicion of insider dealing is not surprising.’
By Samuel Boadi
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