Disagreement rocks film on oil, gas

A dispute is brewing over a documentary on Ghana’s oil find which was premiered in Accra last Wednesday night.

The documentary captures the behind-the-scenes stories on boardroom discussions and how Texas-based oil exploration companies allegedly exploited Ghana and Nigeria’s oil resources. 

The 99-minute documentary highlighted the lessons learnt from Nigeria, which is widely seen as being the victim of a resource curse.

The documentary, titled Big Men, features Brad Pitt, a Hollywood movie actor allegely exploring greed in West African oil exploration, specifically Ghana and Nigeria. 

Premiered to a selected audience, the documentary levels allegations against the Kufuor administration, under whose tenure oil was struck in Ghana in 2007.

The documentary suggests that Ghana gave a “sweet deal” to Kosmos, the company behind the oil find.

After the premiere, Dr Joe Oteng-Agyei, a former Minister of Energy in the Mills administration, described the piece as a propaganda tool for Kosmos. 

In the documentary, he is heard to have said, “The previous government was nice to the oil company. Certain things will have to change.’

He accused Mr David Ampofo of Time with David fame after the premiere of being the propaganda machine for Kosmos.

 Mr Ampofo is said to have not taken kindly to the allegation and demanded an immediate withdrawal and apology.

In a reaction, he said he was contracted to do a job that he did to the best of his ability.

He added that the former Minister of Energy had no right to label him and his work as propaganda.

Mr Kwesi Pratt Jnr, who was also captured in the documentary, is said to have attacked the credibility of the panel constituted to discuss the documentary.

Mr Pratt Jnr is said to have asked why Mr Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana and the head of the civil society group, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, should be on the panel to discuss the documentary. 

He accused the two men of championing an agenda against some personalities in the country.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on his views about the documentary, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, a Minister of Energy in former President Kufuor’s regime, said, ‘The story has to be told.’

He said it was a good effort by the producers, as well as a good start in documenting the genesis of the country’s oil find.

However, he said the exact story needed to be told.

Another person who supported the documentary is the Executive Director of the ACEP, Dr Amin Adam, who said there were good lessons in the documentary that Ghana could learn in order to benefit from its oil find.

Describing the propaganda allegations against the entire documentary as unfair, he said the facts in the documentary did not support that allegation.

Explaining, he said given the financial risk Kosmos took by investing large sums of money in the oil exploration processes, the deal it got under the Kufuor administration was largely fair.

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