Ghana’s Energy Ministry has been accused of awarding new petroleum contracts to eight foreign companies under mysterious conditions.
Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Mohammed Amin Adam said at a news conference Tuesday, that the award of the contracts lacked transparency which may breed corruption in the oil sector.
For these reasons, Dr. Adam mentioned that the administrative processes involved awarding the contracts were open to abuse, wealth seeking and corruption.
According to him, some of the companies including A-Z Petroleum, Sahara Energy fields and Heritage Oil, among others are inexperienced to execute deep water exploration as well as lacking the financial resources to operate.
Just after the conference, Dr. Adam told Joy FM’s Kwakye Afreh Nuamah that some of these companies are start-ups and do not have the capacity to engage in any oil business in the country.
Some of the companies from the Ghanaian side, he said were established between June 2013 and February 2014.
He continued, once they are start-ups “one wonders what start-ups can do with oil contracts which involve so much technical requirements; which involve so much financial requirements.”
The executive director downplayed the credibility of these companies in the oil business, saying, they are companies managing marginal fields in Nigeria “and yet in Ghana, they are the companies we’re giving contracts to.”
“If we have these companies that are being patronized in Ghana; we are just selling our oil blocs for nothing.”
In protecting the country’s oil industry from being exploited by such foreign firms, Dr. Adam counseled the government to ensure there is transparency in the award of oil contracts to promote an open market.
“We think that government must adopt an open and transparent process for awarding oil contracts in order for us to do due diligence on the companies that are coming in to explore for oil to ensure that we maximize the value of our oil resources,” he emphasized.
Communications Advisor to the Energy Ministry, Edward Bawa told Joy News that due diligence was followed in the entire processes.
The processes, he indicated involved the technical committee set up by the government, the negotiation team, Cabinet and the Parliament.
He said the Petroleum Bill has been approved by Cabinet and would be laid before Parliament when it returns from recession.
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