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Dark clouds over Tano oil block

energyGovernment is trying to work its way through Parliament to approve a new crude oil exploration deal between AGM Petroleum and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) at the South Deep Water Tano Block offshore Ghana.

The block was initially allocated to Aker ASA, a Norwegian company and its partner, Chemu Power Company Limited, for oil exploration and probable production by the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.

However, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration took office in 2009, it quickly altered the agreement and snatched the deal from the Norwegian compnay.

Dr. Oteng Adjei, the then Energy Minister, is reported to have written to Aker ASA and annulled the deal which was ratified by Parliament in 2008.

As a result, goverment had to raise taxpayers’ money to the tune of $29million to compensate Aker ASA.

It is not known why government decided to make such a U-turn on the initial agreement.

John Akparibo Ndebugri, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla, has sent the case to the Supreme Court to determine the legitimacy of the contract between AGM Petroleum Limited and GNPC.

Mr. Ndebugri is challenging the termination of the agreement since it had previously been ratified by Parliament.

Key respondents to feature in the case are the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Aker ASA and Chemu Power Company Limited.

Describing the deal between AGM Petroleum Limited and GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited as contemptuous of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ndebugri additionally accused the Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and the Clerk of Parliament of contempt and intends to summon both men before the Supreme Court.

He is seeking an interim injunction at the Supreme Court to restrain the Energy Minister from laying a new agreement between GNPC and AMP Petroleum over oil exploration in the Deep South Tano block before Parliament.

According to Ndebugri, the injunction application was duly served on the minister and the Clerk of Parliament with the former filing an affidavit in opposition to the interlocutory injunction.

But in spite of that, Deputy Energy Minister, John Jinapor on Tuesday laid the AGM Petroleum /GNPC agreement before Parliament on behalf of his boss.

According to Ndebugri, he filed the writ to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to clarify the matter for all Ghanaians.

Also, he wants to know whether or not a minister of state has the power to annul a contract or agreement, which has been approved by Parliament.

Ndebugri believes the conduct of the Energy Ministry and Parliament is illegal and due process must be followed to reverse the action.

But John Jinapor stated that he was unaware of any attempt to place an injunction on the laying of the new agreement.

Source: Daily Guide

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