Former Deputy Energy Minister, Hon K T Hammond, says Ghana must cease crude oil exports immediately to avoid being cheated further because of faulty equipment tracking the amount of crude being extracted from the Jubilee oil field.
After initially denying reports of a faulty exporting flow meter on Jubilee’s Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, the Ministry of Energy has conceded that Ghana may be losing money at the Jubilee field because there is no reliable way of measuring the exact amount of oil and gas being extracted.
In a report on Tuesday May 17, 2011, the Daily Graphic said in the absence of a working export flow meter both the Energy Ministry and the Ghana national Petroleum Corporation have been using a ruler to manually determine the amount of jubilee crude meant for export, while they wait for the arrival of a replacement, due to be installed by July.
However, Hon K T Hammond insists this is unacceptable and all exports must cease until further notice. Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday May 17, the Adansi Asokwa MP called for a temporary freeze on oil exports until the problem is fixed.
“Is it a combined effort to rip the country of its resources? I don’t understand. If we don’t follow my advise, what it means is that we’ll be putting money into the pockets of the individuals involved, the companies and whichever cabal is overseeing this terrible thievery that has been going on.
“If the devise has malfunctioned and we have to wait till July, fine. My prescription is very straight forward: Wait till July when the equipment is working, so everybody can tell how much has been pumped out. They can pump whatever is under the sea into the tank, but until that equipment is properly sorted out, I say that we should not export.
“I will be making sure that the Minister of Energy comes to Parliament to explain this state of affairs to the nation. The nation is losing; why should we be losing this much money?,” he questioned.
Industry watchers agree that the nation may be losing millions of US dollars as a result of the out of date measuring system being used on the field. Also speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Deputy Energy Minister Emmanuel Kofi Buah confirmed that Government is aware of the problem and has been working round the clock to address the issue.
He explained that although the FPSO is fitted with the latest in technological parts, the exporting flow meter was improperly calibrated, thus the decision to purchase a new one after meetings between the Ghana Standards Board, government and the Jubilee partners.