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GRA chases 8 oil companies for defaulting Surface Rentals payment

  • SOURCE: thebftonline.com | Editor
    • POSTED ON: October 13, 2022
    • CATEGORY:

    The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)
    is in pursuit of some eight international oil companies (IOCs) to recover
    outstanding Surface Rentals payments owed the country, which for the 2022
    half-year alone total US$2.7million.

    This is out of an estimated
    US$3.4million Surface Rentals payment expected to have been received in the
    period under review.

    The Total receipt of Surface
    Rentals (Acreage Fees) from nine of 14 companies was US$687,759 in the
    half-year of 2022 as compared to US$697,978 for the same period in 2021,
    representing a 1.46 percent decline.

    Total estimated Surface Rentals
    from all 14 existing Petroleum Agreements (PAs) for 2022 amounted to
    US$882,655. Added to the outstanding US$2.57million in Surface Rentals from
    both existing and terminated PAs as at end of 2021, the total Surface Rentals
    receivable in 2022 is estimated at US$3.46million.

    Of this figure, an amount of
    US$687,759 has been paid in the 2022 half-year, resulting in a total
    outstanding balance of US$2.77million.

    The total outstanding balance is
    made up of US$970,942 in respect of existing PAs and US$1.8million in respect
    of terminated PAs, according to the Public Interest and Accountability
    Committee (PIAC) in its 2022 Semi-Annual Report.

    The Committee said: “Among
    operators of the terminated PAs, only Sahara Energy Fields Ghana showed
    commitment in H1 2022 to pay its outstanding Surface Rentals in respect of the
    Shallow Water Cape Three Points Block. Out of a total outstanding Surface
    Rentals of US$146,935, Sahara Energy Fields Ghana paid US$71,935 in H1 2022;
    leaving an outstanding balance of US$75,000.”

    In the case of three other
    terminated Pas – that is Onshore/Offshore Keta Delta Block operated by Swiss
    African Oil Company Limited; Southwest Saltpond Block operated by Britannia–U;
    and Offshore Cape Three Points South operated by UB Resources Ltd. – the
    outstanding post-termination Surface Rentals, receivable as at the end of
    December 2021, being some US$862,500; US$760,209; and US$105,416 respectively,
    remain unpaid as of June 2022.

    This brings the cumulative
    outstanding balance receivable from operators of all four terminated PAs to
    US$1.8million, representing 65 percent of the total outstanding Surface Rentals
    balance of about US$2.7million.

    But unlike the terminated PAs,
    PIAC noted that “six operators of the 14 existing PAs have paid all outstanding
    Surface Rentals due Ghana”.

    They include AGM Petroleum
    Limited, Aker Energy Limited, Eni Ghana Exploration & Production Limited,
    Tullow Ghana Limited and GOIL Offshore.

    The others are Eco Atlantic,
    Springfield Exploration and Production Limited, Medea Development, Base Energy
    Ghana Limited, and OPCO Offshore; while Amni Ghana overpaid Surface Rentals for
    the Central Tano Block by over US$636.

    It is with these developments
    that the GRA says it has embarked on a vigorous drive to recover all
    outstanding payments in respect of Surface Rentals. This is also against the
    backdrop of the Petroleum Revenue Management Regulations’ (PRMR), 2019 (L.I
    2381) passage.

    It is understood that ‘Demand
    Notices’ have been issued to the eight defaulting companies, requesting the
    immediate payment of all arrears and associated penalties from the commencement
    of their Petroleum Agreements (PAs).

    Also, PIAC’s report noted that
    the Compliance, Enforcement and Debt Management (CEDM) Unit of GRA has issued
    garnishee orders on some defaulters, and is in discussion with others.

    Meanwhile, according to GRA,
    efforts have been intensified to pursue the operators of terminated PAs for
    payment of their liabilities.

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