Some questions have been raised about the acquisition of some shares in Ghana’s oil fields. Issues about how companies such as EO Group and Sabre Oil & Gas managed to acquire shares in the oil stake in the country are emerging.
The companies operating as producers and explorers at various oil fields from Jubilee to the Keta Block are Tullow Oil, Kosmos Energy, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Anadarko, Sabre Oil & Gas, Afren, Hess, Eni, among others.
Civil society organisations watching the country’s emerging oil sector argue that operations in the sector look very shady and are calling for national consensus in addressing them.
The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), an NGO, says that in the Afren contract, there has been a carving of “2% stake out for another individual or company similar to the EO Group arrangement.”
The group said at a press briefing that, the 2% interest in Afren’s 70% stake in a recent acreage assignment was held in the name of one Joe Ofori, “who we are informed has been armed twisted to relinquish the interest to a third party because he is suspected to have some sympathies for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the main opposition party to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.”
Dr Steve Manteaw, Coordinator of Economic Justice Thematic Group at ISODEC tells ghanabusinessnews.com August 5, 2011 that similar arrangements were made under some acquisition deals.
“You will find in one of the paragraph that there have been allegations that in the Afren contract there has been also a carving of 2% stake for another individual or company similar to EO Group arrangement… In fact if you look in the Tullow contract too there is also Sabre,” Dr. Manteaw said.
The EO Group, owned by George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei, entered into Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with Kosmos Energy which made EO a 1.75% shareholder in the Jubilee oil fields before selling it for $305 million to British company Tullow Plc recently.
Many eyebrows were raised about EO’s stake in the oil fields. Some believed that it was a reward offered to the company who lead Kosmos to strike oil in commercial quantities in 2007 a move which former President John Kufuor’s administration was accused for facilitating.
“So this is the emerging trend and all these shares are not paid for…I can tell you for a fact that EO Group’s shares were not paid for. It is a free share and the initial offer of the shares were not paid for,” Dr Manteaw emphasized.
He cited a situation where the New-York based Hess Corporation contract came out with 4% royalty instead of 5% granted the Jubilee partners under unexplained circumstances saying “if I am a Minister, I could reduce the royalty for you in exchange for kick-backs.”
Our worse fear is that if we allow the oil industry to be politicized, we will all be losers and that is what we are trying to confront now and we cite both NPP and NDC of being guilty, Dr. Manteaw noted.
“Let’s have the ground rules so that everybody who comes into power will abide by the ground rules.”
When asked what next for the group, Dr. Manteaw told ghanabusinessnews.com that “In the coming days, we will be initiating processes towards coming out with some ground rules. We are planning a technical round-table to discuss the matter and formulate proper ground rules subjected to a public forum and campaign around it and get a national consensus.”
Ghana poured its first oil on December 15, 2010.