The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says there is a general view among oil and gas players in and outside Ghana that the current managers of the country’s oil and gas are working for their personal interest against the national interest and they are worried the oil discovery could become a curse rather than a blessing.
ACEP made this known in a document titled “Public Interest Report” where it commented on Ghana gas, questionable deals and the national interest. The report also touched on how Ghana’s quest for energy security faces imminent danger.
According to the report, the lack of transparency in the activities of Ghana Gas and the failure of Government to act decisively on matters of the gas development is beginning to cast doubt in the minds of the International Oil Companies about the country’s determination to apply the gas to the benefits of the people of Ghana.
In addition, the report explains that the indecision and personal interest, which caused the protracted delays in the development of Jubilee gas, is being repeated with the development of Sankofa Gas (which is forecast to have more gas than Jubilee).
“The Sankofa JV Partners announced to Government two years ago their readiness to develop and commercialize the gas in line with the Petroleum Agreement and to date Government has not been able to make a decision for development to start,” the report stated.
The membership of the Deputy Chief of Staff (Dr Valerie Sawyer) on the Board of Ghana Gas, according to the report, is wrong.
“The Deputy Chief of Staff is part of the Presidency and should not be serving on boards of state-owned entities. It creates difficulties for the sector Minister in the supervision of Ghana Gas,” the report added.
The report recommends that there should be increased oversight at the highest level of Government on the activities of Ghana Gas, as this will promote good corporate governance and public accountability of the company that is being funded with tax payers’ money.
“Ghana Gas should be put under parliamentary scrutiny to make them more accountable,” the report adds.
“Second, Ghana Gas must be restructured. In the short to medium term, the company should be put under GNPC as its subsidiary and be supported to become an independent company in the long-term. Thus, the Board of Ghana Gas should be dissolved whilst Management is integrated into GNPC which originally had responsibility for gas commercialization in Ghana.”
ACEP concluded by reminding President Mahama of his promise during the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate in 2012, where he promised to undertake a technical audit of Ghana Gas, as this would have brought to the fore all the challenges and problems outlined above.
“The President must disclose the status of the said audit and the extent to which efforts have been made to address the problems,” the report stressed.