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News Review

Weekly News Reviews 12-16 February

  • POSTED ON: February 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

below are the news stories which made headlines for the week

Atuguba cautions Parliament over Ghana-ExxonMobil oil deal According to,a Professor of Law at the University of Ghana Law Faculty, Raymond Atuguba, warned that Ghana could be shortchanged in the ExxonMobil Petroleum Agreement if Parliament goes ahead to ratify it without recourse to due diligence. He argued that, Parliament has not been thoroughly effective in carrying out its oversight responsibilities, hence the need to critically examine the agreement. Professor Raymond Atuguba raised this concern in a presentation christened, “The Ghana-ExxonMobil Petroleum Agreement, a legal and political economic analysis.”This was at a two-day workshop on the Ghana-ExxonMobil Petroleum Agreement sponsored by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), in partnership with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), at Akosombo in the Eastern Region. In the same workshop, Prof. Raymond Atuguba, questioned the constitutionality of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, 2016 (Act 919) which gave rise to the multi-billion-dollar contract recently signed between government and Exxonmobil. According to Prof. Atuguba, the 1992 constitution vests the management of the petroleum resources in “a commission” and not the

Petroleum Minister as stipulated in the E&P Act.He said, clearly, the Petroleum Commission, and not the Energy Minister, should be responsible for the management of petroleum resources, and not the sweeping discretionary powers given the Energy Minister under the E&P law.

Also, Tullow Oil posted a loss after tax of 189 million dollars for 2017.This was at least the second time in a row that the oil company has posted a loss after tax. For 2017, Tullow’s loss after tax amounted to 189 million dollars, this is an improvement of about 408 million dollars or 68 percent compared to the 2016 figure of 597 million dollars. The oil company’s revenue for last year also reached 1.72 billion dollars; up from the 1.27 billion dollars recorded in the preceding year.This means that Tullow’s revenue from its production went up by 453 million dollars or 36 percent between 2016 and 2017.Even though Tullow recorded a loss of 755 million dollars in 2016, it managed to accrue some profits of about 22 million dollars last year. Commenting on the company’s performance for last year, the Executive Vice President for West Africa, Gary Thompson, said,“Tullow’s West African operations remain at the core of Tullow. In 2017, West Africa delivered over 89,000 bopd of high-margin, low-cost oil and in 2018 we will invest in Ghana to sustain this impressive performance over the coming years.

Still with Tullow, the company expects the drillship Maersk Venturer to start development drilling later this month on the deepwater TEN and Jubilee fields offshore Ghana. A statement issued by Tullow announced the appointment of Mr. Kweku Awotwi as its new Managing Director, effective March 1, 2018.The former Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA) replaces Tullow Ghana MD Charles Darku who retires at the end of April this year after almost five years at the helm.

The Gold street Business paper reported a pilot project by GE Power and Marinus Energy to capture Isopentane gas as a feedstock for generating electricity. Also, GBC Ghana cited Ghana Gas to end flaring of ISOPENTANE. This was following the cessation of the flaring and venting of an essential gas by-product Isopentane. The Gas Plant had resorted to flaring the derivative against Ghana’s no gas flaring policy only after several attempts to sell it off proved vain. Quite recently, the government of Ghana through the Ghana Gas Company entered into an agreement with ENI to commercialize the gas derivative to assist the downstream petrochemical industry and to channel isopentane as fertilizer feedstock to aid the agro-chemical industry. In other news, A Policy Analyst, Dr. Steve Manteaw, said the discretionary powers given to the Minister for Energy not to enter into a Petroleum Agreement after a bidding round, exposed the minister to corruption. He observed such allocated powers to the minister place him as a target for investors seeking opportunities in the upstream petroleum sector.

Early this week, the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia reiterated government’s resolve to deal forcefully and decisively with the issue of illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum products by sea into Ghana. Government, he said, is in the process of formulating policies aimed at nipping the situation in the bud once and for all.Dr. Bawumia gave the assurance when he paid a working visit to the Western Naval Command at Sekondi on Thursday February 15, 2018.

Deputy Minister of Energy, responsible for Petroleum, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, has disclosed that government has decided to pursue an Aggressive Exploration Campaign in a bid to safeguard reserves and sustain production in the upstream oil and gas sector. Speaking to journalists at the launch of the Petroleum Register, he said: “Coming into government we realized that we were faced with a future that will not see the sustainability of the oil and gas industry because we are not making new discoveries yet we are producing from the reserves that we have made some time ago, which means that, we are depleting these reserves without replacing them.

On the Special Petroleum Tax, the Akufo-Addo-led government initiated a two per cent reduction in the Special Petroleum Tax. Parliament on Thursday, 15 February 2018, passed the Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill to reduce the tax from 15 per cent to 13 per cent.

Gideon Ofosu-Peasah

Gideon Ofosu-Peasah

Policy Analyst at Penplusbytes
Gideon Ofosu-Peasah is the Policy Analyst and Team Lead for the Extractives Department at Penplusbytes, where he provides insights, advice and leads in producing robust research backed projects for the team. He has over 7 years of experience in the Ghanaian oil and gas industry and has a number of scholarly research papers to his credit which have been published in the prestigious Social Science Research Network(SSRN) electronic journal and on He holds an Msc in Economics with specialization in Energy and Natural Resource Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Gideon Ofosu-Peasah

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