The minority in parliament has allegedly accused government of bloating the $7 billion OCTP Sankafa gas exploration deal between the government of Ghana and Italian oil firm ENI with an excess of $2 billion, out of which some Ghanaian government officials will cut their kickbacks.
At a press conference in Parliament on Thursday February 11, William Owuraku Aidoo, MP for Afigya Kwabre South and member of the Mines and Energy Committee of the House said government must admit it entered a bad deal so that the necessary steps can be taken to revisit the contract.
“As has been stated earlier by the communications directorate of the NPP, it does appear that the contract is bloated by between 2 and 3 billion US dollars to the disadvantage of Ghana.”
“We are estimating that government of Ghana is probably overpaying by more than 2 billion dollars. It’s the negotiation. I don’t know which negotiators went to speak on behalf of Ghana, and what interest there was. Looking at the agreement and the analysis that has been done, we believe it is too skewed against Ghana.”
The Minority wondered why the Government of Ghana would bend backwards to “sprinkle such quantum of roses in the way of ENI and Vitol.”
“In doling two billion dollars out, God knows how much somebody in government will be taking as kickback… The agreement stinks, it is a rip off and cannot be allowed,” William remarked.
“There is a clause in the original Petroleum Agreement (PA) that in case there is no agreement with the two parties, one party can walk away without any repercussion. These are hard knock businessmen who are in business for money and if they can squeeze a lot more than they have agreed previously from you, they would. We are saying that government of Ghana negotiators encapsulated under the pressure and gave them all these guarantees.”
Ghana signed a $7 billion agreement project with Italy’s largest oil company, Eni Spa for the development of the Offshore Cape Three Points ( OCTP) integrated oil and gas project which includes the combined development of the Sankofa Main, Sankofa East, Gye Nyame, Sankofa East Cenomanian and Sankofa East Campanian fields.
The former three are non-associated gas fields while the latter two are oil fields. The development of the fields started in January 2015.
The $7 billion project, being undertaken by Eni Spa, in collaboration with Vitol Energy, was to ensure the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame fields that will provide substantial gas to operate Ghana’s thermal power plants for 20 years.
Eni’s subsidiary Eni Ghana Exploration and Production is the operator of the block and holds a majority stake of 47.22% in the same. Vitol Upstream Ghana holds a 37.78% interest in the block and state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation holds a 15% interest, with an option to further increase its share by an additional 5%.
But the minority in Parliament believes Ghana is being short-changed in the agreement hence their call for a review.
Government has however rejected the minority’s claims and described them as misleading, insisting the deal is in the best interest of the country.