Ghana Politics

Minority worried over possible $7 billion judgement debt in energy sector

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John Abdulai Jinapor

The Minority in Parliament is worried Ghana could be facing a $7 billion judgement debt over the protracted impasse between ENI/Vitol and Springfield Ghana, which was occasioned from a directive by then Minister of Energy, Mr. John Peter Amewu, instructing the two parties to execute a Unitisation and Unit Operating Agreement (UUOA) at the Sankofa and Afina fields.

ENI/Vitol has since challenged the decision of the Minister insisting that the decision was premature and did not meet industry standards leading to a stalemate in the implementation of the directive.

The Minority in a statement signed by Ranking member on Mines and Energy, John Jinapor said the current impasse has also led to a bitter legal dispute resulting in a Ghanaian court order directing ENI/Vitol to deposit 30% of its monthly revenue into an escrow account pending unitisation.

“We are also aware that ENI/Vitol has commenced legal action in the International Court of Arbitration seeking damages of about $7 billion against the Government of Ghana,” the statement said.

The Minority said they are concerned about the increasing negative impact this avoidable dispute is creating in the upstream petroleum sector especially its implications for attracting giant oil players to invest in Ghana; bearing in mind that ENI is considered the 4th largest oil producer in the world.

The Minority claims the Unitisation process has been so poorly managed that Ghana’s reputation has been hugely tainted in the oil and gas sector.

“Indeed, since assuming office in 2017, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia led Government has not successfully executed a single block agreement, neither has any new oil field been brought into production,” the statement noted.

The Minority, therefore, called on the Government and President Akufo-Addo in particular to, as a matter of urgency, intervene in this matter and help find an amicable solution to the impasse, before the $7 billion judgement debt matures into a pain on the neck of the already burdened Ghanaian taxpayer.

It said the three producing fields bequeathed to this government by the NDC will be depleted in the nest 10-15 years and requires urgent steps to increase Ghana’s reserves.

The Minority expressed hope that the President will listen to this caution and take the appropriate steps to save the Ghanaian taxpayer $7billion.

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