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Abrogation Of ‘AKER ASA/GoG’ Oil Contract Earns Ghana Over $1bn - Ablakwah   
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Okudzeto Ablakwa
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Contrary to speculations that the Government of Ghana might have incurred some ‘financial losses’ and lost some international goodwill as a result of its decision to abrogate the Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana(GoG), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Aker ASA , Norway and Chemu Power Company Ltd(Ghana)...

...relative to the exploration of crude oil in the South Deep Water Tano Contract Area in the Western Region, a Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah has revealed that, that singular decision has earned the country “over $1 billion”.

Although it had widely been reported that the Energy Minister, Dr Oteng-Adjei after abrogating the contract, instructed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to pay off AKER ASA, whatever money they had spent on oil exploration in Ghana, the Deputy Minister was silent on that.

The Petroleum Agreement under reference was unanimously approved by Parliament on November 5, 2008.

The Deputy Minister made the revelation last Saturday on Radio Gold’s news analysis programme, Alhaji&Alhaji and further stated that it had not been “easy fighting EO, Kosmos, Exxonmobil and the oil giants”. He stated further that the President Mills- led government was committed to sanitizing the oil industry.

“We are fighting them locally without much support from the international community”, he articulated.

Throwing light on how the Aker ASA/GNPC/Chemu contract was abrogated, he stated, “look, this is a country of laws and they (Aker) were told to get the hell out of here”.

The Energy Minister, it would be recalled, in a letter dated December 30, 2009, stated that the government considered the agreement invalid. The reason given was that the agreement did not meet legal requirements that a Ghanaian company must be party to the agreement.

Interestingly, both the Majority and Minority in Parliament considered the move by the Ministry an affront to the Legislature since the Minister took that decision without recourse to the House.

The House, as already stated, ratified the agreement between the Government of Ghana on one hand and Aker ASA of Norway and their local partners, Chemu Power Company Limited for the exploration of crude oil in the South Deep Water Tano Contract Area in the Western Region in November 2008.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Osei Akoto
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Osei Akoto, said the Energy Minister erred.

He said if Dr Oteng-Adjei discovered any problems with the contract, what he needed to do was draw the attention of the Attorney-General who would go to Parliament and advise the House to review its decision.

In his opinion, Dr Oteng-Adjei had no authority to abrogate a contract ratified by Parliament. The Minister’s action, according to him, “is unconstitutional. He may force the MPs to take very extreme measures.”

A position the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka agreed with.

He explained “procedurally, if Parliament takes a decision on a matter, particularly ratifying an agreement, and later on there are lapses in that agreement, the Minister cannot arbitrarily arrogate to himself the authority to abrogate the agreement.”

“The Minister will have to come to Parliament, draw our attention to the challenges that he is encountering and then Parliament can revisit the agreement, make the necessary changes and then ratify it for the Minister to work with,” Mr Avoka added.
Source: Gordon Asare-Bediako/New Crusading Guide

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