Thursday, 25 January 2018

Energy experts caution gov’t against ExxonMobil

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

Oil industry analysts want authorities to enforce Ghana’s local content policies as new entrants join Ghana’s oil exploration industry.

The call by the analyst follow the commencement of operations of ExxonMobil in Ghana which has signed an agreement with the government last week, Thursday, January 18, 2018.

They tasked the industry regulatory and supervisory to work to avert some mistakes made in previous oil agreements.

The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has urged that government sanctions all oil companies that fail to comply with the countries laws guiding oil exploration and production in the country.

The Executive Director of ACEP Benjamin Boakye wants companies that are not obeying the laws on local content and exploration and production to investigated and dealt with accordingly.

He does not believe why should the companies flouting the laws of the country on exploration and local content be given extension of their contract.

“And how that happens, we have to continue to interrogate whether the politicians are behind them and just giving them the extension even though they are not performing, we have to continue to interrogate that to ensure that the country’s interest is rather served than that of the politicians,” Mr Boakye noted.

Also, the Executive Director of KITE, Ishmael Egyekumhene described as good indication for future investments, the coming on board of Exxon Mobil.

“Compelling oil companies to comply with the country’s local content policies will help retain enough revenue in the system.

“Anybody signing a petroleum agreement will have to have that at the back of their minds…We have targets as to how many Ghanaians should be employed, we have targets as to where they can source various products. These are all clearly spelt out in our local content policy. So unlike ten years ago, we are in a position where we seem to know what we like and what we expects for us so I expect them to go strictly by our local content policy,” he stated.

In this regard, the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko has indicated that his outfit will subject all oil blocks contract to competitive bidding to give value for money.

“…Implement open and transparent public competitive tender processes in the award of petroleum blocks, it is our target that this year we conduct the first bidding grounds for the award of exploration introduction rights to successful companies.”

But, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. K.K Sarpong says, his company, is looking forward to partner other oil giants like the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Aker Solutions (a Norwegian oil services company) as it did with ExxonMobil.

This he said will ensure GNPC achieve its dream of becoming a technical operator in the oil sector in the near future.

“Well, I’m looking at China National Petroleum Company, a big one. I’m looking at Aker in Norway where you get a very good standard ethical behaviour, and they are all lined up and very soon we will be announcing them”, he said.

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and ExxonMobil today, January 18 signed a deal to acquire exploration and production rights for the Deep Water Cape Three Points (DWCTP) block.

Exploration activities, including acquisition of seismic data and analysis are expected to commence later this year.

The Deep Water Cape Three Points block located 57 miles (92 kilometres) off the coast of Ghana measures approximately 366,000 acres (1482 square kilometres) in water depths ranging from 5,085 feet to 9,350 feet (1,550 metres to 2,850 metres).

Speaking to the media after the event, Dr. K.K Sarpong said his outfit is privileged to work with oil giant, ExxonMobil as they learn from their industry leader.

He said, “Upstream extraction of petroleum hydrocarbons is a very technical venture, not all companies have it. You need experience, well-exposed people with money to come in and in this particular instance you are dealing with the world leader, the best comes from ExxonMobil and to even attract them to this country is a significant step”.

He further indicated that GNPC certainly will take advantage of the situation and the opportunity they have working with ExxonMobil to make sure the company enjoys the benefits that come with the partnership.

“I must add that at GNPC, we are driving ourselves to become a technical operator in the near future and it’s important that we partner with those who have what it takes to bring the oil out so that in the process we can learn and also be in that situation where we can operate,” he added.

ExxonMobil as operator, holds 80% interest of the exploration agreement whiles GNPC holds 15%.

An indigenous Ghanaian company with 5% interest is expected to get signed onto the agreement before it is ratified by parliament for implementation.