Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Defunct Saltpond Oilfield now a liability to country – PIAC

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been called to expedite processes to decommission the beleaguered Saltpond Oil Production Company Limited which has become a liability on the nation’s scarce resource.

Petroleum sector stakeholders have expressed worried over the lack of willingness to completely decommission the unproductive oilfield which is now draining the country’s coffers.

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC)is alarmed at how the nonfunctioning oilfield is still draining the nation’s meager oil resources and impeding other investments.

The call to decommission the Saltpond oilfield was part of previous recommendations by PIAC in their reports.

According to PIAC, there is the need to speed up the process of ceasing operations on the oilfields to save the national purse.

For instance, for last year (2017) alone, GNPC spent US$170,539.83  on the oilfield which virtually yields no resource.

Currently, a Project Management Consultant, PAP Energy Limited has been contracted for Phase 1 of the Saltpond Field Decommissioning Project.

Another concern raised by PIAC is the delay in the passage of the regulations to guide the implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).

Though the Ministry of Finance says it has completed the regulations, it is yet to be laid before Parliament for deliberation and subsequent passage.

A further delay is said to be impacting on the determination of how communities impacted by petroleum activities can access compensation as stated in Section 24 (3) of the PRMA.

The section states that, “Where petroleum operations affect a community, appropriate compensation shall be paid for the benefit of the community in accordance with the relevant laws.”

Other issues borders on the GRA’s inability to track the US$ 67,400  in income taxes from Stone/Oranto energy since February 2013.

Meanwhile PIAC has noted adverse claims being made by the Togolese authorities concerning its maritime boundary with Ghana in respect of the East Keta Ultra Deep Block and urges Government to initiate urgent steps to delineate Ghana’s maritime border with Togo.

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