The deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has said that Ghana could have raked in more revenue to shore up what it is already making if the Akufo-Addo-led administration had devoted little attention to developing and consolidating the gains made in its upstream petroleum sub-sector.
He said the almost seven years of neglect as echoed by former President John Dramani Mahama means the West African nation has missed a lot of opportunities the upstream petroleum sub-sector has to offer, describing the performance of President Akufo-Addo in the sector as the worst he has ever witnessed.
According to Hon. Buah who was the Minister of Energy in Mr. Mahama’s government, greed, political interference, and underhand dealings by the government has led the petroleum sub-sector in a very frail state since a lot of investors that hitherto had invested heavily in the sub-sector, have withdrawn their investment and relocated to another country.
“The NDC left power with three active producing fields in 2017. Not one has been added to it. The NDC left power with 12 petroleum agreements. Some of them have led to new discoveries. One has to do with ENI’s discovery and the other has to do with Springfield’s discovery. The NDC left power having brought Ghana into a gas era and you will recall the game-changing project – the ENI Offshore Cape Three Points processing plant that basically has addressed the issue of cheaper fuel. All the queues for LPG are no more because we now have enough LPG for our local market”, he noted.
He added “Unfortunately for us, we are in the seventh year and the Nana Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government cannot point to one additional oil-producing field not even with the new discoveries. As we speak, there is a dispute between some of the parties. Springfield has discovered oil and ENI has also discovered oil. Springfield says its discovery straddles ENI. This calls for leadership to solve it. Unfortunately, this had dragged on for over two years. Even with the new discoveries, the NPP-led government doesn’t have the leadership skills to shepherd that into production. So, former President Mahama was right to say that the seven years in power of this Akufo-Addo administration have been wasted years in the upstream petroleum sub-sector. What is worse is that almost any serious investor in the upstream sector has left Ghana. ExxonMobil is one example. We can also talk about Aker that got the Akufo-Addo-led government to amend our laws to the disadvantage of the people of Ghana”.
Hon. Buah was addressing members of the Parliamentary Press Corps on Friday, February 10, 2023, to rebut claims by the Ministry of Energy that former President Mahama’s record in the upstream petroleum sub-sector was abysmal and shameful since none of the eleven agreements he signed to develop the sector was currently producing oil.
Mr. Mahama in a tweet accused the Akufo-Addo-led government of doing nothing to add to what his government bequeathed to them.
“Wasted years! We bequeathed to the Akufo-Addo government two new oil fields, TEN and Sankofa. Greed and ineptitude as against national interest means a sad reality of no additional production activity in our upstream oil sector in the last 7 years”, he noted in a tweet that has since gone viral.
But in a statement responding to his tweet, the Ministry of Energy said petroleum agreements in respect to Ghana’s three producing oil and gas fields were all signed under former President, John Agyekum Kufuor and inherited by the Mills-Mahama administration.
“On the other hand, under the Mahama presidency, at least 11 petroleum agreements were signed. Of these 11, none is producing oil as of today. This is a shameful record of John Mahama which he and his followers cannot justify under any circumstances”.
It further stated that in an attempt to revive petroleum activities, the Ministry has “terminated four of such John Mahama era petroleum agreements and made them available to prospective investors”.
Buah commenting further debunked assertions by the Ministry of Energy that the record of former President Mahama in the petroleum sector is shameful.
He said it was under President Mahama and his team that the FPSO Kufuor and Atta-Mills were successfully constructed and which heralded a major step in the country’s petroleum sector and currently contributing significantly to the unprecedented revenues accruing to the Akufo-Addo administration.
“It is the NDC government that brought Act 919 which transformed the sector. It is the NDC government that brought the Local Content Act that basically empowered Ghanaians in the upstream petroleum sub-sector and also established the Petroleum Commission. The NPP-led government cannot point to one additional oil-producing field not even with the new discoveries that have been made. The three already producing fields are dwindling and we need to add more reserves. So, this government is not only a failure in all the other fields but also in the upstream petroleum sector. Its performance is the worst I’ve seen”, he underscored.