The deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has said that Aker Energy’s public announcement to relinquish its AGM South Deep Water Tano Block of Cape Three Points (SDWT/CTP), a valueless oil block they had wanted to sell to Ghana for almost US$1.65billion, is a testimony that the NDC Minority in Parliament has been vindicated.
According to him, the NDC Minority Caucus feels relieved and is happy that all the things the group warned the government about during a debate on the floor of Parliament in 2021 about the proposed sale of the Aker-AGM oil block have come to pass.
He thanked God that their insistence of getting a better deal for Ghana has paid off, noting that if the country had gone ahead to buy the oil block, it would have lost about US$1.65billion “and that would have been disastrous for our already struggling economy”.
Interacting with members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, apparently, to respond to a newspaper publication accusation the NDC Minority of being silent on the botched Aker-AGM South Deep Water Tano Block transaction and calling for a probe into their action, Hon. Buah who represents the people of Ellembelle in the Western Region said the group had never shied away from making its views known on the said deal.
He showed video evidence during the said debate to back his case.
“We warned them; we insisted; we spoke about the risk of the South Deep Water Tano block and said that first of all, the block was about 3,000 meters deep and that the technology to even develop that block does not exist. So, why will Aker who wants to make money sell that block to Ghana without proper valuation. The government said it was going to buy and we insisted that it was not of value.
Less than a year and half later, Aker has said that that block has been relinquished – basically, they’ve given up and giving it back to Ghana. Can you imagine if we had bought it? It is important we make it clear that when that transaction came, we stood on the side of the people of Ghana and we insisted that we cannot buy the South Deep Water Tano block because it was valueless. We will continue to stand up for the people of Ghana”, he noted.
During the said the debate on June 8, 2021, on the proposed Aker-AGM South Deep Water Tano oil block which the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) had expressed interest in acquiring it, Hon. Buah led the Minority Caucus to put in a spirited argument and cautioned the government about the risk in buying the said oil block.
He told the House that it would be in the best interest for the country to do proper valuation on the said oil block before taking a decision to acquire it, stressing that per the checks of the NDC, that oil block was valueless since there was no technology to develop it.
He also argued strongly on why it was so important to strengthen the Petroleum Commission to ensure that the country minimizes cost in such transactions.
“Mr. Speaker, we have to think about this. Aker bought this resource from Hess. We know they have done a lot of work but don’t let us forget that they spent US$100 million in buying the Aker part of the block. More importantly, what is the value of the asset on the ground? How has it been valuated? We don’t have [records of the] oil drillings that Hess did, about 12 drilling campaigns. We know that Aker did about five and so, Mr. Speaker, the amount that Aker said they’ve spent which is about US$800million is something that we have look into”, he posited.
He added “Another important aspect that must be looked at is the two blocs that we are putting together. We have the Aker Deep Water South Tano basin and the AGM South Deep Water Tano. We know that the first block, there are discoveries and that there are proven reserves. We know that the second block is deep water, 3,000 meters deep. The technology to even develop it is quite frankly, not available. We know that in that block there were only two drillings – one discovery and that discovery its commerciality is also questionable. Interestingly we are buying 70% of the riskiest of the blocks. These are questions that are important in these transactions that we must ask. We are here because we believe as you believe that we have to fight for the interest of the Republic”.
The GNPC backed by the government, per our checks backed off from the said transaction after persistent warnings from the NDC Minority Caucus.