BOST Crude Oil Sale Gets Murkier

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Company Issues Fifth Press Statement To Sway Gullible Journalists

The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), has released its fifth press statement on the sale of the two million barrels of crude oil to BB Energy in a desperately attempt to absolved itself of any wrongdoing in the transaction.

The latest revelation in the BOST statement, is that it rather dealt with BB Energy-Lebanon and not BB Energy -London, which the BOST Managing Director, Alfred Obeng Boateng, had told The Herald during an interaction at his Dzorwulu office over the crude oil sale.

The said interaction, took place in the presence of the Head of Corporate Communications at BOST, Nathaniel Salifu Acheampong and a top officer of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

The latest statement once again, left out critical issues, it cut down on the amount of crude sold to BB Energy, it did not provide how BB Energy, was selected and whether it went through a competitive bidding process, except to say that BOST, saved Ghana over US$2.8million when it sold the crude to the firm at a discount of $2, instead of the normal $5 a barrel.

The statement also did not mention the companies BB Energy had competed with and the amounts they had offered for the crude oil earlier bought by the Kwame Awuah-Darko management and inherited by Alfred Obeng Boateng administration, to be processed by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for sale.

Furthermore, the latest statement, also failed to mention the role played by AOT Energy in the transaction; it did not address the presence of the British Petroleum (BP) in the mix and Mocoh Ghana led by one Kwame Kessie Jr.

Out of the 2 million barrels, the statement mentioned that 942,000 barrels were sold to BB Energy. It did not mention the whereabouts of the remainder.

The Herald which broke the story, has counted not less than five press statements issued by the state-owned company since the matter begun in December 2017, with each leaving many questions unanswered.

The first statement was dated December 18, 2017, to undo a teaser on the scandal, the second statement was issued by the Media Relations Manager of BOST, Nana Akua Adubea Obeng on Monday, February 26, 2018, on the day this paper, broke the story, the third statement was released and by signed by Alfred Obeng Boateng, on behalf of BOST.

The fourth statement on the scandal, was a press conference addressed by the head of Fuel Trade Department, Albert Mantey in Accra, Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

The latest statement was issued last Friday, March 16, 2018, saying the sale of 942,000 barrels of crude was to Lebanon-based oil firm, BB Energy.

The company, said it saved Ghana over US$2.8million, when it sold the crude to the firm at a discount of $2, instead of the normal $5 per barrel.

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) Executive Director, Duncan Amoah, jumped into the fray, following The Herald’s exposé.

After investigations, COPEC, insists BOST breached all the laid down procedures in the sale of the crude, including trading with an unlicensed foreign firm.

COPEC quoted 1.8million, as the quantity of barrels of crude that was sold to BB Energy.

BOST, said it only sold 942,000 barrels of Qua Ibo crude without saying what happened to the rest of the crude oil.

Friday’s statement said, the BOST Management, had the option of disposing of the product either Freight On Board (FOB) or Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) bases.

It explained, when one chooses FOB, it means the buyer will nominate the ship and pay the freight and insurance, which means the price of the products or goods, has to be lower.

This is different from the CIF, which allows the seller to pay for the freight and insurance and discharge the goods or products in the buyer’s port.

In the second option, the price of the products or goods is higher to enable the seller to take care of the freight and insurance cost.

BOST said it chose the FOB option because it has no vessel on its own, unlike most of the international traders who own ships or vessels.

“…BB Energy transaction was on FOB basis. So clearly the price will be lower than if it were CIF transaction. Hence a discount $2 per barrel is not out of place,” the statement said.

The company said, the normal discount that every trader buying the 942,000 barrels of crude in question would have asked for is $5 per barrel, but it whittled it down to $2 saving the country $3 per a barrel.

It also maintains international oil trading companies buying products either under the FOB or CIF from any country are not required to get a local licence.

“Hence BB Energy did not need to have local Ghana petroleum license to buy the crude from BOST on FOB basis,” the statement continued.

BOST said it has bought products from many countries, including Rotterdam, Singapore, USA, Angola, Dubai and Russia but it was not asked to secure local licences before trading.

Management of the company also said its decision was dictated by the fluctuation of crude prices on the international market.

BOST was dragged before a London court over the crude and in order to avoid judgment debt payment, management took the decision to sell the products.

The products were also sold to prevent any “extra cost and reputational damage both to BOST and Ghana is commendable,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, Kweku Baako, has revealed that, although BB Energy is an unlicensed company, it is curious to note that it has been operating in Ghana, as far back as January 2016.

BB Energy, he said, also wrote to the petroleum regulator, National Petroleum Authority (NPA) seeking permission to process at TOR, the crude it bought from BOST.

Baako wants public discussions on the controversy to be a ‘bit sober’, observing that the matter is not simple as the “merchants of propaganda” who are trying to push a political narrative have made it seem.

While stating that he is not an expert on oil matters, the veteran journalist, said he does not think there was a willful attempt by BOST management to cause financial loss to the state. He spoke on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme on Saturday.

 

 

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