..Says he won’t resign over PetroSA deal
Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and former chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, has brushed aside the accusations and demands by some 29 Civil Society Organisations calling for his resignation.
This comes after the GNPC’s intention to sell a 50percent stake in Jubilee Holdings Limited (JOHL) to PetroSA.
But Mr Blay has stated that he had done nothing wrong in the deal to warrant his resignation.
In an interview on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, he insisted that he has a clear conscience regarding the sale of the shares and will only resign if the president, who appointed him, no longer wants to work with him.
“Possibly, I could be fired, but I don’t see any reason why they are saying I should resign about this issue. I have done nothing wrong. I have observed my conscience and I thought I was protecting the interest of the country, and I am convinced about it and if others think otherwise and if those who appointed me are saying otherwise, then so be it.”
The Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, had written to the President complaining that “the Chairman of the GNPC Board, in the letter under reference, is inviting PetroSA to preempt the 7% interest that was recently acquired by the Government of Ghana from Anadarko West Cape Three Points Company (“Anadarko”) and proposing an equal split of the Deep Water Tano (“DWT”) portion which would decrease the Government’s interest”.
“We wish to bring this action of the Chairman, which is in direct contravention of the Government of Ghana’s express directives on the subject matter, to the urgent attention of His Excellency the President”, a letter dated 16th May 2023 and addressed to the President had insisted.
It explained how the asset came to Ghana saying “His Excellency the President will recall that Anadarko, a partner in the West Cape Three Points (“WCTP”) and the DWT Petroleum Agreements (“PAs”) and the Jubilee and TEN fields triggered the requirements for Government’s consent to a transaction in which Anadarko proposed to sell its entire interests in the DWT and WCTP PAs to Kosmos Energy Holdings Limited (“Kosmos”). After a series of negotiations and a Settlement. Agreement reached with the Ghana Revenue Authority (“GRA”), the Government negotiated with Anadarko that Kosmos could acquire the said stake on condition that the State will purchase 7% of the stake worth about US$164.8 million. On this basis, the Government of Ghana granted its consent to the transaction. The Ministry of Energy wrote to the Ministry of Finance (“MoF”) on 29th September, 21121 to utilize part of the negotiated tax settlement of $170m to support GNPC to acquire the interest which Anadarko had carved-out in the offshore entity Jubilee Oil Holding Limited (JOHL) in Cayman Islands. The Minister on the same date directed the GNPC to transfer the interest in JOHL to Explorco as a requirement of law. It is noted that the acquisition by the State was done with His Excellency’s prior approval on 22nd July, 2021”.
He also revealed that he has had conversations with President Akufo-Addo regarding the issue.
“I have spoken to the president about it, and we haven’t gotten to where he will ask for his job back. It is not about convincing the president, the law will speak for itself and the law will talk and there are few documents on the agreement.”
He further clarified that he has no bad blood with the Energy Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh as reported by a section of the media.
“I don’t think we [he and Mr. Prempeh] have any differences that are so serious that they are detrimental to the interest of Ghana. You know, NAPO has strong opinions, and I am also a little determined when I am talking about anything that I know of. We met today and we exchanged ideas brightly.”
During a press conference yesterday, the 29 CSOs demanded the removal of the GNPC’s Chief Executive Officer, Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, and Board Chairman, Freddie Blay.
The CSOs alleged that Mr Blay, in his capacity as the GNPC Board Chairman, had written to PetroSA, offering an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary, Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd.
The 29 Civil Society Organisations yesterday demanded the immediate removal of GNPC’s Chief Executive Officer, Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, and Board Chairman, Freddie Blay.
The CSOs made up of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC), Imani Centre for Policy and Education and 25 others accuse the two men of working against the interest of the state.
The demand for their removal comes in the wake of GNPC’s intention to sell a 50% stake in Jubilee Holdings Limited (JOHL) to PetroSA, despite the substantial revenue potential this interest holds for the state.
Addressing the press yesterday, the Coordinator for the coalition, Abdul Karim Mohammed said the continuous presence of these individuals, closely associated with petroleum operations, poses significant risks to Ghana’s interests.
Mr Mohammed explained that the Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh is against a decision by the Board Chairman of GNPC, Mr Blay for offering interest in Ghana’s oil fields to a South African oil company, Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA).
Mr Blay in his capacity as the GNPC Board Chairman is said to have written to PetroSA offering it an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd.
“It is a viable field, and it is giving us a lot of money if we allow this to go forward. What it means is that PetroSa will be entitled to 50 percent of the earnings from the field, whereas they have not had any role in developing the field to the point where it is now viable.
“The information we have is that the Minister for Energy has objected to this transaction but the Chairman of GNPC Board is pushing this transaction to the extent that the Minister of Energy had written to the Jubilee House over this transaction.”