By the end of January 2022, a few days away, the five year mandate of the overaged CEO of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Kofi Koduah Sarpong will come to an end. This has created the biggest dilemma for the Akufo-Addo family; whether to renew his mandate for another five years or grant a short term stay for Dr. Sarpong to attend to important unfinished businesses on behalf of the family.
The oil industry through the national oil company is a crucial component of the grand scheme to establish the Akufo-Addo family as the most resourced in the country. One insider puts it, “they want to be the Rockefellers of Ghana. Banking, oil and gas and insurance are the key sectors of focus”, and they are so far on course.
In the oil industry, KK Sarpong has been instrumental in the past five years, supporting the family in the supply of fuel to the power sector in the downstream business.
He is also deeply involved in the procurement of LNG to compete with Ghana’s gas fields, a deal which industry estimates will cost Ghana between $200-300 million annually on excess gas. Beyond that, oil companies in the country are being forced to cut gas production to accommodate some of the LNG.
The family expected KK to complete the LNG transaction before his contract expires this month. But he was unable to due to delays in raising the needed bank guarantee by Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister who is struggling to keep his fiscals right with a debt distressed situation.
Another transaction outstanding is Aker Energy’s $1.3 billion sale of interest to GNPC. This transaction created some initial division among the family. Gabby experienced his first setback in the family by failing to get the support of the Finance Minister in August 2021.
However he managed to get things sorted out. The finance minister attempted to smuggle the deal through the 2022 budget, but the opposition spotted it and demanded it expunged from the budget.
The recent addition to the many deals is the acquisition of 7% interest in Jubilee and TEN oil fields. The family managed to get KK and embattled Board chair to drink from the same cup https://theheraldghana.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/GNPC-7-percent-acquisition_final-1.pdf and become the front men in the Cayman Island for the deal. Our source recounts vividly the meeting between the family and KK that put the cards on the table.
KK is using this transaction to cement his extension bid with Gabby Otchere Darko in his corner. Others want him to finish executing the transactions before he exits. For KK the options are two; an extension of his tenure or appointment of his anointed man to succeed him.
The GNPC boss is betting on the appointment of Benjamin Acolatse, the current Deputy CEO in charge of Finance and Administration. It appears his long time preferred candidate, Joseph Dadzie, Deputy in charge of strategy, is struggling to win over the family and falling through the cracks of the Aker transaction he led albeit abysmally.
Interestingly, Opoku Danquah, Deputy in charge of Technical operations, is not a deal maker Gabby wants. But he is making frantic efforts to convince Gabby that he can still be reliable in pursuing their interest including that of the Akufo-Addo family. If he succeeds, he is likely to dribble Benjamin Acolatse to the position.
These dynamics throw up significant concerns about any hope of fixing the energy sector problems with the continuous clustering of dealmakers in the arena. A situation that leaves the industry frustrated, “particularly in the hands of a ranting and technically inept Energy Minister and chief dealmaker”, according to someone close to the situation.
The Energy Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh who almost created diplomatic tension between Ghana and the United States on the sale of Occidental’s interest in Jubilee and TEN, is now creaming off the deal in connection with the Akufo-Addo family offshore Cayman Island.
The Herald reported in October how the Energy Minister disobeyed the directives of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to approve the transaction for Kosmos to douse the fury of the White House in the matter.
At the time, Ghana was waiting to get the US to donate about a million COVID vaccines for “Addo show boy” to whip up hope in his promise to acquire 20 million doses of vaccine for the Ghanaian people, only for his government to engage in the fraudulent Sputnik V deal.
Napo survived that episode by the skin of his teeth when he failed to attend the midnight meeting of the family and KK Sarpong in the approval of Kosmos transaction.
This situation creates a thick cloud over the oil and gas sector. Investors are worried about uncertainties in the sector with no end foreseeable.