Address valuation and secrecy concerns raised against GNPC-Aker Energy deal – CSOs to government

A group of civil society organisations working in the extractive industry has asked government to take steps to address concerns raised against moves to increase the country’s stakes in oil blocks operated by Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana.

The group had earlier expressed worry over the valuation of the company, among others.

A member of the group, Benjamin Boakye in a Citi Business News interview stressed that “We want the issue of valuation addressed. The secrecy around where we want to even put the transaction is questionable. Ghana has been part of a group of nations that have been fighting secret jurisdictions for many years. We cannot now decide to go and lead companies to where they can hide and not pay taxes.”

“That fundamentally is problematic. I haven’t seen any nation do that, and Ghana shouldn’t be the one to spearhead that. We are now going to sit in a tax haven and invite others to join us, when we are fighting to get others to move out of that shell. Those are some fundamental problems that we do have.”

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), through its GNPC Explorco, plans to purchase a 70 percent stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited and a 37 percent stake in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited.

The Energy Ministry had earlier requested Parliament’s approval to enable the GNPC to purchase the stakes in the two entities.

Even though GNPC has already secured Cabinet approval and is seeking a $1.65 billion loan ratification from Parliament, the group comprising 15 CSOs petitioned Parliament to investigate the deal, arguing that the agreement in its current state is not in the best interest of the country.

They further called for open consultation and hearing to provide opportunities for independent expert opinions.