The attention of the Minority in Parliament has been drawn to a statement issued by the Ministry of Energy, which seeks to vilify former President John Dramani Mahama and denigrate his contribution to the upstream petroleum sub-sector of the Country.
For a government that has supervised the worst era in Ghana’s oil and gas sector for almost seven years, to attempt to compare Mr. Akuffo-Addo with Mr. Mahama’s sterling performance leaves much to be desired.
Firstly, it is important to note that it was President Mahama who successfully steered Ghana into the Gas era with the completion of the biggest gas to power projects that have today eliminated the long LPG queues and given Ghana the cheap fuel needed to power our thermal plants.
Secondly, it was President Mahama and his team of advisors who took the bold and decisive action of settling the protracted Maritime boundary dispute with the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), saving the country an estimated $10 billion in petroleum assets.
This action has been widely acclaimed by industry players as a mark of a true leader who put the country’s interests first.
In his quest to transform Ghana into a major petroleum exploration and production hub for the West African sub-region, President Mahama provided a very conducive environment for potential investors by implementing well-thought-out policies with the requisite legal and regulatory framework in the upstream petroleum sector by:
1. Passing the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill (Act 919) in 2016. The new Act replaced the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984, Act 84, bringing about greater transparency and prudent management of Ghana’s oil and gas resources.
2. The Passage of the Local Content and local participation regulations LI 2204, to ensure the maximization of Ghanaian participation in the upstream sector. Today, under the Akufo-Addo Government, Ghanaians who were empowered are being hounded out of business.
3. Ensuring that Cabinet approved the Gas Master Plan in 2016, a strategic document with the objective of addressing infrastructure gaps and delivery requirements in the
3. The establishment of the Ghana National Gas Company and ensuring that the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant with a capacity of 150mmscf/d was constructed and commissioned.
4. The establishment of the Petroleum Commission as the regulator in the upstream sector. Sadly, the Petroleum Commission today has become a pale shadow of itself under Akuffo-Addo and Bawumia NPP government.
The prudent policies implemented under the Mahama-led government resulted in investor confidence in the upstream sector soaring, with the attraction of huge investments such as the signing of the Springfield and the second ENI petroleum agreements, which resulted in major oil discoveries for the country.
Unlike the current Akufo-Addo led NPP government, President Mahama, and his solid team, through hard work, successfully saw to the construction of the FPSO Kuffuor and Atta-Mills, and this signalled a major step in the petroleum sector and currently contributing significantly to the unprecedented revenues accruing to the current Akuffo-Addo government.
A responsible government would have worked hard to consolidate the gains chalked by the Mahama administration on the existing petroleum agreements, but as usual and as expected of them, the Akuffo-Addo led Government resorted to unnecessary political interference by varying some of the agreements to the detriment of the nation.
The management of the petroleum sector under this non-performing and incompetent government has not only been appalling but has been characterised by duplicity, underhand dealings, and a high level of opacity.
The government’s inability to demonstrate effective leadership in the petroleum sector has led to the unfortunate decision by Eni to resort to an arbitration process at the International Court of Arbitration against the Government of Ghana.
This regrettable situation has led to Ghana being viewed as a hostile investor destination and has given Ghana a bad image in the investor community.
The unnecessary political interference and underhand dealings under this government has led to investor appetite waning in Ghana’s petroleum industry.
Ghanaians will recall that the Minority in Parliament cautioned the Akuffo-Addo led Government on the ExxonMobil and Aker deals when they embarked on a very reckless path of renegotiating the existing terms of the agreements without following due process.
The result of this rather bad decision by the intransigent Akuffo-Addo and Bawumia Government is a complete failure in the implementation of the two Petroleum Agreements with ExxonMobil painfully announcing its decision to exit the country’s upstream petroleum sector in 2021.
The Aker deal has equally turned into a fiasco, with Government officials engaged in PR gimmicks on the botched deal.
Interestingly, the much-touted licensing round launched under President Akuffo-Addo in 2018, which government officials heralded as the beginning of a transparent licensing regime, has turned out to be a complete and monumental failure with the same Government engaging in parallel direct negotiation processes with other oil companies.
This conduct ultimately discouraged participation in the competitive processes as expected.
Rather than developing the obsession of always launching scathing attacks on the person of President Mahama, the Government and, for that matter the Ministry of Energy should rather use the opportunity to inform Ghanaians of what has become of their failed promise to achieve the target of 500bpd of oil.
It is an incontrovertible fact that President John Mahama laid a solid foundation in the upstream petroleum sector, with a clear vision narrowing into a promising future.
On the contrary, the Akuffo-Addo and Bawumia led government, having added no value to the sector, will go down in history as the worst Government as far as the petroleum sub-sector is concerned.
We wish to advise President Akufo-Addo and his Minister of Energy, to rather concentrate their energies towards redeeming the sinking image of the country in the eyes of the international community, rescue the petroleum sector from imminent collapse and desist from the unnecessary pedestrian attacks on President Mahama in a desperate attempt to tarnish his image.
Hon. John Abdulai Jinapor
(Ranking Member, Mines and Energy Committee)