The Energy Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has assured that GNPC has the necessary financial backing and technical competence to acquire stakes and serve as an operator company in the Aker Energy/AGM bloc.
This was in response to concerns raised by LUKOIL, a partner to the Aker Energy/AGM bloc that it is not privy to discussions and decisions on the sale of the stake and change in operatorship of the bloc.
According to LUKOIL, in a letter to the Minister, despite its stake as a partner in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana, with a 38 per cent License Interest and a 42.22 per cent Participating Interest, it has not been privy to the proposed transaction.
Furthermore, LUKOIL, the second-largest shareholder, also highlighted that it believes the proposals of its partners to sell portions of their stake and change the operatorship of the bloc, has the potential to create significant risks for the project execution and schedule.
As a partner, LUKOIL is of the view that it shall be directly involved in the discussion with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the development of the bloc to guard its interest and those of the other partners.
The spirit of the letter addressed to both the Minister of Energy and Finance seems to suggest that, LUKOIL is in doubt over whether GNPC has the wherewithal to sustainably develop the DWT/CTP block.
GNPC to hold 40% stake in Joint Venture Company
In response, the Ministry of Energy commented: “We wish to formally acknowledge your comments regarding the proposed transaction between Aker Energy/AGM and GNPC and to reiterate our appreciation of the long-standing relationship with Lukoil.
“We can confirm that GNPC has the necessary financial backing and technical competence to acquire the stakes under discussion and to participate in the operator company, which will remain unchanged.”Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy
On the basis of operatorship, the Minister opined that the transaction is still at a nascent stage and as it stands now, negotiations are still ongoing. He added that LUKOIL and Fueltrade will be engaged when the time is ripe.
Currently, the ownership structure of the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points bloc is as follows: Aker Energy holds a 50 per cent participating interest, LUKOIL holds a 38 per cent stake, Fueltrade holds 2 per cent stake and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation holds a 10 per cent stake.
Meanwhile, the Minister underscored that upon a successful completion of the transaction, GNPC Explorco will hold 40 per cent stake in the operator Joint Venture Company, “as such, there will be no resignation or change of operator.”
In a bid that will see GNPC assume its role as an operator in the nation’s upstream sector, the government proposed a US$1.65 billion loan to allow GNPC acquire majority stakes in DWT/CTP block of AGM Petroleum and Aker Energy.
However, since it became public knowledge, this deal has been shrouded in controversies over the valuation of the bloc by CSOs, who believe that the country stands to be the biggest loser should the proposed valuation be used.