Monday, June 23, 2014

Make Firm Decision On Who Owns Ghana’s Gas -Prof. Appiah-Adu

Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu

The Vice Dean of the Central Business School at Central University College Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, has charged government to urgently make a firm decision on who owns Ghana’s Jubilee Gas.

According to him, in the contracts signed with the Jubilee partners, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) owned the gas but the mandate establishing the Ghana National Gas Company gave the latter the authority to own gas, transport and market it.

Prof. Appiah-Adu who was delivering a paper on the topic: “Fiscal Regime in Oil and Gas Development in Ghana” at a one-week oil and gas reporting course organised for journalists in Accra, said there is also the need for a gas evacuation plan to be signed between the owner and the jubilee partners which would govern the relationship. 

“Since the Volta River Authority (VRA) was supposed to be the principal user of Jubilee Gas, a gas purchase agreement needs to be signed between VRA and GNPC, GNGC or whoever the owner would be before gas is delivered.

“Since gas delivery is imminent and issues associated with such agreements are not always simple, it is important to consider this subject as a matter of priority and have an agreement signed”, he emphasised.

Though he admits there is some form of ambiguity regarding ownership of the gas, Deputy Head, Communications Unit at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Ras Liberty Amewode told Savannah that, GNPC is the rightful owner of the gas.  

“It is in the constitution that GNPC own Ghana Gas or holds it in trust for the State whereas GNGC was set up to market the gas”, he said, adding that, this abnormally or discrepancy that is likely to create conflict between the two institutions is well known to the Energy and Petroleum Ministry. 

Mr. Amewode however gave the assurance that, an Exploration and Production Bill that is currently before Cabinet and is due to be sent to Parliament to be passed into Law will certainly address this abnormally.

On the issue of a purchasing agreement that needs to be signed between VRA and owners of the gas, Mr. Amewode said the agreement is yet to be signed. 

Gas infrastructure elsewhere
The training course organised by PenplusBytes also known as the International Institute of ICT Journalism, forms part of the implementation of a six-month project dubbed: “Empowering the media to play active watchdog role over mining, oil and gas revenue and resources”.

The purpose of the project is to improve the coverage of oil and gas stories by the Ghanaian media leading to an increase in the quantity and quality (in terms of in-depth and investigative reporting of oil and gas stories) thus resulting in the media playing an effective watchdog role over Ghana’s oil and gas revenues and resources. 

The training course which will also offer ample learning opportunity for participating journalists brought together ten senior journalists across the country who were selected through a competitive application process with the consent of the media houses they work with. 

Prof. Appiah-Adu, who is also a consultant in oil and gas, said there is also an urgent need for a gas master plan. “Such a master plan will offer alternative uses of gas and how Ghana can ensure that over a determined period, gas is providing us (citizens) with what we require from the resource.

“Government has to formulate a set of gas rules which would serve as the basis for establishing gas prices and offer investors who wish to enter the sector some level of regulatory assurance”, he suggested.

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner Mr. Theodore Adimazoya speaking on the topic: “Laws and Contracts Governing the Oil and Gas in Ghana”, encouraged participants to take their time to scrutinize contracts and laws governing the country’s petroleum sector.

He also observed that persistent reportage on issues in the petroleum sector by journalists is the surest way to keep politicians on their toes to do the right thing as well as forewarn multinationals that somebody is watching what they do in the dark.

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