—Massive Judgment debt Looms
Whatsup News can exclusively report that the controversial deal by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to sink a total of US$ 1.3 billion of Ghanaian taxpayers funds to buy out Aker Energy from the Deep Water Tano/ Cape Three Point (DWT/CTP) oil fields is being done on the blind side of the Russian company Lukoil, which owns a significant stake in the oil bloc.
The situation raises questions about who the actual interest groups in the deal are, if Lukoil, a significant shareholder in the SDWT, is completely unaware that any such deal is being cooked.
In a September 8, 2021 letter with reference number UP-82 exclusively intercepted by Whatsup News, Lukoil wrote to express his utmost outrage at the fact that the government of Ghana was discussing buying off Aker Energy’s stake in the DWT/CTP and yet, nobody had hinted the Russian company what was happening.
“…LUKOIL would like to express its concern about the planned significant changes both in the financing of the DWT/CTP project and its operation, taking into account the fact that LUKOIL, being one of the main partners in the DWT/CTP project, with 38% License Interest and 42.22% Participating Interest, has not been aware of and engaged in discussions about the plans of its partners to sell the stake and change the operatorship,” wrote Ivan V. Romanovsky, LUKOIL’s Vice President for the Americas, Western Africa and Europe.
The letter was addressed to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta who is suspected to have his hands in the pie; Energy Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Dr. K.KSarpong, the CEO of GNPC, Harvard Garseth, the CEO of Aker Energy and Chris Chinebuah, the Executive Chairman of Fueltrade.
LUKOIL warned of a potential legal action and a possible judgment debt if the promoters of the deal keep pushing it without its consent. “ In this respect, LUKOIL strongly believes that the abovementioned proposals may introduce significant risks for the project execution and schedule. In order to avoid any negative consequences for the DWT/CTP project, LUKOIL shall be directly involved…in the discussion,” Romanovsky warned.
“LUKOIL reserves all of its rights under the Petroleum Agreement dated 8 February 2006 and JOA [Joint Operating Agreement], and at law in respect of the DWT/CTP project. Nothing in this letter shall be deemed as an admission, waiver and/or concession by LUKOIL.”
This is not the first controversy that will hit the contentious deal by GNPC to compel the Ghanaian government to part with a staggering US$ 1.3 billion to buy out Aker for a 70% stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) and a 30 percent stake in DWT/CTP lucrative crude oil blocs.
Issues of opacity have dogged the deal, with experts warning that the deal should not be worth that much as Aker only paid US$ 100 million for those concessions a few years ago.
An Energy sector think-tank, Energy & Associates calculated that the oil blocs operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited should be at an asking price not more than US$800million.
In a statement on the controversy, Energy and Associates suggests that even US$800million is an overkill, as the real value of Aker’s offer is some US$400million.
“Our sources at the Petroleum Commission explain that valuations in the books of the Petroleum Commission is a little over $400mil, however, we are told Aker’s valuation is some $800mil,” the think-tank calculated.
GNPC is requesting a loan of up to $1.65 billion to finance the acquisition at a price to be negotiated which might not exceed US$1.3 billion and GC Explorco’s share of capital expenditure (CAPEX) to Pecan Phase 1 First Oil of US$350 million.
The request was contained in a motion presented to Parliament by the Energy Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.
Around 2019, the Akufo Addo administration caused a serious uproar and suspicion among industry players and civil society groups by arm-twisting Parliament to renegotiate a 2013 Petroleum agreement between Ghana and AGM Petroleum/Aker Energy Petroleum resulting in the decline of GNPC’s stake 43 percent to 18 percent in the SDWT.
Furthermore, when GNPC’s stakes were reduced in the oil bloc through the questionable renegotiation activated by Ofori-Atta, a new local company, Quad Energy, suddenly surfaced to acquire 5% of the contentious oil bloc.
Quad Energy had been formed less than a month before the renegotiated contract was activated. The company had absolutely no track record, and there was no proof why they deserved a 5% stake in the oil field.
A little digging by Whatsup News revealed that Quad Energy. Quad is owned by Joseph Babatunde Ampah and his Uncle David Adomako, who Whatsup News reliably gathered was smuggled onto the AKER board by Mr. Ofori-Atta himself.
As for Mr. Babatunde Ampah, is a close family friend of President Akufo Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta. He also worked as the Vice President in charge of Investment in Ken Ofori-Atta’s company, Databank Financial Services.