Agyarko calms investors nerves on maritime dispute

Business

June 28, 2017

Source: Obed Attah YEBOAH & Sandra AMEVOR/thebftonline.com/Ghana

Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, has assured investors in the oil and gas sector to remain hopeful and positive that the current maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory will go to Ghana’s favour.

Speaking at a programme held in Accra to celebrate ten years of oil discovery in the country, Mr. Agyarko said the country’s legal and technical team handling the case have put in strong evidence which would ensure victory for Ghana.

“The growth of the petroleum industry has not been without challenges. There is currently a maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and La Cote d’ivoire. With the final judgement expected in September 2017, the Ghana legal and technical team have put in their best efforts. Consequently, we are very hopeful of securing a favourable decision,” he said.

On 27 February 2015, Cote d’Ivoire submitted a request for the prescription of provisional measures under article 290, paragraph 1, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, requesting the Chamber to order that Ghana shall, inter alia, “take all steps to suspend all oil exploration and exploitation operations under way in the disputed area.”

The Special Chamber delivered its Order on the Request on 25 April 2015, in which, among other things, is considered appropriate to “order Ghana to take all the necessary steps to ensure that no new drilling either by Ghana or under its control takes place in the disputed area.”

The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), has said that it will deliver its judgement on the maritime boundary case between Ghana and Ivory Coast at the end of September this year.

The Energy Minister further announced that government will soon introduce a petroleum register to ensure more transparency in the in the oil and gas sector.

“Going forward, we intend to ensure more transparency into awarding of contracts and licenses through competitive licensing. Additionally, a petroleum register, which is under development, is expected to be ready within a year. The register will serve as a compendium of important information for public and investors alike,” he said.

Transparency in the oil and gas sector has recently gained public attention after the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), in its analysis of the performance of the country’s petroleum sector for 2016, said revenue margins posted by the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) remain doubtful, as it argues that there were not enough personnel from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the various oil fields to effectively monitor processes.

According to the PIAC report, oil production dipped by about 13.7percent in 2016, from 37.41million barrels in 2015 to 32.30 million barrels, in spite of the coming of stream of the TEN field in August 2016 to augment production at jubilee.

Annual receipts in 2016 totalled US$247.18million, lower than the budgeted US348.42 million, as a result of the decline in production, which is blamed on the challenges encountered with the turret bearing at FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, as well as low oil prices.

Mr. Agyarko further assured that government will remain committed the local content law in order to ensure sustained growth of the oil and gas industry.

“Government is determined that the country will not only be a recipient of direct revenues from petroleum operations but create value for local content and local participation. To this end, we took decisive steps to create an enabling environment for indigenous Ghanaian companies to thrive.

The local content law seeks to ensure participation in all aspects of the oil and gas value chain. The government will continue to implement policies that will ensure that this growth is sustained and increased to much higher levels,” he said.

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