Committees present reports on GNPC, Saltpond oil
Two committees set up by the Ministry of Energy to examine the operations of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Saltpond Oil Production Development (SOPD) project on Monday presented their reports to the Minister of Energy in Accra.
The first committee was to advise government on the restructuring of GNPC while the second looked into the SOPD project and deliberated on the joint venture operation between GNPC and its partners.
The terms of reference of the first committee chaired by Professor Andrew Addae included studying the law establishing GNPC with the view to restructuring the corporation to focus on its core business, determining appropriate manpower levels for the new organisation and divesting GNPC from non-viable activities.
Mr Kwame Owusu, a Certified Accountant, chaired the second committee, which reviewed the joint venture agreements with regard to protection of national interest. It also sought to establish and report on the status of SOPD and advise the ministry of energy on its future.
The findings and recommendations of the two committees were not disclosed.
In a statement read for him, Energy Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah MP, said over the years GNPC embarked on activities that were not related to petroleum operation under the pretext of raising funds to finance its core activities.
It also formed subsidiary companies and acquired interests in others. "Most of these investments did not yield the financial benefits that were contemplated," he said. "Furthermore, by concentrating on all these non-core activities, GNPC did not sufficiently focus on its primary objective of finding hydrocarbons in Ghana."
The companies include Ada Songhor Salt Limited, Energy Products Limited, Connexat Limited, Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited, Western TeleSystems, Valley Limited and Globaltouch Holdings Incorporated.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said the ministry perceives the need for GNPC to divest itself from all non-core activities and concentrate on its exploration activities. In the case of SOPD, GNPC inherited the fields after AgriPetco abandoned it in 1985.
Thirteen years later in 1998, GNPC was impressed by a presentation by a Nigerian company, Oildata during an oil conference. Around the same time, Lushan International Energy, a Houston-based company, approached GNPC. "One thing led to the other and Lushan International Energy entered into partnership with Eternit Universal Limited of Nigeria to form Leshan-Eternit to undertake the project."
GNPC then entered into an arrangement with this company, which later translated into SOPD.
PNDCL 64 of 1983 established the GNPC to undertake exploration, production and development of petroleum. Subsequent to this was PNDCL 84, which was promulgated in 1984 conferring on GNPC the exclusive right for the exploration, development and production of petroleum.