Energy Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh has described as "scandalous", Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Board Chairman Freddy Blay's offer of half of the state oil company’s stake in the Deep Water Tano basin to South African oil company PetroSA despite a decision by the Ghanaian government against the transaction.
Mr Blay has written to PetroSA offering it an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd (JOHL).
Dr Prempeh, in a tersely-worded letter to Mr Blay, however, ordered an immediate cessation of the transaction talks being led by the GNPC Board chairman, insisting the country would be short-changed.
"The Corporation should cease any further negotiations with PetroSA on matters of PetroSA’s intended pre-emption of the JOHL stakes", letter by Dr Prempeh published by The Chronicle said.
It noted: "The stakes were acquired by the government of Ghana with state funds", adding: "The government of Ghana has informed the South African government through their minister responsible for natural resources and energy in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the African Energy Week, 2022 in Cape Town that Ghana would not approve any pre-emption of the JOHL stakes".
Dr Prempeh continued: "Subsequent to the meeting with my counterpart Hon Gwede Mantasha, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in South Africa on the above subject, I have had cause to formally respond to him in two successive correspondences affirming government's position on the matter and you [Mr] were in copy in all instances".
"It is, therefore, scandalous that, in spite of these directives, you have led GNPC to offer part of the government-acquired JOHL interest in the DWT to PetroSA".
"I direct that you cease and desist from any further flouting of the directives forthwith and withdraw the offer made to PetroSA in your letter of April 23, 2023, immediately", Dr Prempeh ordered Mr Blay.
Also, civil society organisations in the extractive industry, at a press conference led by ACT Africa's Abdulkarim Mohammed, said: "We demand the dismissal of Freddy W Blay and Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah as they have become a threat to Ghana’s interest in the petroleum sector".