Following the successful discovery of a new oil field, the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP), have started engaging in who did what for the discovery.
A Ghanaian oil company, Springfield Exploration and Production Limited (SEP), has worked to find some 1.2 billion barrels of oil in the West Cape Three Points Block 2.
In Parliament yesterday, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle Constituency, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, spoke to the press, giving credit to the Mahama administration for the achievement.
Albeit his expression of joy over the historic development, the former Energy Minister was quick to add that but for the decision of the previous NDC government to allow Springfield to scout, perhaps the good news would not have come.
According to him, this achievement was a result of a strategic decision taken by the Mahama administration, which passed LI 2204, the local content and the local participation policy.
“The law also provides that even in the upstream sector, Ghanaians will participate. It is that belief that made the NDC government, led by President Mahama, who has strong views that ensure businesses had the commanding heights of the oil industry to basically allow Springfield the opportunity to own this block. We put some technical requirements to be sure that they were successful.
“…If the information we are getting that Springfield has hit a major discovery, then I think first let’s congratulate this Ghanaian company. It has to make any Ghanaian proud. But, as the sector Minister, who was given the opportunity by President Mahama, I am very proud,” he said, adding that “we have set the tone.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Energy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, in response, said he could not understand what the NDC was claiming, saying it was premature for people to start fighting for attention on the discovery.
He said that this government had exhibited support for local content as far as the Springfield discovery is concerned, more than what the NDC did. For instance, he cited that whilst the NDC government gave Springfield a year’s extension for a technical partner, this government gave them two.
“…We awarded the Jubilee Block to the Jubilee partners, but the field was developed under the NDC, and so NDC is claiming credit for the Jubilee Field because they developed it, even though the discovery was made under President Kufuor.
“So, if you also sign a contract and the discovery is made under President Akufo-Addo, do you still apply the same arguments you did with Jubilee?
“Secondly, they make reference to their local content policy, and I ask, what did they do to award an oil block to a local company? What difference does that make if you also award [a] similar block to an international company?”
He had no issues with awarding a block to a company, whether local or international, once it qualifies, indicating that from 2013 to 2016, the NDC awarded thirteen blocks, and Springfield was the only local operator.
“But, if you want to demonstrate your support for a local partner, the ingredients that you need to look at are, number one; the fiscal terms. What fiscal terms did they give them? They gave them 12.5% royalty, and yet international oil companies are holding [a] petroleum agreement with 10%, 7.5% royalty.
“How can you say you supported a local partner when you’ve given them the worst fiscal terms than you gave international oil companies? Number two, they put in their contract that Springfield, within one year, must apportion material portion of their participating interest to a foreign technical partner. We even gave some fiscal support…
“They were supposed to pay technology fees and training allowances, we deferred the payment for two years…What a local company would need to succeed is what we have done; giving them two years extension to him to get [a] technical partner when they gave him [a] one-year period to get the technical partner, and they have, without that technical partner.”