Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, has disclosed to Joy Business that at least 15 oil exploration companies are likely to lose their operating licences by end of this year. He explained that these companies have failed to meet the basic obligations for exploring at the country’s oil fields.
He further revealed that government has served notice these companies about their impending fate.
Mr Amewu is also optimistic that the revocation of these exploration licences should pave way for the government to reclaim the oil blocks for redevelopment — or give them out to different investors.
“Most of the companies are already aware and we have made it clear that after the assessment by the Petroleum Commission, we’re not going to renew some of the licenses because they haven’t carried out any obligations which indicate that they cannot do the work,” Mr Amewu said.
The Minister made the revelations exclusively to Joy Business’ Ebenezer Sabutey on the sidelines of a meeting with some oil and gas exploration companies.
The meeting with the oil companies was to brainstorm on ways to develop a better regulation for the petroleum Industry.
“We’re not going to allow that in this country again. As a government, we think others that are interested must also be given the opportunity to explore rather than being with a particular firm that is not capable of doing any exploration activity,” he added.
Peter Amewu indicated that some of the licences will expire before the end of the year.
Some of the firms at the meeting included Aker Energy, Kosmos Energy Ghana, Tullow Oil, Eni and other major players in the upstream petroleum sector.
Though he did not mention the names of these companies that may be losing their license and their blocks, he gave a strong indication that the process has begun and it will not be long before they are kicked out of the oil fields.
Some of the basic obligations that the said oil exploration companies have flouted include non-payment of annual ground rent and failure to comply with exploration rules set by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Ghana Petroleum Commission.