Ghanaian News

Prof Hinson: True facts about GNPC’s increased stake in Aker blocks some CSOs don’t want you to know

Many things are admirable about Ghana, compared to our neighbouring countries. Among these are free speech, fair elections, peaceful transitions of power, and empowered civil society.

In some ways, Ghana has more in common with the United States’ democracy than many countries on our continent.

However, in the not too distant past, the United States seemed to have gone through a dark media era where it seemed President Donald Trump attempted to completely wipe out the boundaries between truth and lies, between actual news and fake news – to the point that the truth did not matter anymore – the same seems to be happening in Ghana from selected civil society actors.

One particular civil society actor, Bright Simons, seems to have taken umbrage at the move by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to significantly increase Ghana’s ownership in offshore oil blocks and has communicated his deep misgivings in a multiplicity of articles, the latest being one he penned for the influential Economist magazine.

I will attempt in this article to present some misrepresentations in some of the positions held by the leading civil society actor, Bright Simons, and like we do in the academy, present some counter-facts on some of the misrepresentations he made.

There are serious challenges with some recent assertions Mr Simons has made regarding the GNPC’s move to ultimately put Ghanaians in complete control of the nations oil resources. It would seem that Mr Simons is either not in full possession of some of these true facts he uses in constructing some of his arguments and therefore in making some of the arguments he makes, ends up smearing the name of the GNPC.

GNPC by the way is an institution that was voted by the Natural Resource Governance Institute as the best governed National Oil Company in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, in the recent ENI – Springfield unitisation, Mr Simons also seemed to once again make GNPC the villain in another article.

Like I alluded to earlier, intellectual contestations are normal in the academy so let me point out nine misrepresentations I perceive in relation to GNPC’s latest move to increase ownership in offshore oil blocks and offer some counteracts to some of those assertions.

“Most analysts nowadays use a US$50 per barrel oil price”. FALSE
Mr Simons makes this categorical statement without listing any of the analysts he refers to. These are easily verifiable figures which should have been checked before they were published. The long term price forecast by various analysts (all in US$ per barrel) are:

Professor Robert E. Hinson is based at the University of Ghana Business School but works across several Universities globally. He was recently ranked the #1 Marketing Scholar in Africa.

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