Tano Block: Parliament urged to scrutinise GNPC, AGM Petroleum deal

Ghana+Flag20 August 2013, Accra – The Africa Centre for Energy Policy, ACEP, is calling for a serious parliamentary scrutiny over what it describes as ‘stinking’ Petroleum Agreements GNPC has signed with AGM Petroleum Ghana.

ACEP alleges that AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited is an unknown company in the global oil and gas industry and has no upstream experience.

ACEP has indicated that its investigations also show that AGM Petroleum Ghana has no evidential record of raising as much capital as may be required for exploring and developing of Ghana’s South Deep Tano block.

According to the energy think tank and research group, the circumstances leading to this agreement cannot pass the deal as genuinely seeking Ghana’s interest.

It cited examples that the South Deep Water Tano was held by Aker Asa, a Norwegian company with extensive upstream experience, which was terminated by government.

Ophir Energy, another company with upstream experience, also applied for this block with a Ghanaian company, withdrew its application and reapplied alone only to end up with a farm-in Agreement in the Offshore Accra Contract Area.

We now have the entry of AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited, incorporated in Ghana on Monday 21st May, 2012, an unknown company in the global oil and gas industry and with no upstream experience.

A Program Director at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy Benjamin Boakye in an interview with Citi Business News stated that his outfit will approve of such collaborations “if GNPC is seeking to strengthen its position in Ghana’s oil and gas industry but such collaborations should be put in a proper context where we can clearly access the capacity and strength of that partner, GNPC.”

Mr. Boakye pointed out that there are so many things unclear about AGM Petroleum “and we are talking about South Deep Water Tano block which is the deepest of that area so if you want an exploration in that area, we need somebody with a track record, we need a company with proven capacity to operate in such an area.”

According to him, although ACEP trusts the past judgments of the GNPC due to its partnership with known oil companies such as Shell, it needs to attach this new partnership with all the seriousness that it deserves.

ACEP is also concerned about the potential abuse of the “Ghanaian Company” principle to justify a patronage system in our oil and gas industry. It says checks on the people behind AGM Petroleum showed that the company is not entirely Ghanaian.

AGM Ghana is 100% owned by AGM Gibraltar and is also identified as daughter company of Minexco Petroleum, Both AGM Gibraltar and Minexco Petroleum are non-Ghanaian Companies.

However, the two Directors of AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited – David Addo Ashong and Gilad Mintzer, whose interests in AGM Petroleum are not specified in the records of the Registrar General’s Office, are described as Ghanaians.

The case of Gilad Mintzer’s Ghanaian citizenship, however, contradicts his Israeli citizenship as indicated by the Africa Energy Intelligence.

ACEP claims if the Gilad in AGM Petroleum Ghana is the same person in AGM’s parent company Minexco Petroleum with a subsidiary in Sierra Leone, then it is possible Ghana is being presented with a double identity unless a case of dual citizenship can be proven.

Contrary to this, the Ghanaian Government cannot absolve itself of complicity in this possible deception considering that the Office of the President on Friday 16th August, described AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited as a Ghanaian Company.

– Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, The Chronicle

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