The GNPC boss, appears to have been feeding on some humble pie lately, after his heated debate to justify his attempts to purchase stakes in two untested oilfields at US$1.6 billion.
Dr. KK Sarpong, put up a surprising posture at a meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) onFriday, October 15, amid admissions that he and others at GNPC, did not do due diligence on the transaction before going to Parliament.
Unlike his earlier dismissive media campaign branding civil society as ignorant of the Aker Energy transaction, DrSarpong, emerged thankful for the contribution of the same CSOs shaping the transaction by questioning some aspects of the transaction, creating a less confrontational atmosphere for the meeting.
Firstly, he knocked down the US$800 million price tag that Aker energy had put on its well it bought for about US$113 million less than two years ago, saying certain things have been discovered in the bill which shouldn’t have been there.
He also sought to shift blame onto politicians; the Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew OpokuPrempeh and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, as those leading discussions on the US$1.6 billion loan with GNPC only providing technical assistance since the corporation is racing against the move away from fossil fuel towards renewable energy.
Mr Sarpong, feels that Ghana must derive massive benefit from its crude oil as quickly as possible, before the abandonment of fossil fuel projected to happen within the next 30 years.
The GNPC boss, also sought to delink himself and GNPC from Kevin Okyere’s Struggling Springfield Energy, saying its current level of expertise is not strong enough for GNPC to learn from.
According to him, GNPC, wants to have an impactful interaction with institutions with superior standards, however, the current level of Springfield is not attractive enough for the Corporation.
The presentation slides that The Herald, has sighted are quite similar to the earlier ones presented to Cabinet and parliament. However, contrary to earlier claims that GNPC had conducted an audit of the financials numbers of Aker, the new narrative is that the Corporation is yet to conduct due diligence on the expenditures of Aker.
According to Dr. Sarpong, this due diligence will provide further insight into how the Corporation negotiates the final price of the asset.
Additionally, the corporation intends to scale down the interest to be acquired. It is not clear, why the change and how that resolves the pertinent issues around reserve certification, why Aker has not appraised Nyankom discovery and the viability of the proposed concept for developing the assets.
After the meeting, some of the CSOs, acknowledged the progress made on the transaction, but maintained that more work is required to justify investment of public funds in the acquisition.
“If GNPC has its own money to spend or can raise project financing like what Kosmos recently did with Banks, they can go ahead… but once they want public money they have to yield to the higher stress testing of the decision”.
On the platform dubbed “Bilateral Meeting with the Alliance of CSOs”, were Dr. Yao Graham, Yaw Kyei, a GNPC board member, Kofi Bentil of IMANI Ghana, Charles Abugre, Denis Gyeyir, Theo Acheampomng, Benjamin KwekuAcolatse, Benjamin Boakye of African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Eric Pwadura and others.
Dr. Kwame BaahNuakoh, moderated and Joe Dadzie, one of KK Sarpong’s deputies, who had earlier led similar discussions on the transaction, but assumed his boss’ contemptuous attitude, kept mute throughout last Friday’s interaction.
Dr. Graham, who is the Chairman of the Alliance of the CSOs, welcomed the meeting, saying it is a positive development for the stakeholders, including Ghanaian citizens in whose names GNPC is acting to know how their natural resources are managed on behalf of both current and future generations.
He hoped that this dialogue marked the beginning of openness and access to information for a vigorous debate about GNPC’s role in Ghana’s economy vis-à-vis the Aker transaction.