Paris-based Investigative media house has revealed some questionable deals happening in Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) over the technical decommissioning of the Saltpond Oil Field in the Central Region, Ghana’s oldest oil field.
The exposé fingers Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, Chief Executive Officer, of the state-owned enterprise of awarding contract with $5 million to know associate of his as a consultant that is needed in the first place.
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Behind the scenes of GNPC’s Saltpond decommissioning
The dismantling of Ghana’s Saltpond oilfield facilities, piloted by GNPC, was marked by the aborted hiring of a contractor linked to a relative of the firm’s chief executive. This scared off a US partner, which invoked the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to pull out.
The metal silhouette of the oil rig known as Mr Louie will soon disappear completely from the view of residents of the coastal town of Saltpond. The dismantling of the eponymous field, Ghana’s oldest which came on stream in 1978, is due to be completed in July by the Ghanaian company Hans Group. The firm has been working on the site since last October and completed the dismantling of the sixth and final well in early May.
Hans Group is several months behind the initial schedule for the first-ever decommissioning of oil field infrastructure in the country, which is piloted by state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
The delay is attributed in part to GNPC CEO Opoku Awheneeh Danquah, who replaced Kofi Koduah Sarpong in April 2022.
Unexpected consultancy contract
As soon as he took office, the new boss pushed for the hiring of an external consultant as project manager, which delayed the launch of the decommissioning. This solution – at an estimated cost of $5m – had been ruled out by the previous management.
In July 2022, Danquah succeeded in imposing the name of Ensol Ghana Energy, headed by Kofi Yalley, to which he wanted to award part of the contract. According to our sources, the company is linked to Nana Kofi Frimpong, the GNPC boss’ technical aide.
The Public Procurement Authority rejected this choice in late July and in early August a call for tenders was published. The contract was finally awarded to a consortium comprising Ensol and the US company TSB Offshore. By the time they were hired, almost 70% of the consultancy work had already been done by GNPC’s technical teams, which had been working on the matter since April.
TSB invokes Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
In a further sign of the confusion surrounding the tender, TSB finally withdrew from the project. It invoked the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a law against bribery of public officials abroad. Ensol’s management proposed another partner, but the Public Procurement Authority objected.