Minority questions termination of petroleum contract with AKER ASA

Dr. Oteng-Adjei - Energy Minister

Minority in Parliament on Thursday questioned the basis for the termination of a Petroleum Agreement (PA) between Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and AKER ASA, an industrial investment company.

Dr Joe Oteng –Adjei, Energy Minister, who responded to the question during question time in Parliament, said the contract was not abrogated.

He however said parties have reached a mutually satisfactory and amicable termination agreement which was awaiting execution.

“Basis for the termination was substantive and not procedural or ‘technical,”, he said.

Dr Oteng-Adjei noted that AKER ASA, a Norwegian company, was registered as an external company under the Ghanaian company code adding that it lacked the legal capacity to acquire exploration and production rights or be part of the PA.

He stated that the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law did not provide for retroactive correction.

Mr Kobina Hammond, Minority Spokesman on Energy, who put the question, argued that the contract was terminated and produced two letters that sealed the abrogation deal.

Mr Cletus Avoka, Majority Leader, who is also the Leader of Government Business prayed the Speaker Justice Bamford-Addo to reject the letters since Mr Hammond was quoting from a letter the rest of the members did not have.

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, First Deputy Speaker and Mr Abdulai Fuseini, Member for Tamale Central, including Mr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader all called on the Speaker to rule the question out of order because it was seeking the opinion of the minister.

Dr Oteng-Adjei questioned the source of the letter accusing Mr Hammond for dubious and unethical acquisition of the letter.

Mr Joe Ghartey, Member for Esikadu/Ketan, said those asking for the authenticity of the process of having access to the letter might be treading on dangerous grounds.

According to him, what should have been the crux of the matter was whether the document was official.

“The document is official and we are public officials of the state, we have the right to it”, he said.

The Speaker ruled that the question was authentic and the minister must respond to it.

Dr Oteng-Adjei however, maintained that the contract was not terminated as held by the Minority.

Responding to an urgent question from Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, Member for Tain, on the measures adopted in controlling the black fly menace that plagued the Bui Hydroelectricity Project area, the Minister said the government was in consultation with three institutions to depopulate the black flies in the area.

The Ghana Health Service, the Noguichi Memorial Institute and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, he said, have recommended control programmes to deal with the menace.

He said the control measures included the preliminary studies covering survey to determine breeding sites, selection of catching points and treatment points for ground larvicides.

He said spraying will be done on the rivers and streams and areas above the identified breeding sites, protection against black fly bites at the individual level and community mass distribution of appropriate medicine.

He added that there would be education and communication among the communities within the catchments area of the project.

On strategies to sustain the normal levels of the hydroelectric power production in the 2011 and 2012 from the Akosombo and Kpong station when the Black Volta is dammed to build Bui reservoir, the minister said 100 MV had to be available from other fuel sources by 2011 to up for the shortfall in the energy requirement for the country.

He explained that 180MW Sunon Asogli Thermal Power Plant had been commissioned for commercial operation while the Tema Osonor Plant 126MW and Takoradi 3 Thermal Power Plant 132MW were under construction and would be commissioned by the end of 2011 and 2012 respectively.

He said the inflow of the Akosombo dam had been very good this year with the reservoir almost reaching its highest operation elevation.

“The Akosombo and Kpong power stations could therefore be operated without any adverse effect on the power generation of the country even if the inflows for the next two years were low”, he said.

Dr Oteng- Adjei responding to the question on when the Koofiekrom, Nkwantanan, Bethlehem , Asarekrom, Takyi Krom and Fantekrom would be connected to the National Electricity Grid, said these communities are not included in the on going electrification projects under taken by the ministry.

He promised that they would be considered under subsequent phases of the National Electrification Programmes when funding was available.

Presidential Transition Bill 2010 and the Health Institutions and Facility Bills 2010 were read for the first time while five papers were laid.

Source: GNA

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