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A Deputy Minister for Energy, William Owuraku Aidoo, has said that some thirteen oil exploration companies have failed to fulfill their minimum obligations within the initial exploration period and no discoveries have been made.
Owuraku Aidoo however, stated that the thirteen oil exploration companies have carried out their obligations to different degrees, and that some have reprocessed the existing data, acquired new 3D seismic data and preparing to drill exploratory wells while others have only reprocessed the existing data.
Answering a question at the Plenary by the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahir Hammond, on the number of oil blocks awarded between January, 2009 and December, 2016, Owuraku Aidoo explained that the Energy Ministry and the Petroleum Commission are reviewing dormant Petroleum Agreements, to make a decision on whether to abrogate or continue the process.
The Deputy Energy Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Afigya Kwabre South however pointed out that he cannot inform the House on the timelines in reviewing the Petroleum Agreements.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament, Owuraku Aidoo reiterated that fourteen oil blocks were awarded between January 2009 and December 2016.
He also disclosed that the Offshore Accra Contract Area Petroleum Agreement (OACAPA), initially operated by Tap-Oil, was relinquished while five of the agreements of the oil blocks were affected by the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) ruling.
He further added that the five Petroleum Agreements affected by the ITLOS ruling were the Expanded Shallow Water Tano Block, Offshore South West Tano Block, Central Tano Block, South Deep Water Tano Block and the South West Saltpond Block.
William Owuraku Aidoo noted that the oil exploration companies in charge of the agreements have had their initial exploration periods extended, to cater for the time lost as a result of the ITLOS ruling.
The Deputy Energy Minister concluded that work programs are ongoing for most of the oil exploration companies in the initial exploration period because of the extensions.
However in an interview with the press, the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahir Hammond, averred that he was not satisfied with the response of the Deputy Energy Minister. The legislature, who doubles as a Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, stated that contracts of the dormant oil exploration companies should be abrogated. He indicated that the contact agreements awarded to the oil companies ranges within a period of 8 years, and that they should have discovered some volumes of oil, to depict some level of seriousness.
He explained that some of the oil exploration companies do not have enough capital and technical expertise, to effectively utilize the various oil blocks allotted.
K.T. Hammond added that although the boundary dispute between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire at ITLOS slowed exploration at the oil fields, it should not be a justification for some of the oil exploration companies to remain dormant.