GNPC-Aker deal: Lukoil says not aware of sale… Energy Ministry assures of engagement

International oil and gas company Lukoil has expressed worry over the government’s recent move to acquire a major stake in the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) bloc operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited.

According to lukoil, being one of the main partners in the DWT/CTP project, with a 38 per cent licence interest and a 42.22 per cent participating interest, it had no knowledge about the deal.

The government has planned to acquire a major stake in the DWT/CTP contract areas operated by Aker Ghana Limited, as well as a majority interest in the South Deepwater Tano (SDWT) in an adjacent block operated by AGM Petroleum.

Against this backdrop, government is seeking parliamentary approval for a loan of $1.6 billion to finance the acquisition of the 37 per cent stake in the DWT/CTP from Aker Energy and 70 per cent in the SDWT from AGM using the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited.

In a letter written by Ivan V. Romanovsky of Lukoil to the Energy Minister copied to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, CEO of Aker Energy, Havard Garseth, and Executive Chairman of Fueltrade Limited, Chris Chinebuah, said the company “had not been aware of and engaged in discussion about the plans of its partners to sell the stake and change of the operatorship of the DWT/CTP project with a 38 per cent license interest and 42.22 participating interest.

“In this respect, Lukoil strongly believes that the above mentioned proposals may introduce significant risks for the project execution schedule,” the letter dated August, 9, 2021 said.

It said in order to avoid any negative consequences of the DWT/CTP project, Lukoil shall be directly involved in the discussion of such fateful issues as the sale/acquisition of the Aker Energy’s share, the resignation of the operator of the DWT/CTP project and appointment of successor, and further project financing plans so as to ensure further sustainable development of the project in the interest of all stakeholders.

Lukoil said all the activities regarding the sale/ acquisition of the Aker Energy’s share, the resignation of the operator of the DWT/CTP project and appointment of successor and further project financing plans were subject to revision and or approval in accordance with the provisions of Joint Operating Agreement dated July 9, 2015 (JOA).

“Lukoil reserves all of its rights under the Petroleum Agreement dated February 8, 2006 and JOA, and at law in respect of the DWT/CTP project.  Nothing in this letter shall be deemed as an admission, waiver and/ or concession by Lukoil,” the letter, said.

Lukoil said it was looking forward to the favourable acceptance and response of the issues regarding the acquisition of the DWT/CTP project.

Reacting to the letter in a statement issued in Accra yesterday, the Ministry of Energy said, “We wish to formally acknowledge your comments regarding the proposed transaction between Aker Energy/AGM and GNPC and to reiterate our appreciation of the long-standing relationship with Lukoil.”

“We can confirm that GNPC has the necessary financial backing and technical competence to acquire the stakes under discussion and to participate in the operator company, which will remain unchanged,” it said.

The Ministry allayed the oil company’s fears that the project execution and schedule will be put at significant risk by the proposed transaction.

“On the contrary, at the successful completion of the transaction, GNPC Explorco will become a 40 per cent shareholder in the operator Joint Venture Company. As such, there will be no resignation or change of operator.”

The Energy Ministry further indicated that the acquisition transaction was still at its early stages and currently under negotiations, adding that Lukoil and Fueltrade would be engaged at the appropriate time.

BY DAVID ADADEVOH

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