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General News of Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Source: The New Statesman

4.5 million barrels of oil 'missing'

Over 4. 58 million barrels of crude oil produced from the Jubilee fields are unaccounted for as Kwabena Duffuor, the Finance Minister under the ruling NDC and Tullow Oil have, on separate occasions, stated different production figures for the same period under review.

Using the average crude oil price over the material period of January-September 2011, the missing barrels add up to $493. 5 million or $458 million, going by the lower hedging price that the government bet its crude oil sales on.

Paragraph 58 of the 2012 budget presented by Dr. Duffuor on the 16th of November 2011 states: “Actual production from January to September 2011 is 17. 42 million barrels. It is expected that 2011 will close with an annual oil production of 24. 78 million barrels. ”

However, just a week earlier, on 9th November 2011, a press statement by Tullow Oil, the largest partner in the Jubilee Field project, stated that during the same period under review, “over 22 million barrels of oil have been produced and 21 oil cargoes have been safely exported. ”

The disparity in these production figures put out by the NDC government and by Tullow Oil has raised further doubts over the transparency in the actual volumes of crude oil being lifted from Ghana.

Earlier this year, anxiety gripped the nation over allegations of improper accounting of how much oil was being drilled following the reported malfunctioning of flow metres on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.

This malfunction appeared to have been glossed over by the operators of the FPSO until a leading civil society advocate on oil and gas of Ibis Ghana, and a fellow of the Danquah Institute, Mohammed Amin Adam raised alarm over it in May.

It was not until August 2 that the flow metres were fixed.