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General News of Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

President Kufuor Lied?

....Gas discovery is false - Asaga
The Minority spokesman on finance and a member of the energy committee of parliament, Moses Asaga, says President Kufuor?s statement of gas discovery (read) in the Western region is misleading.

In an interview in Accra, the spokesman says the statement by the president on Voice of America (VOA) was out of desperation from a lame duck government that has nothing to offer to the people of Ghana.

According to Mr. Asaga, no new gas has been discovered since the discovery of gas in 1994 by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) under the NDC government.

The minority spokesman says no Norwegian company has discovered gas and therefore challenged the ministry of energy to name the said company because as far as his records are concerned in parliament, the said company has not been granted exploration license duly passed by Parliament.

Mr. Asaga says the statement by the President, which was supported by the ministry of energy, is tantamount to perjury and threatened to call for an investigation by the assurance committee of parliament.
He asked the ministry of energy to withdraw the statement, investigate the source of the misinformation and contact the director of petroleum in the ministry who really would be in a position to know.
The Nabdam MP explains that the oil and gas industry is very sensitive when it comes to announcement of discovery of gas.
The discovery can boost the stock prices of a company to very high levels and if found to be false, can lead to prosecution and imprisonment as in the case of ENRON recently.
He says gas in commercial quantities which was discovered under the NDC regime was further test produced alongside with oil in 1995/ 96.
Three development wells were drilled in the Tano basin at Anyinasi in the Western Region.
They were named north, south Tano and East Tano wells, each producing billions of cubics of gas.
Mr. Asaga who is also the MP for Nabdam mentioned that following this success, the Japanese and U.S Exim banks committed $300million and $60million respectively to the project.
The Japanese made disbursement for the construction of the Osagyefo Thermal Plant Barge, which was to be fired by gas.
The gas was of economic usage to both the Anyinase thermal plant and Aboadze to produce electricity on the western corridor to feed the industry.
Because of the viability of the project, a power purchase agreement was initiated with the VRA and AGC from 1994 to 1996.
He says the NPP government inherited a robust energy economy from the NDC and should commend them for their favorable energy policies, which they inherited on assumption of office.
He disclosed that the NPP has failed in adding any gas or oil reserves to what was known before the year 2000.
Mr. Asaga stated for instance that the Tano energy, which was commissioned by the NPP with fanfare as the new dream to boost upstream petroleum, failed woefully and packed and left the country with no reference to Parliament.

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