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Opinions of Friday, 23 July 2010

Columnist: Ashiagbor, Martha

GNPC is Anti-Ghana

It Operates as an Arm of the Chinese Government.

Martha Ashiagbor, Washington DC (GET)

getransparency@yahoo.com

The attention of the men and women who have volunteered to get to the bottom of the Kosmos/GNPC saga has been drawn to a shameless GNPC statement insinuating that the motive behind our attempt to research the truth and disseminate it to Ghanaians has been called into question. For the record, although many here at Ghana Energy Transparency (GET) are Ghanaians, we seek truth and fairness and these are not forthcoming from GNPC management. Rather the GNPC management uses deception and fake nationalism as vehicles to further their own ideological and personal interests. According to what we have been able to discover, those socialist elements at GNPC paid by our tax cedis are worse than that foreign entity when it comes to Ghana’s interest.

As a government entity, if GNPC can be so woefully myopic in its dealing with our national asset by furthering the Chinese interest over Ghana’s interest, Ghanaians must know. If the Chinese get coached at night by a GNPC top official in his house in The Cantonements on how they should make their presentation to the Ministry of Energy only for that same official to show up at The Castle to advice the president on how Ghana should proceed on that very matter, Ghanaians must know. If officials at GNPC have formed private companies to serve as Ghanaian agents for companies that are regulated by that same GNPC, Ghanaian must know.

GNPC is telling us that a company that comes to Ghana at a time when no one else would and spends $30 million to acquire, develop and interpret data is breaking the law when it shares that data with a prospective take over company, but GNPC that did not spend one pesewa on that data can go around the world sharing that data with every Tom Dick and Harry. Surprisingly, as passionate as GNPC is about this supposed illegality on the part of Kosmos, it has not attempted to litigate the matter but rather has resorted to propaganda warfare to tarnish the image of Kosmos. Do they know what their actions do to our own image as a country?

Truly patriotic and Ghanaian nationalists must consider the following:

The Chinese had the opportunity to drill. They walked away because they did not have the technology to improve upon the available 2D data at GNPC. And as evidenced by this submission “China's largest reported oil spill emptied beaches along the Yellow Sea as its size doubled Wednesday, while cleanup efforts included straw mats and frazzled workers with little more than rubber gloves”(Associated Press), it appears they have not improved technologically. ExxonMobil, on the other hand, set the standard on how to handle environmental disasters by the way it handled its Valdez spill off the coast of Canada. So why is GNPC breaking its back to take our oil from ExxonMobil and hand it to the Chinese?

GNPC management originally considered putting together what it called a “Dream Team” to wrestle Kosmos’ stake away. This Dream Team includes BP, Anadarko, and the Chinese. BP has been eliminated from consideration because of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko’s stock has dropped to less than half of its value because it is a BP partner in the rig that burnt to cause the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And as if the hand of God is hinting Ghanaians, China now has an oil spill of its own to deal with in addition to coal mining disasters killing thousands of Chinese citizens. Why is GNPC still adamant at taking this deal from ExxonMobil and handing it to the Chinese who are incapable of handling their own current operations?

Besides some highly questionable private and very financially rewarding relationships built between some ideological GNPC officials and the Chinese, the record shows that they have sought to further their sinister motives by directly working against Ghana’s interest. In September 2009, those GNPC socialist elements directly lobbied the IFC to deny a loan package sought by Kosmos in the amount of $750 million. Remember that amount was to enable Kosmos to continue its operations in Ghana. That means continued development of the Jubilee Field, continues employment of thousands of Ghanaians, and more. That is an entity of the Ghana government lobbying against an infusion of up to $750 million into the Ghanaian economy. This is verifiable by the way at the World Bank. The thinking is that if Kosmos is unable to pay for its operations in Ghana, then it would be weakened to an extent where it would have to negotiate its stake away – to the Chinese.

GNPC’s internal document reveals that contrary to its earlier claims through surrogates that Kosmos is refusing to entertain its offer to buy the Kosmos stake, it has really never made such an offer to Kosmos because of the exclusive agreement between Kosmos and ExxonMobil. That same document states a GNPC strategy to create “a climate in which, so far as possible, a sale to Tiger (ExxonMobil) continues to look ‘undoable’ or at least very difficult,” until September 1, 2010 when that agreement ends. Meanwhile, that agreement has extension clauses that can keep GNPC waiting, and potentially throwing in new obstacles, for more than four years. No one knows how this approach would adversely impact first oil slated for later this year.

In fairness, GET can state that there are a good number of professionals with integrity at the GNPC the problem is that they have been completely overshadowed and manipulated by this ideological management team who trained in Socialist Russia, but who seek medical care in America. They have emptied GNPC coffers to the tune of $17 million traveling around the world and showing Kosmos’ data to second rate financial organizations with no chance at financing a $4 billion investment.

Meanwhile right at their noses a global leader with the best technological and financial acumen is ready to come in and maximize production of our crude thereby optimally benefiting our country. Yet these socialist would rather work crooked deals with the Chinese and pocket their loot at the expense of the country. Essentially they want to buy Kosmos cheap and resell to the Chinese for personal profits even though China’s deep sea technology is inferior. Moreover, the Chinese safety record and disaster management are abysmal even in their own country on relatively simple operations like land based coal mining. How would they handle complex terrain like deep sea oil production?

So Ghanaians must wake up and stand up for what is best for Ghana. Ask the socialists at GNPC why they would hand our oil to Team B operators when a Team A operator is standing by at our door step?