Be Mindful Of Your Libelous Comments– Freddie Blay Warns CSOs Over GNPC Deal

Freddie Blay

Chairman of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Worsemao Armah Blay, has strongly denied accusations that he was involved in a scandalous transaction to sell 50 percent of GNPC’s stake in the Deepwater Tano Contract Area (DWT).

He called the allegations surrounding a supposed surreptitious and scandalous sale of GNPC shares unequivocally false and misleading.

Mr. Blay insisted that there was no intention on the part of GNPC or him as the Chairman to divest 7% shareholding in Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL).

“Ghana is a country of law, and there are laws and procedures governing the sale and transfer of shares, under Ghana’s Companies Act 2019 (Act 992), even for private companies. I encourage all my accusers, and the public to Google “what is the procedure for share transfers in Ghana”, educate themselves, and draw their own conclusions on the veracity or duplicity of the allegations. Shares of a company are not a pack of cigarettes anyone, and for that matter, the Chairman of GNPC can keep in his or her pocket and vend by the street!

“The allegations surrounding the supposed “surreptitious,” “clandestine,” and “scandalous” sale of so called GNPC shares are unequivocally false. There is no intention by GNPC or me as its Chairman, to divest 7% shareholding in JOHL nor has there been any claim by PetroSA to acquire shareholding interests in JOHL. Such claims can only stem from an uninformed and malevolent mind,” Freddie Blay said in a strongly worded statement issued on Thursday May 25, 2023.

He went on to explain that the matter involving Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) revolved around a compromise solution in which GNPC has proposed a 50:50 split of the 7% shares it was holding.

The board chairman clarified that “In March 2006, the Government of the Republic of Ghana (“The State”) represented by the Minister for Energy (“Minister”), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (“GNPC”), executed a Petroleum Agreement (“PA)” in respect of the Deepwater Tano Contract Area (“DWT”), with Tullow Ghana Limited (“Tullow”), Sabre Oil and Gas Limited (“Sabre”), Kosmos Energy Ghana HC (“Kosmos”) and Anadarko Offshore Holding Company, LLC (“AOHC”). These companies are hereinafter collectively referred to as “Contractor”. GNPC as is mandatory in the PA holds a 10% carried interest in DWT.

“PetroSA, in July 2012 completed the acquisition of the shares of Sabre after receiving the consent of the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Joe Oteng Adjei, earlier in February of the same year. By the acquisition of the assets and liabilities of Sabre, PetroSA legally assumed the equity interests of Sabre as a Contractor in the PA relating to the DWT.

“Specifically, PetroSA bought out Sabre’s interest in three assets i.e, the producing Jubilee field (1.7%), the Deepwater Tano Block at (4.05%), and the West Cape Three Points Block at (1.854%). Also, and by virtue of becoming a Contractor under the PA, PetroSA also, became a party in the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) relating to the DWT.

“As a party to the DWT JOA, PetroSA like all other parties in the Agreement, is entitled to the benefits and rights granted in the said agreement. This includes the ability to exercise a right to preempt any divestments to any unidentified third party for any intended transfers of all or a portion of and Participating Interests, whether directly or indirectly by assignment, merger, consolidation, or sale of stock or shares or other conveyance.”

He added “In 2021, AOHC created and incorporated a new Company i.e., Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (“JOHL”), in Cayman Islands. JOHL, and Anadarko assigned to JOHL (“JOHL Transfers”) a 7% Participating Interest in the DWT JOA and a
5.95% interest in the DWT Petroleum Agreement. It also entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Kosmos Energy for the sale of Anardarko, and with the GNPC for the sale of JOHL

“Post the acquisition of JOHL by GNPC, after serving a notice to pre-empt rights to purchase the 7% Participating Interest in the DWT JOA currently held by JOHL, PetroSA has since engaged GNPC to acquire the said Interests.

“As a compromise solution, we have proposed the option of a 50:50 split of the 7% shares GNPC was holding. It is important to note that we have yet to outline specifics for the finality on the matter, and this compromise is subject to confirmation, and subsequent advice of the Minister. We are still in the stage of on-going discussions.

“GNPC’’s doors remain wide open to all Civil Society Organizations and individuals alike. | extend an invitation to investigate and ascertain the facts before succumbing to orchestrated and futile frenzies.”

Mr. Blay called for calm and urged civil society organizations to investigate and ascertain the facts before making statements and accusations.

He also noted that he would reserve the right to take legal action against organizations engaged in a diabolic exercise of destroying his name and reputation.

Mr. Blay describes the call for his resignation, as well as that of the CEO, in relation to the matter as ‘deeply regrettable and unfortunate.”

He added “CSOs, are expected to protect the interests and rights of civil society, seek the public good and national interest. Instead, the 29 CSOs that have called for my resignation, chose to engage hastily in this matter without seeking the facts, and rather misinform the public, in pursuit of ulterior motives and a vested interest. This is detrimental to the public good, and the national interest.

“I have taken due note of the libellous statements against me by my detractors including the said CSOs, and reserve the right to take legal action against these organizations and anyone engaged in this diabolic exercise of destroying my name and reputation.”

By Vincent Kubi