Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Blay, has stated unequivocally that neither the corporation nor he intend to divest Ghana’s 7% stake in Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL).
According to him, PetroSA has also made no claim to acquire shareholding interests in JOHL, and that allegations about a supposed sale of GNPC’s 7% shareholding are palpable false.
Recently, Ghana’s media landscape has been swamped with baseless and vicious claims against Mr. Blay, spread through statements ascribed to a purported group of 29 civil society organisations (CSOs).
In a statement to set the records straight, Mr. Blay said his detractors, without verifying the facts with GNPC, made “baseless claims suggesting my involvement in a supposed ‘scandalous’ transaction aimed at offloading 50% of GNPC’s existing stake in the Deepwater Tano Contract Area (DWT).
“Such claims can only stem from an uninformed and malevolent mind.
“Interestingly, there are others who assert, quite sadly, that they have uncovered a secretive and covert endeavour by GNPC and its board chairman to sell the 7% shares acquired by the Republic of Ghana from Anadarko West Cape Three Points Company (Anadarko) to Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (Petro SA),” Mr. Blay noted.
He explained that in March 2006, the Government of Ghana represented by the Minister for Energy, GNPC, executed a Petroleum Agreement (PA) in respect of the DWT, with Tullow Ghana Limited (Tullow), Sabre Oil and Gas Limited (Sabre), Kosmos Energy Ghana HC and Anadarko Offshore Holding Company, LLC (AOHC).
“These companies are hereinafter collectively referred to as Contractor,” he added, and continued that GNPC, as is mandatory in the agreement, holds a 10% carried interest in DWT.
According to him, PetroSA completed the acquisition of Sabre shares in July 2012, after gaining the approval of the then-Minister of Energy, Joe Oteng-Adjei, in February of that year.
The GNPC Chairman said PetroSA lawfully absorbed Saber’s equity interests as a Contractor in the PA pertaining to the DWT by acquiring Sabre’s assets and liabilities.
Mr. Blay disclosed that PetroSA specifically purchased Sabre’s stake in three assets: the producing Jubilee Field (1.7%), the Deepwater Tano Block (4.05%), and the West Cape Three Points Block (1.854%).
PetroSA also became a party to the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) relating to the DWT by virtue of becoming a Contractor under the PA, he noted.
“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,” he asserted.
He stated that this includes the ability to pre-empt any divestments to any unidentified third party for any intended transfers of all or a portion of and Participating Interests, whether directly or indirectly through assignment, merger, consolidation, or sale of stock or shares, or other conveyance.
“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,” he intimated.
He added, “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.”
He added that following the acquisition of JOHL by GNPC, PetroSA has subsequently engaged GNPC to acquire the 7% Participating Interest in the DWT JOA currently held by JOHL, after serving a notice to pre-empt rights to purchase 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,” he disclosed, pointing out, “We are still in the stage of ongoing discussions.”
Shares Sales Procedure
Mr. Blay wondered why this had been misconstrued by some CSOs to be a secretive and covert endeavour by GNPC and him to sell the 7% shares to PetroSA.
He said shares of a company are not a pack of cigarettes that anyone, including the Chairman of GNPC, can keep in his or her wallet and sell on the street, and indicated that there are laws and procedures governing the sale and transfer of shares, under Ghana’s Companies Act 2019 (Act 992).
Mr. Blay urged all of his accusers and the general public to Google ‘what is the protocol for share transfers in Ghana’, educate themselves, and draw their own conclusions about the validity or duplicity of the allegations.
He said GNPC’s doors remain wide open to all CSOs and individuals, and extended an invitation to investigate and ascertain the facts before succumbing to orchestrated and futile frenzies.
“The call for my resignation, as well as that of the CEO, in relation to this matter is deeply regrettable and unfortunate. 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,” he asserted.
He stated that he had taken note of the libelous claims made about him by his detractors, including the said CSOs, and that he reserves the right to take legal action against these organisations as well as anyone involved in this “diabolic exercise” of ruining his name and character.
By Ernest Kofi Adu