Ghana’s Minister for Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has mounted spirited opposition to a clandestine move by GNPC, led by its board Chairman, to sell 50 per cent of Ghana’s seven per cent interest acquired from Anadarko in the Deep Water Tano and West Cape Three Points (WCTP) block to South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA.

In a strongly worded letter sent to the Jubilee House, the seat of Government, to draw the attention of President Nana Akufo-Addo to the scandalous activity by the national oil company, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh described the action by the GNPC Board Chairman as an absurdity.

According to the Minister, Mr. Freddie Blay, Board Chairman of GNPC, is pretty much aware that he had written to South Africa’s Minister for Energy and Petroleum Resources, Gwede Mantashe, that Ghana would not sell its seven per cent interest to PetroSA.

In the said letter to Gwede Mantashe, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh wrote: “Honourable Minister, the Government of Ghana would like to reiterate that we cannot support PetroSA in its quest to pursue pre-emption of Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) stakes that have already been acquired by Ghana, as this would be inconsistent with our stated objectives of increasing the State’s stakes in our natural resources development including oil and gas. This policy informed the use of state funds in this acquisition,” parts of the letter dated 24/11/2022 stated.

Despite being copied and aware of the Minister’s letter to South Africa’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, the Board Chairman of GNPC, Mr. Freddie Blay, on 23rd May 2023, wrote to PetroSA: “We receive your last letter dated 22nd December 2022 and noted the contents thereof. Under this, and further, our meetings regarding the said pre-emption transaction in line with the rights afforded to PetroSA in the DWT Joint Operating Agreement, and on the discussion of an equal split in the DWT interest held by JOHL with PetroSA and GNPC, we, as mentioned in conversation, sought guidance from our legal advisors on the matter.

“Consistent with the said advice, the GNPC Board has considered and is agreeable to your proposal to share the interest in an equal split in the DWT interest held by JOHL. Our Board, considering your strong views in maintaining PetroSA”s claim to pre-emptive rights afforded under the DWT Joint Operating Agreement, and being desirous to continue to cultivate the cordial relationship between our two entities to agree that this split is prudent to both parties’ interest.”

This letter by the GNPC’s Chairman is what incensed Ghana’s Minister for Energy to report him to President Nana Akufo-Addo.