Ghana Minister Says Aker's Offshore License Invalid
In a letter to Aker, Ghana's Minister of Energy asserts that the company's offshore exploration and development license in Ghana is invalid. Aker does not see any foundation for such an assertion.
In November 2008, Aker was awarded an ownership interest in and operatorship of a petroleum offshore exploration and development license at a deepwater field off the coast of Ghana on Africa's west coast. The petroleum agreement had been negotiated with the national oil company GNPC and the then current government of Ghana, and was presented to and ratified by Ghana's Parliament. Subsequently, elections have been held in Ghana and a new government is in power.
"Over the past six months we have had indications that the new administration is seeking to withdraw our license agreement. These signals have now been confirmed in the letter from the Minister that states that the agreement is considered invalid. The reason given is that the agreement does not meet legal requirements that a Ghanaian company must be party to the agreement. We see no basis in law or fact for this claim," said Aker's investment manager Maria Moræus Hanssen, who oversees Aker's interests in Ghana.
"Aker Ghana and Aker have acted as required. The agreement has been entered into as it was unanimously adopted by Ghana's Parliament. Our subsidiary in Ghana has assumed the responsibilities under the agreement, and offered to formally enter into the agreement, as required by law. Naturally, we have regarded the agreement as valid, and we have, with the understanding of other Ghanaian authorities, gathered and processed seismic survey data to an extent that exceeds our obligations under the petroleum agreement," says Ms. Moræus Hanssen.