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NPP national chairman Freddie Blay reappointed board chair of GNPC

Freddie Blay, board chairman of GNPC

Freddie Blay, board chairman of GNPC

The national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, is set to continue in his role as chairman of the seven-member board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

Freddie Blay served in the same role during the first-term government of President Akufo-Addo between 2017 and 2021.

Kwabena Kwakye, who also served on the seven-member GNPC board through President Akufo-Addo’s first-term government, is expected to remain on the board.

Noted absentee

One name notably absent from the GNPC board this time round will be Nana Adjoa Hackman, the managing partner of Africa Legal Associates (ALA) who is a director of Asaase Broadcasting Company Ltd (owners of Asaase Radio). She has served as the chairperson of the legal and governance subcommittee on the GNPC board.

Hackman has received high praise for her outstanding performance in this role from the director general of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Stephen Asamoah Boateng, who spoke of her dedication to the GNPC cause.

Recent achievements of GNPC

The state-owned oil company was recently ranked the best-governed national oil company (NOC) in sub-Saharan Africa in the areas of transparency and accountability as well as the fifth best-governed NOC globally.

Furthermore, GNPC, as adjudged in the 2017 Resource Governance Index (RGI) of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), is the eighth best state-owned enterprise globally out of 74 state-owned enterprises assessed by the RGI.

GNPC, Aker, AGM partnership

The Government of Ghana, acting through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has initiated a process expected to lead to the acquisition of a 37% interest in the Deep Water Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) concession operated by Aker Energy Ghana Ltd as well as a 70% stake in the South Deepwater Tano (SDWT) bloc operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Ltd.

It is expected that ultimately this will result in the establishment of a joint operating company between Aker Energy, AGM and GNPC Explorco.

GNPC acknowledges that it will require capacity-building in order to become an independent operator. The process will require a major oil company willing to travel on this learning route with GNPC. Partnership with Aker Energy and AGM, with their proven deep-water experience, provides an opportunity for the national oil company to develop its operator capabilities.

GNPC proposes to partner with Aker Energy and AGM specifically to develop the DWT/CTP and SDWT blocks. For their part, both companies, which have the requisite technology and expertise, are keen to enter into the arrangement with GNPC.

The existing discoveries by Aker Energy and AGM (the Pecan and Nyankom fields) are by far the largest in Ghana, and the only ones that can be developed as standalone operations. This partnership has the potential to add more than 200,000 barrels of crude oil to Ghana’s current output within the next five years.

The mission ahead

The Freddie Blay-led board is expected to support the management of GNPC, led by its chief executive officer, Dr K K Sarpong, to ensure that GNPC’s mandate is in sync with that of the directors.

GNPC has the Government of Ghana’s mandate to undertake the exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum.

The remit of the board, for its part, is:

GNPC history

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation is Ghana’s national oil company (NOC). It was established in 1983 by PNDC Law 64 to support the government’s objective of providing adequate and reliable supply of petroleum products and reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports by developing Ghana’s own petroleum resources.

The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law 1984 (PNDC Law 84) was enacted subsequently to provide the regulatory framework for the exploitation of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources. PNDC Law 84 establishes the contractual relationship between the state, GNPC and prospective investors in upstream petroleum operations.

This law also grants GNPC right of entry into any open acreage to undertake exploration activities.

The corporation, which launched operations in 1985, is a partner in all petroleum agreements in Ghana. GNPC is also the national gas sector aggregator in Ghana and aims to supply fuel efficiently to meet Ghana’s increasing energy needs.

After the inception of GNPC in 1983, technical assistance was sought in 1985 from Braspetro, the international subsidiary of the Brazilian National Petroleum Corporation (Petrobras), under sponsorship by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The intention was to prepare a strategic organisational plan and recommendations for institutional capacity-building.

The organisational plan approved by the board of directors involved five main functional divisions and four staff departments. Reviews of the structure have taken place since and now incorporate a wider scope of activities consistent with the corporation’s current strategy.

The staff strength stands at 300 and GNPC has a seven-member board of directors, appointed by the Government of Ghana. The board exercises oversight responsibility over the corporation, giving it policy direction.

Frederick Blay

Frederick Armah Blay, popularly called Freddie Blay, is a Ghanaian lawyer and a politician. He was the Member of Parliament for Ellembelle in the Western Region, and served as the first deputy Speaker in the fourth parliament of the Fourth Republic.

He lost his seat in the December 2008 general election to Armah Kofi Buah of the National Democratic Congress.

Blay was a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) but resigned to join the NPP after being criticised by CPP stalwarts for not campaigning for the then CPP flagbearer, Paa Kwesi Nduom, instead endorsing the NPP’s presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Between 2017 and January 2021, he served as the board chair of GNPC, though objections were raised to a political party chairman chairing the national oil company.

Wilberforce Asare

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