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There’s no “friction” between me and Energy Minister, says Freddie Blay

The Energy Minister has accused the board chairman of GNPC of offering interest in Ghana’s oil fields to a South African oil company

The board chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Blay has said he still has a good relationship with the Energy Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh despite their differences over the GNPC-PetroSA deal.

Speaking to the media at the commissioning of a seven-unit Home Economics block at Krobo Girls’ Presbyterian Senior High School on Thursday (25 May), Blay said: “I don’t see it. There may be disagreements on some issues even at the board level we disagree…a little disagreement here and there doesn’t mean that there is friction.”

“I don’t believe that there is friction [between me and the Energy Minister], unfortunately, it has overflown and it’s gone public. People have gone public on it. People have gone public on correspondence which I thought should have been quickly dealt with,” he said.

Earlier, Energy Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh took a swipe at the GNPC board chairman.

He has accused Blay of offering interest in Ghana’s oil fields to a South African oil company, Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA).

The GNPC board chairman is said to have written to PetroSA offering it an equal split in the interest held by GNPC’s subsidiary Jubilee Oil Holdings Ltd.

But the minister insists this move is not in the interest of Ghana as the nation will lose revenue. He is therefore asking Blay to withdraw the offer immediately.

“The denial”

Meanwhile, Blay has denied selling a 50% stake in Jubilee Oil Holding Limited (JOHL) to PetroSA, a South African firm.

“I cannot on my own go and sell GNPC assets.”

“There was no intention to do so, what happened was that there was a 7% interest in JOHL which the government through GNPC decided to acquire but this 7% forms part of Anardarko’s share.

“We are not selling, it was 7% that we were all struggling to have, and Anadarko insisted they were also interested, and there was disagreement about it, and this started in 2021,” Blay recalled.

“They said they were going for arbitration… but over seven months it didn’t happen, and I proposed to them that instead of taking it, we could sit down and take 50-50.”

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