The Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Commission are reviewing the country’s dormant petroleum agreements.
A Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Power, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, who made this known in Parliament on Tuesday, said depending on the outcome of the review, a decision would be made whether to abrogate those agreements or not.
He was in the House to answer a question by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, on the number of oil blocks the government awarded between January and December, 2009.
Mr Hammond also wanted to know the number of the oil blocks that had achieved their initial exploration requirements or discovered any oil, and if not, what steps the Ministry of Energy was taking to abrogate those agreements.
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Responding to the questions, Mr Aidoo said 14 oil blocks were awarded between January 2009 and December 2016.
He said the contract on one of the oil blocks — offshore Accra Contract Area Petroleum Agreement, initially operated by Tap-Oil — was relinquished, while five were affected by the ruling of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas (ITLOS).
The five Petroleum Agreements affected by the ITLOS ruling were Expanded Shallow Water Tano Block; Offshore Southm West Tano Block; Central Tano Block; South Deep Water Tano Block and South West Saltpond Block.
Mr Aidoo explained that the five companies had their initial exploration periods extended to cater for the time lost as a result of the ITLOS ruling. "Work programmes are, therefore, ongoing for most of them in the initial exploration period because of the extensions," he said.
Mr Aidoo said none of the remaining 13 companies had fulfilled their minimum obligations within the initial exploration period and no discoveries had been made.
However, he said, the companies had carried out their obligations to different degrees, as some had reprocessed the existing data, acquired new 3D seismic data and were preparing to drill exploratory wells, while others had only reprocessed or were reprocessing the existing data.