Claim: Former Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, says he “bequeathed” two oil fields, TEN and Sankofa, to his successor, President Nana Akufo-Addo, in 2017, but “no additional production activity” had taken place in the country’s upstream oil sector since then.
Verdict: The statement is misleading. DUBAWA’s checks had shown that although Mr Mahama had handed over the two oil fields, TEN and Sankofa, to President Akufo-Addo’s government, it is not true when he said no additional production activity had taken place in Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector after that.
Former Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, says he “bequeathed” the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) and Sankofa oil fields to his successor, President Nana Akufo-Addo when he handed over to him on January 7, 2017.
The ex-president, in a tweet on February 6, 2023, which said the statement was repeated on his Facebook wall on February 7, 2023, described the period from his handing over to date as “wasted years” with “no additional production activity in our upstream oil sector.”
Data available on Twitter as of Wednesday, February 15, 2023, has shown that the post by the ex-Ghanaian leader had been retweeted 643 times, liked by 3,563 users, viewed 196,954 times and received 318 replies. Similarly, on Facebook, the post had recorded 981 comments, was shared 240 times and was liked by 4,156 users.
The post had generated heated discussion in the country, triggering an immediate response from the Ministry of Energy in a Press Release dated February 7, 2023, which described the tweet and the subsequent post on Facebook as “unfortunate.”
The Ministry of Energy denied ex-president John Dramani Mahama “bequeathed” the two oil fields to the Akufo-Addo government. Rather, the statement says, it was ex-President John Kufour who handed over the oil fields to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2009.
The Ministry of Energy also contended that contrary to what the ex-President claimed, Ghana’s upstream petroleum oil sector has witnessed an “unprecedented oil wells drilling success rate from all exploration wells drilled from 2017 to date.” You can find this in paragraph 10 of page 3 of the press release.
Given the heated debate spawned by the post published by ex-President John Mahama, DUBAWA decided to investigate the statement to verify the claim in light of the controversy.
In probing the post published by Mr Mahama, DUBAWA visited several websites, including that of the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Tullow Oil, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
DUBAWA also reviewed some news reports, research works, and newsletters published by the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, including the Upstream Local Content Magazine (1st Edition), 2020 Annual Petroleum Report, and a study on Ghana’s oil revenue collection.
Checks by DUBAWA had shown that at the time ex-President John Mahama handed over to his successor, President Akufo-Addo, on January 7, 2017, production at both the Sankofa and TEN oil fields had commenced.
This position was reiterated by the Ministry of Energy in its statement. However, works on these oil fields started during the Presidency of John Agyekum Kufuor, who handed over to the late President John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills on January 7, 2009.
Similarly, data available has indicated that two new oil and gas projects, TEN and Sankofa, came onstream since production started at the Jubilee field in 2010, with production levels at 126,000 bopd (Jubilee field 31,000 bopd, TEN fields 50,000 bopd, and Sankofa field 45,000). You can find this on page 4 of the research paper published by the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies.
It is, therefore, clear that ex-President Mahama passed on the two oil fields, TEN and Sankofa, to his successor, President Akufo-Addo.
However, DUBAWA’s checks had shown that despite setbacks caused by COVID-19, which led to the shutdown of works in Ghana’s hydrocarbon sector. Some significant in-roads were made in the country’s upstream petroleum sector, as seen in paragraph 16 of page 14 of the 2020 Annual Petroleum Report.
The Annual Report on Petroleum Funds for 2020 revealed that development and production operations in Ghana’s upstream oil sector were stable in 2020, despite a “marginal decline of about 6.77% in oil production compared to 2019, due primarily to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on upstream operations.” This can be seen in paragraph 16 of page 14 of the report.
Also, several well discoveries were made under President Akufo-Addo spanning 2017 to 2022. These include Aker’s Pecan South East (2018), AGM’s Nyankom-1X (2019), Springfield’s Afina-1X (2019), Eni’s Akoma-1X (2019), Eni’s Eban-1X (2021), and Eni’s Aprokuma-1X (Albian and Cenomanian discoveries) (2022).
According to the 1st edition of the Upstream Local Content Magazine, a bi-annual magazine published by the Petroleum Commission of Ghana in November 2022, “Eni Ghana has drilled two (2) exploratory wells, Akoma-1X drilled in 2019, and Eban-1X drilled in 2020 in the Offshore Cape Three Points Block 4 Contract Area.” You can find this on pages 5 and 6 of the magazine.
It is, therefore, misleading for ex-President John Dramani Mahama to claim that since he handed over the TEN and Sankofa oil fields to President Akufo-Addo, no additional activity had taken place in Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector.
Ex-president John Dramani Mahama passed on two oil fields, the TEN and Sankofa fields, to President Akufo-Addo when he handed them over to him on January 7, 2017.
However, it is not true to say there has been “no additional production activity” in the country’s upstream oil sector in the “last seven years” in the face of available local and international data.