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Former Energy Minister: Ghana deal at sensitive stage
Former Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan yesterday denied statements attributed to her Cabinet and party colleague, Minister of Sports Anil Roberts, that the Ghana deal had fallen through.
In a statement to the media by an adviser, Seepersad-Bachan said negotiations between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) regarding a partnership for technical assistance and infrastructure development support in that country have arrived at a sensitive stage. Seepersad-Bachan, who was shifted to the Minister of Public Administration in last weekend’s Cabinet reshuffle, stated: “In March 2011, the President of Ghana wrote to our Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, inviting the National Gas Company to Ghana to conclude joint venture negotiations with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
This would have been to facilitate Ghana’s first Gas Infrastructure Project to ‘take off in the shortest possible time’.” “As you know, the first phase of this project was about transporting and processing the associated natural gas from the Jubilee Field that commenced commercial oil production in December 2010.” The release stated: “Following this, and after a number of discussions and modifications to the NGC/GNPC Execution Strategy, the final decision on the way forward for the Jubilee Gas project was based on the final report of the National Gas Development Task Force commissioned by Ghana’s President. “While we await formal confirmation, it is our understanding that a key input to the recommendations was the availability of project financing from the national bank of a competitor country at very low interest rates that were attractive to the Government of Ghana. “Among the recommendations is a role for the NGC in the role as the Operations and Maintenance Service Provider for the onshore gas processing facility. The NGC would still be breaking new ground by being the first state company to conduct business outside of Trinidad and Tobago.
Seepersad-Bachan stated that based on this, statements by the Sports Minister that the Ghana deal had fallen through were therefore incorrect and misleading. She added that she hoped that this move to politicise a very sensitive inter-Government negotiation process would not negatively impact the deal. The Public Administration Minister also refuted statements by Roberts concerning the alleged involvement of Professor Ken Julien. “For the record, Dr Ken Julien has had absolutely no involvement with the NGC’s efforts to land a significant role in the development of Ghana’s first gas Infrastructure Project. He has never been consulted nor has he in any way influenced the direction of NGC in its pursuit of the Ghana Project. Any statement to the contrary is nothing but a gross misrepresentation of these facts.”
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