Mr Speaker, anybody who is a keen observer of the oil industry would know that any time there is a discovery, it is published with the dates.
If we go to the Petroleum Commission's website, we would see all the discoveries we have had since 2007, so these are public documents that we could always verify.
So if he asks me to give him a source, he should go to Petroleum Commission. These dates are there for everybody to ascertain their veracity.
Mr Speaker, the interesting part of this is that there was a lost opportunity for us as a country. GNPC knew from day one that the field that was being operated by Hess was a field that had huge potential, so when the opportunity came for Hess to offload part of its shares, GNPC expressed their interest to take up additional interest.
Indeed, they had asked to take up 10 per cent additional interest. This was supposed to be handled by a subsidiary of GNPC, that is, Explorco. Subsequently, what GNPC did was to officially, as part of their work programme --
The 2013 work programme that was presented to Parliament in line with the rules governing the works of GNPC, particularly, when it comes to petroleum revenue --
They made a request for US$47 million to be able to buy the 10 per cent shares that was going to be taken from Hess. Parliament granted that.
Unfortunately, just at the time when all the necessary agreements were made, the dispute between la Cote D'ivoire and Ghana kicked in. And 69 per cent of that acreage was involved in that dispute, therefore there was a delay in the works.
This case was finally concluded in 2017. The understanding was that, GNPC would have gone further to then purchase the 10 per cent additional interest for Ghana.
Mr Speaker, it would interest you to know that the Ministry of Energy then decided that Ghana was never going to exercise the right to buy the 10 per cent, and therefore they were giving that in addition to the 40 per cent that Hess was now holding, because they had offloaded 38 per cent to Luk Oil, and two per cent to Fuel Trade.
They were not going to exercise the right to purchase 10 per cent more for the State, and so they gave 50 per cent to Aker.
Today, Parliament approved US$47 million for us to purchase that. That has not been done. As to what that money has been used for, nobody knows.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, Parliament must take a keen interest in how that money was expended because anything apart from using it to purchase the 10 per cent additional shares would be criminal.
I believe that since we are the people who obviously approved this in 2013 -- I am talking of Parliament; it behoves us to ensure that the right thing is done.
Mr Speaker, the second point I would want to talk about has to do with our current situation. We find ourselves with
depreciation and its effect on the energy sector, particularly, on the power sub- sector.
Mr Speaker, you would recall that just a few days ago, the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) indicated that because of certain factors -- the movement of the Karpower ship from Tema, the eastern enclave, to the western enclave, and the fact that we had the Power Distribution Service (PDS) taking over from ECG and also the fact that we would have certain plants that would move from using heavy fuel to gas --
On the basis of that they would defer the major tariff review from March till June ending 2019.
Mr Speaker, if you listen to and monitor the commentary that has been made by some of these utility companies, it gives a picture that seems to suggest that in the intervening months -- I am talking of the three to four months -- They would accumulate huge debts as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.
Mr Speaker, in March 2016, the US dollar was equivalent to GH¢3.80. Today, in 2019, the dollar is equivalent to GH¢5.52. However, in 2016, if you were to take, for example, GRIDCO, it sold in terms of the transmission charge, GH¢5.040 per kilowatt hour, when the dollar was equivalent to GH¢3.80. Mr Speaker, because of the reduction in tariffs in March 2018 that brought it from about GH¢5.00 to GH¢4.20 thereabout, they had a 17 per cent reduction.
Meanwhile, as we speak now, that is the same rate we use, but if you are to look at the dollar exchange, it is US$1.00 to GH¢5.52 so we have a situation where most of these utility companies lose huge
sums of money just because of forex losses. They buy crude oil, pay their gas liabilities and buy spare parts in dollars; meanwhile, they are still given the same rate.
Mr Speaker, just on Monday, GRIDCO indicated that in 2017 alone, just forex losses on their borrowings was US$143.28 million. For 2018, it came to US$148.43. If nothing was done at all to the current rate and assuming that we would have the same exchange rate, as we have it today, their projection is to have US$246 million.
Mr Speaker, when Hon Titus-Glover was talking, one of the things he said was about the challenges we had from 2013 to 2015 was the financial nature.
Now, if you look at the indebtedness that has bedevilled the utility companies, as we speak, it is huge. ECG alone is piling fresh debt of almost GH¢2 billion post- Energy Sector Levy Act.