The Committee has found that a minimum of US$ 37,129 being 3% of revenues ought to have been paid by Saltpond Oil Production Company Limited (SOPCL) as royalties to the state.
In their mid- annual report for 2015, the Bank of Ghana did not have records of Oranto/Stone Energy’s outstanding surface rental debt of $67,438.36 to the state.
PIAC says it is surprised that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had no record of the debt in the Bank of Ghana’s half year report and no records suggesting that Oranto/Stone Energy had paid the monies either.
Again, the PIAC report has revealed that Saltpond Oilfield has failed to pay royalties though there were records that they had lifted 25,453 barrels of oil from the fields during the period under review.
By way of explanation, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation reported to the Ministry of Finance that SOPCL had not paid any royalties because the company has ceased production. However PIAC maintains that records show evidence of liftings by Saltpond Oil in the period under review.
The US$222.93 million (GH¢666.06 million) that was swept by the BoG should be refunded to ABFA account as soon as practicable, just as 30% of the Sinking Fund of the US$ 100 million that was also swept, was restored by the BoG. This would help prevent further withdrawal from the GSF in 2015. It is also important to stress that the non-refund of the outstanding balance together with the remaining US$70 million of the swept sinking fund would be tantamount to a violation of the PRMA.
Also, immediate steps must be taken by the GRA and/or BoG to compel SOPCL to pay any outstanding royalties that had fallen due to the State prior to the suspension of its operations. In the same vein, Oranto/Stone Energy must be compelled to pay the outstanding surface rental invoice that has been pending since February 2013 with accumulated interest.
In addition, the Government of Ghana should endeavour to pay the US$50 million special advance given to it by GNPC in 2014 to help improve the capitalization of the State Oil Company as well as forestall a situation where it becomes a regular practice by the Government of Ghana to be making such demands.
Further, the Ghana National Gas Company must ensure that all outstanding receivables in respect of lean gas sold to VRA is paid as a matter of urgency so as to guard against the GNGC falling into the never-ending cycle of indebtedness prevalent in the power sector.