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Merger GNPC- Ghana Gas takeover on hold

The Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Alex Mould, told the B&FT during an interview in Accra that the takeover of Ghana National Gas Company is yet to be completed, although government initiated the takeover move more than a year ago.

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The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) says it is still waiting for government to trigger what could be the last requirement needed to finalise processes for the Corporation's takeover of Ghana National Gas Company Limited (GNGC).

The Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Alex Mould, told the B&FT during an interview in Accra that the takeover of Ghana National Gas Company is yet to be completed, although government initiated the takeover move more than a year ago.

"The acquisition process is ongoing. The shareholder - Ghana government - and GNPC have signed an agreement and agreed the sale. What is left to complete the takeover is more of an administrative registration issue at the Registrar-General's. As soon as government decides to do that, we will consummate the transaction. But in terms of the agreement, we have signed it long ago.

"My understanding is that it is a Cabinet decision - which has been passed, so we are just waiting for it to happen and it could happen any day from now," he said.

The decision to cede the management and operations of the gas processing company to the GNPC has been acrimonious, with the Board of Ghana National Gas Company challenging the decision in what many considered as a power play.

After several boardroom wranglings, government through the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum announced in December last year that it has executed the legal instrument assigning its entire shareholding in GNGC to GNPC, making the GNPC sole shareholder of GNGC, with full control over GNGC.

Mr. Mould however explained that the GNPC is yet to take over Ghana National Gas, contrary to speculations amid criticism that the takeover idea is the result of GNPC's lobbying.

He said the decision to bring Ghana Gas under GNPC, though not a proposition of the corporation, is a prudent one that must be commended.

"GNPC has not been pushing to take over Ghana Gas. Let's get that clear. If you go back to history, Ghana Gas was part of GNPC. GNPC started building the pipeline and the (processing) plant. In order to fast-track it, it was decided to move it out of GNPC; and now it is being brought back to GNPC.

"But it makes sense for Ghana Gas to be part of GNPC, because it is basically our processing arm. So GNPC owning Ghana Gas is a natural thing. If the government has decided that it wants Ghana Gas to be owned by an entity, I think it is only right that it goes to GNPC."

Mr. Mould said while GNPC's takeover of Ghana Gas is a prudent decision that follows worldwide practices to increase the efficiency and balance sheet of a national petroleum company, government should consider listing the gas subsidiary on the stock market.

"The question is, should GNPC own 100 percent of Ghana Gas? I don't think so. I think it should be floated on the stock exchange in future, for Ghanaians to own it either through institutional investors or individuals," he said.

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