The slump in crude oil prices has forced the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to cut back on its planned ‘controversial’ US$700 million five-year loan from private commercial lenders.

The money was to be used to support GNPC’s increasing oil and gas infrastructure investment and cash call requirements from its participating and commercial interests.

But the Chief Executive of GNPC, Mr Alex Mould, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra that the original loan deal was based on a US$110 per barrel of crude oil, but the prices were currently trading below US$48 per barrel.

The move to secure the loan sparked controversy last year when three Members of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei (NPP, Old Tafo), Mr Samuel Atta Akyea (NPP, Abuakwa South) and Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NPP, Manhyia South) sued the state-owned oil company for not seeking Parliamentary approval of the transaction.

Though the case has since been thrown out of court, the GNPC boss says the oil company was halving the size of the loan to between US$350 million and US$400 million from banks at an interest rate of about 3.9 per cent.

“We have seen prices come down and we have re-evaluated the funds we need for the intended projects,” he said.

GNPC, which holds a 13.64 per cent stake in Ghana’s Jubilee offshore oil field operated by Tullow, started negotiations last year with Trafigura, a Dutch commodities trader, and some banks for the loan, which will have an interest rate of below five per cent.

Part of the cash will go into ENI project which is expected to cost US$7 billion. GNPC holds 15 per cent stake in the project.

“We got responses from 18 of the leading global lenders – both banks and commodity traders – and we are working with the prospective lenders to close the deal soon,” Mr Mould said.

He added: “Our investment profiles are long term …Thus, we and our partners are committed to investment decisions already made regarding our upstream operations,” he said.



Credit: Graphic Online

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