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World Bank Accused Of Coercing Gov’t To Buy $5bn Gas




Sources at the Ministry of Energy have raised serious concerns regarding the World Bank’s ‘attempts’ to delay the approval of a $500 million loan in order to force the government of Ghana into buying $5 billion worth of expensive gas from the Sankofa gas field.
That, according to DGN Online’s sources, is due to the World Bank being a major financing partner of the ENI operated Sankofa gas field having provided more than $1bn in commercial loans to the project.
It is also at the same time acting as an advisor to the government on the issues of gas, a clear conflict of interest.
According to our sources, the World Bank’s primary objective is to recover its loans and interests to ENI and Vitol.
This places it in a conflict of interest situation in discussions on gas and positions the bank on the side of the foreign oil companies against the government which is trying to renegotiate and reduce the costs associated with the project.
It would be recalled that in 2015, the NPP government when in opposition along with a number of prominent civil society groups such as Imani and ACEP raised concerns regarding the financial viability Sankofa project:
Inflated contracts
The project cost of $7bn, is 20% higher than the total cost of the Jubilee field even though the Jubilee field has significantly more reserves.
High price of gas
Ministry sources indicate that the delivered price of ENI gas to Tema could be as high as $14.5/MMBtu or $87/bbl.
The original $9.8MMbtu contract price has been increased by US inflation and US gas prices, when transportation costs are added the price is nearly 100% higher than the PURC price paid to power producers and more than 50% higher than the alternative sources of gas LNG and Nigerian gas via WAGPI.
Excessive profits. The 20% rate of return approved under the previous government negotiation team led by former GNPC CEO Alex Mould is nearly double the figure achieved by the owners of the TEN field.
Now in government the NPP has created an Energy Sector recovery (ESRP) Task force to renegotiate all take or pay agreements including the terms of the Sankofa contract that is crippling the energy sector with expensive gas and costing government more than $45 million per month.
ENI under negotiation pressure from the task force has pushed the world bank to withhold funds from Ghana and support their position. Our sources indicate that the world bank is now forcing government to reduce the volumes of much cheaper sources of gas such as Jubilee, LNG and WAGPI and abandon key cabinet approved projects such as the western region petrochemical hub that rely on this cheap gas.
If government doesn’t agree the bank, will withhold $500m of grant funding.
This is similar to the supposed “quid pro quo” tactics that the US government is accused of having used against Ukraine and reinforces President Akufo-Addos recent statement that there is one rule for some countries and another rule for Africans.
Sources also indicate that the Ministry of finance is being asked by the world bank to participate in a marketing campaign designed to “improve the image of the project”. This involves signing agreements that utilise dubious financial techniques in an attempt to present a lower gas price to the public.
The Sankofa partners will continue to receive $14.5/MMBtu for their gas in line with their 20% return, but the “Net price” presented to the public will be manipulated to take into consideration taxes paid and other curious supposed benefits.
This paper understands that the ESRP task force is now in charge of all energy related matters and has become a de-facto Energy Ministry under the control of the deputy minister of finance Charles Adu-Boahen.
The ESRP has attempted over several months to renegotiate the volume of gas delivered under the problematic Sankofa agreement, employing a number of high profile foreign legal firms and consultants to assist in its efforts.
The objective being to reduce the volumes in the near term whilst offering ENI an extension in the future when demand exists from industrial users who can afford the high gas price.
Our source tells us that the ministry of energy’s plan is to reduce the Sankofa volumes and bring in cheaper sources of gas from other suppliers such as:
Jubilee gas in the western region priced at a 40% discount to Sankofa
LNG gas in Tema priced at a 60% discount to Sankofa.
NGas from Nigeria in Tema priced at a 50% discount to Sankofa.
We also understand that GNPC and the ESRP have been successful in restructuring many of the other take or pay agreements. For example many power producers have agreed to reduce their take or pay figures in exchange for an extension in their terms.
GNPC with the support of the Ministry of finance and Energy has recently restructured its own LNG agreement with Shell and Rosneft to reduce take or pay to match the task forces volumes as required in the Tema power enclave.
The Sankofa partners however continue to resist any attempts at renegotiation and with the world bank behind them pushing and withholding financing on a “quid pro quo” agenda the position is unlikely to change.



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GHS194,000 Worth Of Fuel lost In Tanker Fire Near Buipe Depot – BOST




The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) has estimated the value of product lost in a fire incident that occurred near its Buipe Depot at GHS194,760.00.

Initial reports suggested that three fuel tankers were consumed by fire at the truck park of BOST’s Buipe Depot in the Northern region on Friday evening, January 3, 2020, but a statement from the company said four Bulk Road Vehicles [fuel trucks] were instead affected.

The statement said three of the affected trucks belonged to the Ghana Oil Company Limited, GOIL, while one was for BF Energy.

The statement signed by Marlick Adjei, the Head of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at BOST noted that two out of the four BRVs “contained 36,000 liters of diesel (AGO) and 36,000 liters of petrol
(PMS) respectively.”

“At the current price of GHS5.41/liter, the value of the product lost is estimated at GHS194,760.00,” the statement noted.

“The fire occurred at the truck park of the depot and not within the depot. It started late in the evening and took a combined force of the depot technical staff and fire officers from the Damongo and Tamale Fire Stations to bring it under control around 10 p.m,” BOST added in the statement.

Cause of fire unknown

BOST in the statement noted that “the exact cause of the fire has not been ascertained as at now and investigations are underway. We shall furnish the public with the details once the technical team completes the investigations.”

The Buipe depot is the central fuel holding point of BOST serving the Savannah, Northern, North-East, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana.

READ ALSO: Bawumia Preaches Peace, Unity In 2020

It receives products through river barges (via the Volta Lake) and through Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) loaded from the Accra Plains depot of BOST.

The statement assured that “though a sizable volume of products loaded for OMCs, were destroyed in the incident, product supply in the northern regions and the general operations of BOST as a company will not be negatively affected.”



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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dropped along with his company’s stock price, losing his title as the richest person in the world to Microsoft’s Bill Gates, according to Forbes.

The e-commerce giant’s stock fell 7%, trading at $1,695 in Friday’s pre-market, after releasing its third-quarter earnings report Thursday, dragging Bezos’s net worth to $102.8 billion. With a net worth of $107 billion, Gates climbed back to the spot he lost in October 2017, Bloomberg says.

The Seattle-based company reported that it had increased in sales but made fewer profits than expected. The profit tumble is due to Amazon’s $800 million investment in same-day delivery, announced in April, Bezos said Thursday.

SEE ALSO:Ghana To Criminalize Inappropriate Internet Content

The Amazon CEO’s divorce from MacKenzie Bezos also has a lot do with the defeat. After splitting in January, she received a quarter of the couple’s Amazon’s holdings in July.

Back in July, Gates dropped to No. 3 on the world’s richest list. The main reason for his downward shift: charitable donations. Gates, who in 2014 stepped down as Microsoft chairman but became a technology advisor for the tech giant, has given away the majority of his Microsoft stake over time.

Bernard Arnault, who owns Louis Vitton and Fendi, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg hold the third, fourth and fifth positions as the world’s richest, respectively, according to Bloomberg.

Source: USA Today


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Crypto Trader Boss Dies With Password To Clients’ £110m



Canada’s leading cryptocurrency exchange company has said it cannot repay $190m (£110m) to clients because its founder died with their passwords.

QuadrigaCX’s founder Gerald Cotten, 30, died “due to complications with Crohn’s disease” while travelling in India to open an orphanage in December, his wife Jennifer Robertson said.

Mr Cotten held “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins” and no other members of the team could access the stored funds, she said in a sworn affidavit as she filed for credit protection on 31 January.

Ms Robertson said about $190m (£110m) in both cryptocurrency and normal money is in “cold storage” – where the company, or just Mr Cotten in this case, holds the key, not the client.

The founder held “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins” and no other members of the team could access the stored funds, she added.

She has her husband’s laptop but she does not know the password and a technical expert they hired had not been able to bypass its encryption, she told the court.

On 31 January the company’s board of directors applied for creditor protection, with Ernst & Young expected to be appointed on Tuesday to oversee the proceedings.

A statement from the board said: “For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets, and that are required to satisfy customer cryptocurrency balances on deposit, as well as sourcing a financial institution to accept the bank drafts that are to be transferred to us.

“Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful.”

QuadrigaCX customers have been complaining on social media that they have not been able to withdraw money from their accounts.

Ally Shapoval wrote: “Hello, Quadriga! I withdrew money from my Quadriga account to my bank more than 2 weeks ago. WHERE IS MY MONEY? STILL NOT THERE.

“I sent you emails, you are not responding.”

Another wrote in French: “I have sent lots of emails, but I just get automatic responses, I’m not even able to get my crypto out.”

Some are questioning whether Mr Cotten is even dead and others have accused the company of lying to them.

Ms Robertson added in the affidavit that she and her colleagues have had threats made against them from online cryptocurrency communities – especially from Reddit users.

Source: Sky News


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