Botched Tema gas deal can cause $1.5bn loss to Ghana – CSOs warn

A group of African think tanks and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called for the suspension of the Tema LNG project.

In a statement, the group convened by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and the IMANI Center for Policy & Education (IMANI) said the deal was botched and could cost a $1.5 billion loss to Ghana.

They also called for the public release of all contracts and related agreements entered into by Ghana National Petroleum Corporation in relation to the Tema LNG project, as well as a halt to further funding and financing for the project.

Giving background to these calls, the CSOs held deliberations on the virtual sidelines of COP 27 on 9th November 2022 and launched case studies intending to show how corruption, mismanagement and onerous off-take terms, have hampered the strategic flexibility of African governments.

This has been done by saddling them with mounting debts and poor response choices.

The first brief looked at the Tema LNG Terminal (Tema LNG), which is a project led by Helios Investment Partners to import LNG into Ghana.

The project was expected to start operations in 2020 but as of November 2022, it is still not online.

“Tema LNG poses a major risk to the already strained finances of GNPC. Calculations by ACEP and IMANI suggest GNPC could be paying between $790 million – $1.357 billion a year (based on average 2022 Brent crude prices) for gas the country doesn’t need,” the group said in the statement.

It also noted that the Tema LNG project was marred by “perverse bid-rigging and attendant procurement irregularities have heightened the corruption risk associated with the project.”

The group lamented that these “costly investments” in oil and gas have been backed by the international community.

“Development finance institutions have spent at least US$2.8bn in direct project finance to support the development of upstream and downstream fossil fuel projects in Ghana since 2010. Meanwhile, Ghana’s vast renewable energy potential has generally been overlooked.”

Read the full brief here.