Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sawla-Tuna-Kalba DCE Dead

Information reaching indicates that the District Chief Executive(DCE) of the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District in the Northern Region,Hon. Alhaji Shakour Bukari Alhassan has died.

He died when the vehicle he was travelling with from Bole to Sawla was involved in an accident in the afternoon of Saturday May 22.

According to reports received from Peace Fm’s Northern Regional correspondent,Kwabena Ntow,the DCE had his car somersaulting three times after he failed to control his steer at a top speed in a sharp curve.

The 32-year old DCE died with two(2) other National Democratic Congress(NDC) activists in his official ford vehicle on their way to his district on official duty.

His body has since been deposited at the Sawla Government Hospital Mortuary.

Tullow To Begin Massive Exploration

... Oil giant seeks more black gold in Ghana, rest of world

Tullow Oil plc (Tullow), Operator of the Jubilee Field in Ghana, is set to commence a new round of massive oil exploration campaign with up to four wells in the company’s Deepwater Tano license in Ghana. The search for the black gold due to start in June this year follows the company’s successful work at the Tweneboa-2 oil well.

Tullow’s fresh exploration will not be limited to Ghana. Significant wells are also planned in Liberia, Sierra Leone, French Guyana and Guyana to test the extension of the Jubilee play in the Equatorial Atlantic region.

Tullow goes into these massive exploratory works, while looking forward to its first oil flow from Ghana’s Jubilee Field in the last quarter of this year. The company sees the expected oil flow in Ghana as a landmark event for itself, its partners and the people of Ghana.

According to Tullow, besides the Jubilee Field programme and plans for an accelerated basin-wide development to significantly enhance the value of the Lake Albert Rift Basin in Uganda, “a high-impact drilling campaign is planned for the second half of 2010.”

Given the extent of this activity, Tullow's Board believes the outlook for 2010 is very positive.

In an Interim Management Statement released on May 12, 2010, the Group said it would announce its half year Trading Statement and Operational Update on 6 July 2010. The release said Tullow has continued to perform very strongly in 2010. Tullow said it has also strengthened its balance sheet by completing a £925 million equity placing. GHANA Giving an Operational Update on its activities in Ghana, Tullow cited the commissioning of ‘FPSO Kwame Nkrumah MV21’, named after Ghana’s first president. The official Commissioning of the FPSO was performed in Singapore on May 1, 2010. The vessel will set sail for Ghana at the end of May, to be connected to subsea equipment which have since been installed on the seabed. According to Tullow, the drilling phase of the project was finished in February 2010 and completion equipment are now being installed in the wells with production scheduled to commence in late 2010, while ongoing well completion work continue for a further three to six months. During this period, facilities will be commissioned and production will be steadily ramped up to an expected plateau rate of 120,000 barrels of oil per day, Tullow announced. They disclosed that in January, the Tweneboa-2 appraisal well in the Deep Water Tano license proved Tweneboa to be a major oil and gas-condensate field. The potential of this expansive 200sqkm turbidity fan system will be evaluated with an exploration and appraisal drilling campaign scheduled to commence next month. According to Tullow, drilling will start on the high-impact Owo-1 exploration well, which will test the upside potential of the greater Tweneboa resource range in the West of the structure. “This will be followed by a well on the Onyina prospect, which lies between the Jubilee and Tweneboa fields. The rig will then return to the Tweneboa field to drill further exploratory appraisal wells. In parallel, conceptual field development planning is in progress with the aim of completing an assessment of field commerciality in mid-2011. “In April, the Atwood Hunter rig drilled the Dahoma-1 well, in the southeast Jubilee area, some 11 km down-dip from known oil. Water bearing reservoirs were encountered below a possible oil-water contact. “Indications of oil migration in the reservoirs suggest potential for oil trapped up-dip. The rig is now drilling Mahogany-5 to test up-dip oil accumulations east of Mahogany-3,” the statement revealed. Uganda In Uganda, Tullow announced that it has made significant progress towards aligning equity interests across the Lake Albert Rift Basin. According to Tullow, on 17 January 2010, it exercised its right of pre-emption on the Heritage Oil Plc asset sale to acquire a 50% interest in Blocks 1 and 3A for a consideration of up to US$1.5 billion. Tullow said on 2 February 2010, a formal request was submitted for consent from the Government of Uganda for the assets to be transferred to Tullow, and the government has indicated its intention to approve this transaction in the next few weeks. Tullow said it has been working closely with the Government of Uganda to farm down a proportion of its interests in the Basin and has selected two partners, “CNOOC and Total, and each partner will acquire a one-third interest in each of the three blocks.” Tullow said the move “will result in a unified partnership with considerable technical, operational and financial capability. In addition, it will enable Uganda to become a significant oil producing nation with the potential to produce at rates significantly in excess of 200,000 bopd. The new partnership arrangements will be finalised and approved shortly after the pre-emption”. Tullow disclosed that “in Block 2, the Kasamene-2 and Kasamene-3 appraisal wells were drilled in January and March respectively. The wells successfully delineated the upside potential of this field and provided essential reservoir data for the future development project. Extended well testing on the Kasamene field is expected to commence in the second half of 2010, and the crude oil produced will be trucked to local industry. The ultimate objective of this appraisal programme is to support the development of the field with first commercial oil production targeted for the fourth quarter of 2011. “In April, the Kasamene-3A well made a further oil discovery adjacent to the Kasamene field in the Wahrindi North fault block. The rig has now moved to drill the Nzizi-3 appraisal well as part of the Nzizi gas development project, and the well is expected to complete later this month. First commercial gas production is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2011. “To facilitate an accelerated Exploration and Appraisal programme, a second rig is due to commence drilling in Block 1 in June 2010. The programme will include appraisal of the Ngiri (Warthog) discovery and a comprehensive exploration campaign, east of the Jobi-Rii field, including the material Mpyo (Crocodile), Bbegeri (Leopard) and Jobi-East prospects, before year end. Additional rig capacity is currently being procured for later in the year.” Rest of Africa Production performance from the African portfolio is in line with expectations. In April, Tullow completed the first of two planned wells in the Ruvuma Basin in southern Tanzania. The Likonde-1 well, located in the Lindi block, encountered thick sands with hydrocarbon shows which are encouraging for the future potential of the basin. In Gabon, drilling in the Onal licence area has yielded the Maroc Nord OMOC-N-1 discovery where Tullow has a 7.5% interest. Further wells are planned to appraise this discovery and additional prospects are being drilled in the region where Tullow has back-in rights. In addition, the Noix de Coco-1 well in the Azobe exploration license commenced drilling in April and is expected to reach total depth later this month. In the Equatorial Atlantic area, plans for four high-impact wells in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mauritania during the second half of the year are well advanced. Europe Gas production in the UK is ahead of expectations. A well performance optimisation campaign on the Schooner and Ketch fields yielded excellent results and the Thames fields have performed strongly. An infill well on the Ketch field is expected to commence in May with drilling operations forecast to take approximately three months, with first production expected by year end. On 25 March, Tullow exited its exploration interests in Portugal. South Asia

In Bangladesh, production remains steady at 120mmscfd, the maximum processing capacity of the facilities. In March 2010, a hydrocarbon dewpoint control system was commissioned which has resulted in a considerable increase in condensate recovery from the gas stream and delivery of gas to the main pipeline. In Pakistan, drilling operations on the Shekhan-1 well are ongoing with results expected later this month.

South America

Activity has focused on the transform margin from Guyana through Suriname to French Guiana where the Group is seeking to replicate its success in Ghana. Acquisition of a 2,500sqkm 3D seismic survey in French Guiana was completed in March and initial interpretations are very encouraging. Plans are progressing for drilling operations to commence in both French Guiana and Guyana around year-end.

By J. Ato Kobbie/The Business Analyst

I stand for party's unity – Prof Frimpong-Boateng

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Flagbearer aspirant of New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Wednesday declared: “I stand for unity of our party, a pre-requisite for victory in Election 2012”.

He said NPP must reduce intra party antagonism, bickering and any negative tendencies that had the potential of derailing the party’s quest to regain power by electing a candidate who cut across any perceived divide.

“I am offering to lead our great party not because it is my turn but in order to secure a platform to transform the fortune of Ghana and Ghanaians,” Prof Frimpong-Boateng stated in Accra, as he officially launched his bid to contest for the Presidential primaries of the party for Election 2012.

He tagged the campaign as; “Forging Unity in the NPP Family in the Service of Our Great Nation; A Mission for Modernisation”.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said: “ I want young people to have the education that would equip them with skills, vocation, knowledge and experience to enable them manufacture, fix and repair things as well as solve problems of this 21st Century”.

On ethnocentrism, he said his leadership would unite and work with all ethnic groups to help their rapid development to enhance livelihood of the citizenry.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng urged delegates to elect him as a flagbearer since he had the required technical skills to transform the nation’s economy in the fight against poverty, ineptitude, disease, drug abuse, filth, crime, indiscipline and incompetence.

“I am offering to lead our great party because I am passionate about healthy food, potable water, affordable housing, and reliable electricity and transport accessible to all,” he added.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng promised to encourage women to participate more seriously in the socio-economic development of the country.

He said when given the mantle issues relating to corruption that cost the African continent about 148 billion dollars a year would be a thing of the past.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said “If we are unable to deal with corruption in all its shades and sizes then we should as well forget about any dreams of achieving economic breakthrough.

“Ghanaians entrusted me all these years with their ailing heart. Surely you can trust me with the heart of our great party and the heart of our nation at a time when we all need healing”.

Ga Mantse Caught

*.Asks Security Agencies To Disrespect Supreme Court *

*.But Ga Chief Say He Should Rather Be Blacklisted *

Days after launching a vile attack on President Mills and some of his advisors, labeling them as "standard seven boys," because he and some Ga chiefs feel unimportant to the president, the Ga Mantse has been caught setting a vicious trap which could stir up trouble in an already volatile environment.

The Herald has laid hands on a letter purportedly authored by the Ga Mantse, Nii Tachie Tawiah III, asking the security agencies to disrespect a Supreme Court ruling on the Gbese chieftaincy dispute, and give his man, Nii Tetteh Quaye II, protection to enable him celebrate the forthcoming Homowo festival.

This is in spite of a decision by the highest court of the land on April 27, this year, that Mr. Thomas Okine of Accra Hearts of Oak fame should occupy the Gbese palace as the lawful Gbese Mantse under the stool name Nii Ayi Bonte II. This was after a protracted legal battle between the Ga Mantse’s favourite, Nii Okaidja III and Mr. Thomas Okine.

But the Ga Mantse insists that although the Ga Traditional Council is aware of the decision by the Supreme Court on the occupation of the Gbese Palace, it has decided to set aside all contending parties in Gbese and place the performance of rites and ceremonies under the supervision of Ga Dzasetse, Nii Tetteh Quaye II, to prevent any public disturbance.

Nii Tackie Tawiah III in his letter dated May 10, 2010 attributed his call to disregard the Supreme Court decision to what he claimed are opinions expressed in the media on aspects of the matter thus sparking “grave uncertainty”, hence the Ga Traditional Council has resolved to take control of the Homowo celebration in order to minimize any incidental conflicts.

Nii Tachie Tawiah’s letter which was served on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Greater Accra Regional Minister, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture as well as all media houses demanded all security agencies to co-operate fully with the council on this decision.

When reached, the Gbese Mantse was utterly shocked at the letter especially when the Supreme Court has declared him the proper custodian of the Gbese Mantse Palace, and described the Ga Mantse, known in private life as Dr. Jo Blankson, as a fraudster and a lawless person.

In an interview yesterday in his pharmaceutical office near the Rawlings Park in Accra, Nii Ayi-Bonte, threatened to drag the Ga Mantse to the Supreme Court on contempt charges for what he called “his blatant disregard for the highest court”.

According to him, the Gas currently have no king and “whoever is claiming to be the king of the Gas is a fraud” and must not be entertained by the public especially the security agencies. Present at the interview was Nii Bi Ayi-Bontey, former Member of Parliament for Odododiodioo and one other person.

Brandishing, a copy of the Supreme Court judgment, Nii Ayi Bonte, told The Herald that he has been given the authority to perform the necessary traditional rites and ceremonies towards the celebration of the Homowo, and he has since taken over the palace and performed some of the rites.

He warned the security agencies not to offer any form of protection sought by Dr. Blankson to celebrate the annual Homowo festival, adding “when the Supreme Court gives a ruling even the president must obey. He is a trouble maker and the security agencies must watch him”.

The Gbese Mantse maintained that Dr. Blankson was not customarily nominated, elected and installed as Ga Mantse and even the Abola Kpiam Royal Family which he claims he hails from, has disowned him, therefore, he is not recognized and must henceforth desist from holding himself out as Ga Mantse.

Another person who identified himself as the Ga Dzasetse, in a separate interview, asked that the Ga Mantse who prefers to be called Dr. Jo Blankson, must be ignored.

Nii Yartey Otoga, described Dr. Jo Blankson as a provocative person who the security agencies must keep on their radar else he would cause trouble.

He advised Dr. Jo Blankson to deal with all the numerous cases filed against him before the Greater Accra House of Chiefs by all the royal families; Nii Amugi We, Teiko Tsru We, Tachie Kommey We and the Abola Kpiam We and get himself gazetted before holding claim to Ga Stool.

Both The Gbese Mantse and Ga Dzasetse denied knowing who Nii Tetteh Quaye II is, and his connection to Ga Mantse?

Meanwhile, documents obtained from the Supreme Court by this paper revealed that the court has by majority decision ruled in favour of Mr. Okine to take control of the Gbese Mantse’s Palace in Accra.

The Supreme Court judges who sat on the case include Justice Sophia Akuffo, Justice Mrs. S.O.A. Adinyira, Justice Sule Gbadebge, Justice Mrs. V. Akoto-Bamfo with Justice William Atuguba, the Deputy Chief Justice presiding.

Nii TackieTawiah III whose status as Ga Mantse has consistently been challenged recently openly criticized President Mills for ignoring him and other Ga chiefs by refusing to invite them to state functions since he took office in 2009. But government insists Nii Tackie Tawiah II must first be gazetted before he will be officially recognized.

However, the Ga Mantse insists it was time President Mills discards the notion that he (the GaMantse), was installed by the NPP government; therefore his administration will never be associated with him. He accused the Mills' administration of deliberately sidelining him and sought to remind the president that Ga chiefs are not fools to be sitting in Accra and not be invited to state functions.

"The President of the Republic of Ghana is so fully persuaded that the NPP had installed the Ga Mantse, the least he can do is provide evidential proof. He must be able to tell us how this manifested. He more than anybody else knows that this is impossibility. Additionally, we're not fools sitting in Accra, because the President cannot proceed on the basis he is doing," he averred.

A visibly angry and highly agitated NiiTackieTawiah opened up to what he perceives as injustices being perpetuated by the Mills' administration against the Ga State during an exclusive press briefing held after a durbar of chiefs at the GaMantse's palace recently.

By Larry-Alans Dogbey

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Africans look up to Ghana as a toast - Bagbin

Mr Alban Kingsford Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, on Tuesday observed that the rest of Africa was looking up to Ghana as a toast to move the continent forward. He said in order not to fail people on the continent, Ghanaians should strive to live on values and principles, and work hard to improve the lives of majority of the people.

Mr Bagbin made the observation when he paid his maiden working visit to the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) in Tema to interact with management and staff of the Corporation. He pointed out that the country would not develop if the citizenry continued to live in the culture of corruption. The Minister, therefore, advised Ghanaians to reflect soberly on their lives, and strive to lead upright lives devoid of corrupt practices. Mr Bagbin advised management of TDC to guard against gluttony and greed in the allocation of lands, since they were major drawbacks on the country's development efforts.

On encroachments, he pointed out that they were part of insanity and indiscipline in society, and appealed to the law enforcement agencies to assist TDC to enforce the laws on its encroached lands. He advised management and staff of the corporation to help reduce land litigations at the law courts, by ensuring that the right thing was done at the right time.

Mr Joe Abbey, Acting Managing Director of TDC, expressed worry about regular encroachments on the corporation's lands at Communities 23 and 24 by land guards, and urged the Ministry to help abate the encroachments. Mr Abbey suggested that a ministerial intervention was the only possible way of bringing an end to the impasse between the Corporation and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly on the issuing of land permits.

Kasa Organises Financial Management Workshop for CSOs in the Natural Resource and Environment Sector

Kasa, a civil society support mechanism operates within the natural resource and environment sector in Ghana with the main objective of supporting civil society, research and media organisations to advocate in a concerted manner for transparency and accountability in the natural resource and environment sector.

The project facilitates strengthening of civil society engagement in natural resource and environment sector through supporting of research and evidence-based advocacy, provision of grants to aid organisations in their work and facilitate information-sharing platforms between stakeholders in the sub-sectors of forestry, mining, environment, oil and gas, etc in various national forums bringing together state and non-state actors.

Capacity building support is another core tenet of Kasa’s work through which learning events are organised to meet capacity building needs of partners. In line with this, a financial management training workshop is being organised for fifty-two (52) financial staff of partner civil society organisations working in the sub-sectors of mining, environment, land, forestry, the media and others. These organisations have a national spread from the north to the south of the country.

The three day programme which is being held in Noda Hotel, Kumasi from May 17-19, 2010 has the objective of assisting participants to enhance skills in financial management and to ensure that partner financial officers have a clear understanding of the basic financial books and records that need to be kept to present a complete true and fair view of the financial activities of their organisation. Some of the areas for the training include general principles of Donor Funds Management, Budget and Budgetary controls, Roles and Responsibilities of Finance and Programme Management, etc.

At the opening session, the Kasa Project Manager mentioned that, the Financial Management Workshop is important because Kasa provides grants to partners to facilitate their in their different sub-sectors and this brings into sharp focus the essential point of providing grantees with the current trends in financial management principles in order for funding to be well utilised and to upgrade the skills of partners to be able to source for funding from various organisations and manage it well in order for continuity in their work in the sector.

Participants’ expectations cut across learning on internal controls, managing risks, the role of budgets, basic accounting principles and budgetary controls, financial transparency and the issue of fraud both perceived and real.

In the first session of the workshop presentations on the issues of Corporate Governance and General Principles of Donor Funds were made and a discussion session followed to clarify some issues. Under general financial management the issues to be highlighted during the workshop are issues of accountability and internationally acceptable financial standards, budgets and financial planning, internal controls, book-keeping and accounting, Financial Reporting etc.

At the end of the workshop it is expected that participants would have enhanced their knowledge and skills in the concepts of financial management and review of financial reports and also be exposed to donor guidelines for grants.