Tsatsu Tsikata and George Owusu have been extraordinarily influential in guiding and developing the quest for oil in Ghana.

Oil rig from GhanaWeb photo archive

I recently came across articles that praise each of them and will copy both complete articles below.Both are puff pieces in that they speak only to the good in their subjects, and address none of the questionable issues. There is much more to the stories of both men. Most of the published information about either man is heavily slanted by political opinion. So one has to read a great many stories, and then try to read between the lines and sort out what looks like the truth. Nevertheless, despite obvious bias, both articles below are interesting and informative.

I am fairly certain Ghana’s current oil finds were enabled by the fact that the technology now exists for deep water drilling, and the price of oil makes deep water wells economically practical. Without those two features in place, credit or blame for Ghana producing oil or not are somewhat irrelevant.

The Kufuor NPP government spent 6 years trying to put Tsatsu Tsikata in jail. They finally did near the end of their term, but he has since been released.

More recently George Owusu has encountered difficulties with the current NDC government. I am not certain about the accuracy of the information in the linked story about Kosmos’ share, dated Nov. 16. It presents a rather interesting picture of what has been happening regarding the Ghana government, Kosmos, Exxon and the Chinese.

Herewith, the two profile articles describing these giants of Ghana oil:

Oil find in Ghana – Sam Jonah Praises GNPC
16 September 2009
Sam Jonah

I have followed with keen interest the news of a commercial oil find in Ghana and the optimism that it has engendered in the country.

There is a welcome buoyancy in the mood of many Ghanaians as they look forward to being an oil-producing country.

There are many people and institutions that deserve credit for the oil find — members of staff of the GNPC through to its present staff and of course to the public that patiently supported the difficult, protracted but unavoidable exploration effort.

There is indeed enough credit to go round.

I cannot therefore help being disappointed that amidst all the celebrations, no mention is made of the pioneering role of Tsatsu Tsikata.

When I compare the exciting prospects generated by the discovery with the state of affairs 20-odd years ago, I am reminded of the contrast between the situation of the mining sector before and after the implementation of the reforms of the mid-1980s.

I first joined the board of the Minerals Commission in September 1984. At that time, the mining sector was in a parlous state.

As a result of the work done by a few dedicated people under the leadership of Kofi Ansah, the sector was completely transformed in less than a decade.

In the mining sector, we at least had the benefit of over 100 years of mining and considerable technical expertise.

The oil sector in the early 1980s did not enjoy any such stature. I recall the scepticism with which prospects of Ghana finding oil in commercial quantities was greeted at the time.

I remember in 1985, while on a trip to the U.S., asking a chief executive of one of the major oil companies why they were not showing interest in searching for oil in Ghana.

His response was that their geophysicists had told them that our geological structures were too tight and too badly faulted to host significant reservoirs.

Today, we know just how wrong those geophysicists were. One man who defied the prevailing scepticism of the time and, with a persistence bordering on stubbornness, led the efforts to get us where we are today, is Tsatsu Tsikata.

Indeed, when I shared with him, shortly after it was made, the observation by the chief executive of the oil major, Tsatsu’s response was: “Let’s all wait and see”.

Tsatsu led in the rethinking of petroleum sector policy. He led in crafting the petroleum (Exploration and Production) law that was the “investment code” for the oil sector.

He led in drafting model exploration agreements including fiscal regime and Accounting Guide that is still state-of-the-art 20 years later.

He led in the development of a specific Petroleum Income Tax Law.

Beyond this intellectual and professional contribution Tsatsu emerged as a corporate leader — building GNPC itself from the ground up.

His vision was sufficiently infectious to attract even hard-nosed oil men to work on Ghana’s potential, often with very little reward.

However, it is in his identification, recruitment and promotion of local talent that Tsatsu truly excelled.

He was truly passionate about building the capacity of Ghanaian professionals in the sector.

Companies and government’s that had dealings with GNPC were pressured into funding scholarships and providing or funding attachments for GNPC staff and even staff from related MDAs.

Tsatsu foresaw that this investment would in its own way be as valuable to Ghana as any oil find. And history has proved him right.

Today, even before the first oil has flowed, Ghana has a solid cadre of industry professionals ready, given the opportunity, to lead us into the next phase of oil industry development.

We have seasoned exploration geologists and geophysicists, drilling engineers, field development engineers.

We have specialised market and financial analysts and lawyers. In the late 1980s GNPC was already developing boat and helicopter services expertise for production operations. In the 1980s (20 years before the West African Gas Pipeline and before climate change became a global preoccupation), GNPC was training staff in the economics and management of natural gas.

Tsatsu was relentless, even obsessive, about the meticulous exploration of Ghana’s oil potential.

He recognised that geological and geophysical data were essential preconditions for any serious effort to attract private capital into exploration efforts.

He thus focused GNPC’s meagre resources on an ambitious data project.

GNPC scoured corporate and public archives around the world collecting geological and seismic materials, data and analysts from earlier exploration efforts.

GNPC then constructed the most complete database of seismic information about Ghana anywhere in the world.

Then through a joint venture with the Norwegian state oil company, GNPC seismologists began to reprocess and re-analyse this data using new technology. Tsatsu did not stop with old data.

He worked with state oil companies from Canada (Petro-Canada International), Norway (Statoil) and Brazil (Petrobras) and Nigeria (NNPC’s seismic subsidiary) to acquire new data.

Through these bilateral arrangements GNPC staff became familiar with modern technology such as “3-D” seismic surveys.

Eventually, Tsatsu persuaded these collaborators to support GNPC’s acquisition of the expensive computer technology to enable her Ghanaian explorationists to undertake much of this analysis in Ghana.

This in turn provided a platform for a massive upgrade of GNPC’s computer technology with positive impacts on all other sectors of its work and with distinct benefits for example for Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

It was the availability of this extensive database and the challenging analyses of old data by Ghanaian geophysicists working under Tsatsu that made Ghana such an attractive exploration destination in the mid-’80s despite earlier scepticism.

It was the ceaseless interpretation and re-interpretation of the GNPC’s growing geological and geophysical database inspired by and supervised by Tsatsu that identified many new prospects.

Tsatsu literally set the course of Ghana’s exploration drilling for an entire generation. Those who worked with him in the sector are in a better position than I to give further details.

But I saw enough to be able to say that his investment in institution building and in exploration have contributed immensely to the recent discoveries at Cape Three Points.

For the health of our nation, for the sake of posterity and the development of a culture that recognises selfless and dedicated service, we must all acknowledge the immense contribution that Tsatsu made to the development of the petroleum sector.

It is not too late to do so.

* * *

History of Oil Discovery In Ghana-The EO Groups Role!!!
19 November 2009
Afrikan Post USA (no author named)

Since independence it has been part of every government’s policy to explore Ghana’s hydrocarbon deposits.

Historically, exploration for oil and gas reserves in Ghana had been very limited due to the high risk nature of its terrain and low oil price environment in 2004 when the Kosmos /E.O group made initial contact with GNPC.

Between 1898 to the late nineties an estimated hundred exploration wells had been drilled in Ghana with no significant discovery except for the Saltpond oil find in 1970.

Our expert opinion on the recent oil discovery in Ghana is that it should be seen as a blessing that should serve as a catalyst to drive investment to the country.

It is imperative that we give credit to Ghanaians who have at various times facilitated the inflow of investors into Ghana.

It is an established historical fact that the US diasporans have been trail blazers of solid investment to Ghana. Tribute should be paid to Mr.Ken Ofori- Atta who established the Ghana stock exchange (Databank) in Ghana. Dr. Manny Tuffour who established the Aniwaa Hospital at a location near Kumasi, Mr. Kofi Amoah who brought Western Union to Ghana and many others in various professional disciplines.

Credit also goes to Mr.Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of GNPC, Mr.Sekyere Abankwah, Mr. Moses Boateng and the exploration team led by Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye and supported by the Mr.Thomas Manu for their untiring efforts in promoting Ghana’s hydrocarbon potential overseas in the past.

In recent times some noble Ghanaian professionals who have a clear and documented track record of Humanitarian assistance to Ghana dating back to the nineties during President Rawlings era are being placed under the political radar for their roles in facilitating investment in the oil sector. Their honorable reputation is being ripped apart when factual and verifiable information is available.

Here are some facts gathered from our expert investigations into the activities of E.O Group. The E.O group is wholly owned by two Ghanaians being Mr. George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Kwame Bawuah -Edusei.

Dr. Kwame Bawuah- Edusei is a physician trained in Ghana and specialized in Family Medicine in The US. He is a known community leader who worked as a private physician partner in various medical clinics until he opened his own in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1994 he took a medical team to Ghana to work in deprived areas and small villages around the Volta Lake, Buduburam refugee camp, Nima in Accra , Akwatia Zongo and other places.

Dr.Kwame Bawuah- Edusei later initiated medical missions to the Northern parts of Ghana as a follow up.

George Owusu on the other hand is a trained Environmental scientist and worked in the energy industry for about twenty years and rose to the rank of Commodity manager for Shell oil Company in the US. He was a known community leader in Houston, Texas at the time of his retirement.

It is on record that the E.O Group partners distributed ICT equipments, books, office furniture and others to various traditional bodies to the youth in Ghana in the late 1990.

Inspite of their humanitarian efforts the partners in 1999 embarked on a job creation venture to reduce poverty. Their first business venture was the formation of E-link Inc. in 1999 to use satellite technology to transfer data between West Africa and United States. The other partners in this venture were Mr. Kwabena Darko of Darko Farms and one Mr.Yaw Sarpong. The venture folded in 2001 due to some challenges.

Mr. George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Bawuah-Edusei regrouped to form the E.O group in 2002 to focus on the potential energy industry in Ghana.

The following companies had been to Ghana for exploration activities without success: NUEVO 1998, Dana 1999, Hunt oil 1999, Fusion oil and gas from Australia in 1999, Santa Fe, 2000. Unfortunately all the wells drilled by these companies yielded no viable commercial discoveries.

The oil industry worldwide therefore regarded Ghana as a place too risky and expensive and their petroleum agreements business unfriendly. It is against this background that the E.O Group sought to convince international oil companies to come to Ghana and overcome all the biases of Africa and invest in what had become known as the “grave yard”

In 2001 with the help of the Greater Houston Partnership, a major business group in Houston, Texas dedicated to the promotion of Business between Houston, Texas companies and the rest of the world,Mr. George Owusu organized a conference in Houston to enable Ghana’s energy experts from GNPC and the Energy ministry address the industry on the offshore hydrocarbon potentials in the Country. Many companies in Texas and the rest of the World attended the conference. The E.O Group facilitated a visit to Ghana by Vanco Energy.

As a result of the E.O groups interaction with industry experts in both Ghana and the USA they stepped up their effort to find a suitable partner for a prospecting lease with the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC). The group was able to partner with Ennex Energy of Ireland who came to Ghana but Ennex gave up on the deal as they evaluated Ghana too risky to invest. The EO group solicited interest from many companies including Texaco, Oxy, Shell, Hess, Addax Petroleum of Switzerland and the Chinese oil company but they were all reluctant due to the risk.

Talking about risk, it costs one million dollars a day to drill an oil well. It can cost up to 80 million dollars to drill one oil well.

In December 2003,Mr. George Owusu came into contact with the Technical personnel of Kosmos Energy whose primary focus was to explore for high risk petroleum prospects in Africa. This group all previously of Triton Energy found oil in Equatorial Guinea in 1999.

The E.O group and Kosmos then formed a partnership to review data in Ghana and initiate the negotiation of a Petroleum Agreement. When in 2004 the Kosmos / E.O group submitted an application for the West Cape Three Points Block, two other companies being Africa Petroleum and Sahara Petroleum submitted their applications for the same block. GNPC after the necessary due diligence approved the application from the Kosmos/E.O Group. The Kosmos /E.O Group therefore won on merit particularly due to their proven track record, financial base and the caliber of experts behind them.

The E.O Group and Kosmos on the sidelines entered into private negotiations and E.O was entitled to 3.5% working interest. They could have asked for a higher percentage in accordance with industry practice. The 3.5% is a private arrangement with Kosmos Energy and not the Ghana Government.

The agreement between Kosmos / E.O Group and GNPC was in accordance with the Ghana Petroleum Law and was approved by the GNPC Board, the ministry of Energy, and upon approval by Cabinet was presented for ratification by Parliament in July 2004.

Neither of the partners of the E.O group, Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei and Mr.George Yaw Owusu were party nor Government officials during these negotiations till approval in July 2004.

It took the Kosmos /EO Group three years from agreement signing in 2004 to oil find in the deep waters of Ghana in June 2007 which is now a record in Africa. It is also possibly one of the largest oil finds in the last decade offshore West Africa

All the four wells drilled by the Kosmos/E.O group encountered significant accumulation of hydrocarbons.

Later in 2006 Kosmos Energy added Anadarko Energy as partner to the WTCP block.

It is worth noting that after the negotiations and agreement was signed in July 2004 Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei sacrificed and took an appointment as Ambassador to UN in Geneva, Switzerland/Austria in August 2004 and in September 2006 he was made Ambassador to the United States.

As a physician in the Diaspora it was a big pay cut. His duty tour ended on February 15, 2009. Within these five years the E.O group had been inactive and Mr. George Owusu had taken over the few affairs of the Group.

Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei who a very respected and influential personality within the Ghanaian community has gone back to his medical practice in the Washington Metro Area. He has also moved back to the House he purchased about fourteen years ago where he lived before his appointment as Ambassador.

Our expect investigations have also revealed that Anadarko, one of the partners in the Jubilee field waited till oil discovery and requested a comprehensive review of Kosmos and the E.O group’s operations which both partners gave their maximum cooperation. The New Government in Ghana has also conducted their review which E.O Group has fully been cooperative. Prior to Dr.Kwame Bawuah-Edusei’s appointment he was in no doubt screened by Ghana, Swiss, Austria, United Nations and the United States security apparatus with a clean record. His tenure in the US was exemplary. The E.O Group has thus been transparent in all their activities.

Considering the undeniable facts in the midst of the political rumblings on the activities of the E.O group I believe the Government of Ghana should round it up and take a positive stance in ensuring that the Country would leap to a middle income status.

There is no need to politicize the good intentions of our honorable citizens because it makes it a disincentive to future investment prospects. Ghanaians living in the Diaspora have been involved in life saving events in Ghana and their efforts must be applauded.

Let us not crisscross corporate greed and misplaced politics to mar our God given potentials.

The E.O Group participation solidifies local content and must be lauded in our efforts to promote long and sustainable investment in Ghana.