"Faced with the militant peoples of the ex-colonial territories in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, imperialism simply switches tactics. Without a qualm it dispenses with its flags, and even with certain of its more hated expatriate officials. This means, so it claims, that it is 'giving' independence to its former subjects, to be followed by 'aid' for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about 'freedom', which has come to be known as neo-colonialism." — Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism
"Oil profits generally seem to find their way by some invisible pipeline into private pockets." — Lloyd George
"Oilmen are like cats; you can never tell from the sounds of them whether they are fighting or making love." — Calouste Gulbenkian
Three pieces in Ghana's Daily Graphic issue of December 2, 2009, made very interesting reading and they prompted this essay, which represents my contribution to the ongoing debate on Ghana's new-found oil and gas wells (wealth?).
In the said edition, Ghana's "Biggest selling newspaper since 1950," blared in its front-page headline, "SCRAMBLE FOR GHANA'S OIL."
The story tells how two Western oil multinationals (ExxonMobil and BP) are embroiled in a titanic struggle over Ghana's emerging oil industry. The two titans are struggling to buy Kosmos Energy's one-quarter share of the Jubilee Oilfields, which are valued at more than $4 billion.
The story then goes on to tell how the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is struggling to look after Ghana's interest by wading into the buyout dispute. According to the paper, the director of exploration at GNPC, Mr. Thomas Manu, vowed that:
The GNPC is looking at Ghana's interest first, just like other companies will look at their shareholders' interest. We are committed to ensuring that Ghanaians derived the maximum benefit from the oil find.
...and in so doing the GNPC is mandated to ensure that the country derives the maximum benefit from its hydrocarbon and petroleum resources.
Amen, amen, amen!