U.S. oil company refuses to pay fine for oil spill off Ghana

12:58, September 22, 2010      

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Kosmos Energy, a Texas-based oil and gas exploration company, has made it clear that it would not pay the fine of 35 million U.S. dollars imposed on it by the Ghanaian authorities for the alleged spillage of 706 barrels of toxic substances into the sea.

In a three-page strong-worded letter, Kosmos referred to the fine as baseless and unlawful although the permit issued by the Ghanaian government indicated that fines were to be imposed in the event of negligence and violation of the permit conditions.

Official sources told Xinhua on Tuesday that the letter was addressed to the attorney-general and minister for justice, Betty Mould Iddrisu, and copied to President John Evans Atta Mills and Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Sherry Ayittey.

Kosmos discovered the Jubilee Oil Field in 2007 at the Gulf of Guinea's Tano Basin, about 12 km from the Ghanaian coastline and 95 km southwest of the port city of Takoradi. It has been expecting an area of more than 1,760 square km ever since.

Kosmos Energy Ghana is a joint venture with Anadarkom, taking 30.875 percent of its working interest.

Blatantly defying all procedures and regulations by the Ghanaian authorities, Kosmos said the fine was "totally, unlawful, unconstitutional, ultra vires and without basis."

At the end July, a ministerial committee was set up to probe into the alleged spillage of toxic substances into Ghanaian sea, announcing a fine of 35 million dollars. Kosmos is held responsible for the spillages which occurred respectively in December 2009, in March and in May.

Kosmos argued in the letter that a minister had no power under the Ghanaian Constitution or any other law of the country to impose a fine on any person in the event of an oil spillage.

It asked the attorney-general to endeavor to halt a process it described as illegal, procedurally fatal and flawed.

Source: Xinhua


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