Ghana threatens to prosecute U. S. oil firm for spillages

09:36, October 14, 2010      

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American oil company, Kosmos Energy, might face prosecution if it failed to pay the fine imposed on it by the Ghanaian environmental authorities for oil spillage into the sea, a senior attorney general said on Wednesday.

Ghana expected the Texas-based oil and gas exploration company to comply with the orders of the environmental authorities, Deputy Attorney General Kodjo Barten Oduro told the media.

Kosmos discovered the Jubilee Oil Field in 2007 at the Gulf of Guinea's Tano Basin, 12 km from the Ghanaian coastline and 95 km southwest of the port city of Takoradi, and has been expecting an area of over 1760 square km ever since.

At the end of July, a ministerial committee, set up to probe into the alleged spillage of toxic substances into Ghanaian sea, announced a fine of 35 million U.S. dollars on Kosmos, which it said was responsible for the spillages in December 2009 and in March and May.

In a three-page strong-worded letter to the Ghanaian authorities last month, Kosmos made it clear that it would not pay the fine, referring to it 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.

At the press briefing, the deputy attorney general insisted that "these are laws which must be obeyed by every company and so we expect them to settle the issues with the Ministry of Environment".

Oduro declared that in the event of Kosmos' refusal to pay the fine the Ghanaian authorities would have no choice but to prosecute the company in court.

Source: Xinhua


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