Kosmos Energy may not sell Ghana stake after securing $750m IFC loan

oilPrivate equity-backed Kosmos Energy said it had secured a $750 million loan facility to fund the development of its large oil discoveries in Ghana, raising doubts about a planned $3 billion sale of the fields.

Kosmos said in a statement on Tuesday that the World Bank, Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and others had agreed to provide the cash

“It provides Kosmos with the financial resources necessary to fully develop the first phase of the Jubilee oil field,” said W. Greg Dunlevy, Kosmos Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Kosmos was not available for comment on whether it planned to sell the fields.

Banking and oil industry sources said the Dallas-based company had retained Standard Chartered to sound out potential buyers for its interest in Ghana’s Jubilee Field, which Kosmos said was the largest oil discovery in the world in 2007. Analysts said earlier this year Kosmos was likely selling because the tough financing market would make it difficult for it to raise cash to fund development.

The debt facilities, which follow an easing in credit markets, may mean Kosmos will press ahead rather than sell the asset.

“It suggests they don’t have to sell,” said Tim Hurst-Brown, oil analyst at Mirabaud. However, the facility could also be a tactic to improve Kosmos’s bargaining power with potential buyers, Hurst-Brown said.

Kosmos is part-owned by private-equity giant Blackstone. In May, Blackstone’s Chief Operating Officer Tony James said the fund may be looking to exit an energy company it was invested in.

James did not identify the company but he said the business, like Kosmos, had made major hydrocarbon discoveries, suggesting he could be referring to the explorer.

Chinese state oil company CNOOC, India’s ONGC and Western oil majors were seen as potential buyers of the Ghanaian interests, which analysts said could be worth more than $3 billion.

Ghana’s deputy energy minister Kwabena Donkor said last week that Ghana’s state oil company GNPC was interested in buying Kosmos’s stake in the offshore field.

Kosmos’s partners in the field include London-based Tullow Oil and U.S. oil producer Anadarko Petroleum.

Source: Reuters

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