The meeting, which lasted for less than three hours, was intended to allow both parties to carefully study the existing exploration agreement which had been signed between the government and Kosmos before proceeding to take any concrete decision on the sale proposal.
While Kosmos is of the view that it does not need the government’s consent before offloading its shares, the government, on the other hand, maintains that its consent is needed before any such move can be made.
The government’s position is that any move to offload the shares should be open and transparent and must follow due process.
A source at the Ministry of Energy told the Daily Graphic that after the crucial meeting yesterday, the Ministry of Energy, which represented the government, had insisted that the procedure adopted by Kosmos to offload its shares to ExxonMobil was wrong.
Consequently, it said the ministry had asked Kosmos to respect the terms of the agreement it entered into with the government for the exploration of oil in the county and reverse its earlier stance.
Earlier in the year the government had raised issue with Kosmos over its private arrangement to sell its shares without following due process and its contractual obligations to Ghana.
The government was also concerned about the action by Kosmos not to open up to other companies that had shown interest in the Jubilee Fields.
The source said the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and the Ministry of Energy had to determine whether an entity would bring value in partnership with the government in the exploration of oil before brokering any partnership arrangement.
The source said it was for that reason that the government had declined to give its consent to the sale of Kosmos’ shares to ExxonMobil.
Last week, the government rejected the sale and purchase agreement entered into between Kosmos and ExxonMobil in which the former sought to offload its shares in the Jubilee Fields to the latter.
A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, said the sale agreement breached legal procedure because the prior consent of the government had not been sought.
He said Kosmos had earlier apologised to the government after the government had discovered that the oil company had commenced talks with ExxonMobil without the government’s prior consent.
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa cited PNDC Law 84, the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law 1984, to buttress his contention.
Section 22 under Part III of the law regarding the rights and obligations of contractors and sub-contractors provides: “A contractor or sub-contractor shall not assign, enter directly or indirectly, his rights and obligations under a petroleum sub-contract, in whole or in part, to a third party without prior written consent of the secretary.”
Source: Daily Graphic