The government of Ghana has pledged to do ‘whatever it takes within the law to protect the national interest at all times,’ in the matter of the sale of Kosmos Energy’s stake in the Jubilee oil field to ExxonMobil.
In a press release signed by the Minister of Energy Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei and obtained by ghanabusinessnews.com Friday August 6, 2010, government says Kosmos Energy on June 28, 2010 wrote to it asking for its consent to a Sale and Purchase Agreement it had signed with ExxonMobil as part of its efforts to offload its shares in the Jubilee fields.
The release indicated that government subsequently set up a committee to look into the matter and the committee has finished its work and submitted its report to governmet.
Government, the release said is studying the report and would make its official position on the matter known soon.
The sale of Kosmos Energy’s stake in the country’s largest oil field has been dogged with controversies since Kosmos made its intention to sell.
Kosmos has been accused by the government of Ghana of breaching the terms of the country’s petroleum deal which stipulates that no data shall be opened to outsiders. The agreement also indicates that members of the consortium in the Jubilee field should be given the first option should any one member decide to sell its stake. Kosmos did not abide by these terms, government officials have said.
Several other interests, including India and China national oil companies have offered to buy the stake. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has indicated its readiness to purchase the stake as well.
While observers of the country’s emerging oil industry await government’s ‘official position’ on the matter, it is feared that commercial production of oil scheduled to begin in the last quarter of the year may be delayed due to these wranglings. Meanwhile, another development that is likely to hold back work in the field is the suspension of the political risk cover by the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
MIGA in a statement last week said it has together with its partners suspended a $225 million political risk guarantee contract for the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel that will produce and process oil and gas from the Jubilee offshore oil field in Ghana.
In the joint statement issued on MIGA’s website Thursday July 29, 2010, it said the parties agreed to this suspension in order to conduct due diligence into the conditions of a service contract between MODEC and Strategic Oil and Gas Resources (Strat Oil).
“The parties note they agreed on a suspension because of the importance of the project in Ghana and their shared intention to have all issues resolved as soon as possible so that the project can be resumed,” it added.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi