Ghana’s Western neighbor Ivory Coast is reportedly laying claims to portions of the huge oil wealth in the deep waters of the Western Region.

Map with Dzata oil field and Jubilee field off Cape Three Points Ghana (click to enlarge)

In a move to save the situation, Ghana has begun an urgent move to pass a new law that seeks to establish the Ghana Boundary Commission to undertake negotiations to determine and demarcate Ghana’s land boundaries and de-limit Ghana’s maritime boundaries.

The news of Ivory Coast’s claim to parts of Ghana’s oil fields comes just days after United States operator Vanco struck oil in the deep-water Dzata-1 well, off Ghana’s Cape Three Points near Ivory Coast, further boosting the oil wealth in Ghana’s booming offshore Tano basin.
However the Hon Collins Dauda said he is confident Ghana and Ivory Coast will be able to resolve the matter without any conflict due to the good relations between the two countries. (GhanaWeb)

I surely hope the Hon. Collins Dauda is correct.

[UPDATE: Added March 5, from MyJoyOnline, see below for the rest of the article
Ivorian authorities are only calling for a negotiation of the maritime border between the two countries.]

The Vanguard tells us:

Industry sources say the crude found off Ghana is of a quality even easier to refine than the light, sweet crude found in Nigeria, one of the world’s largest oil producers.

Revenue derived from oil will be invested in the national power supply, with improvements to the road network and water supply, construction of a deep sea oil port and revamping railway lines, Atta-Mills said.

“These projects will not only create significant employment themselves but will also support the growth of other industries,” he told the parliamentarians

My Joy Online has a bit more detail on the dispute:

Head of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peace-Keeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Aning, says Ivory Coast’s claim to portions of Ghana’s oil fields exemplifies “a failure of the state institutions to protect our national interest.”

Dr Aning said there is a general lack of seriousness in ensuring the country’s boundaries are protected.

Ivory Coast has sent the government of Ghana a correspondence expressing outright disrespect for an existing “median line” that divides the two countries.

The Francophone country consequently served the United Nations with a similar correspondence saying it does not respect a temporary boundary between the two countries.

The Ghana Government is expecting Parliament to quickly deliberate on a bill that would establish a boundary commission to negotiate Ghana’s maritime boundaries with Ivory Coast.

The Ghana Boundaries Commission Bill has been sent to Parliament under a certificate of urgency, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Collins Dauda told the Super Morning Show on Thursday.

“A national boundaries commission will be put in place that would engage our neighbours in La Cote d’Ivoire with a view of negotiating our maritime boundary between ourselves and our brothers in Ivory Coast,” he said.

Dr Aning said the bill must be given a strong bi-partisan urgency to ensure that the country derives the most out of its oil resource.

The security expert is also recommending a solid technical documentation studied by lawyers with expertise on petroleum matters.

Diplomatic implications

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the emerging claim from Ivory Coast for portions of the oil fields in the Western Region is a very delicate matter.

Collins Dauda said the issue has serious international and diplomatic repercussions.

“We have not been able, as a country, to determine our boundary with Ivory Coast and there is the need for us to now determine the maritime boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast,” he said.

Mr Dauda however said both countries have, for years, respected “a median line” between them that cannot be trespassed.

“All of a sudden, with the oil find, Ivory Coast is making a claim that is disrespecting this median line we have all respected. In which case we would be affected or the oil find will be affected,” he said.

Baseless claim

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister said the claim by Ivory Coast is baseless.

This, according to him, is because the claim by the Francophone country is rather parallel to certain internationally acceptable standards of determining maritime boundaries.”

Collins Dauda said, last year, Ghana appealed to the United Nations to extend its maritime boundary by 200 nautical miles.

As a precondition, the UN directed the country to negotiate boundaries with its neighbours, he disclosed.

Disrespect for ‘median line’

The latest turn of events may even be more surprising as Ivory Coast has already sent a correspondence to the Republic of Ghana, expressing disrespect for the median line the two countries have agreed upon for years.

Consequently, Ivory Coast has made a submission to the United Nations laying claim to portions of the Ghana’s oil find.

Drilling on the Dzata-1 well began almost a year ago, the map and photo, above and below, accompany this article from April 2009:

ACCRA, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Vanco Ghana Ltd. and LUKOIL Overseas Ghana Ltd., signed a new Petroleum Agreement, covering the Cape Three Points Deepwater block. This agreement will replace the existing Petroleum Agreement which expires at the end of April 2009. The new agreement provides Vanco and LUKOIL with the opportunity to continue the exploration of the area, during which new 3D seismic and additional drilling activities are planned. The new agreement also provides GNPC and the government of Ghana with significant commercial benefits, including higher royalty and increased GNPC participation. The new Petroleum Agreement also gives ownership of Associated Gas to the State.

The Aban Abraham drillship mobilized to Ghana to drill the Dzata Prospect. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Cape Three Points Deepwater block encompasses an area of 5,146 square kilometers in water depths ranging from 200 to 3,000 meters in the Tano Basin. Vanco (Operator) holds a 28.34% participating interest in the Cape Three Points Deepwater block with LUKOIL holding a 56.66% participating interest. GNPC, the state oil company, holds a 15% carried interest, with the option to acquire up to an additional 5% in any commercial discovery.

The new agreement comes as the Aban Abraham deepwater drillship departs Cape Town, South Africa after completing final retrofit operations to enable the unit to drill in water depths of up to 2,000 meters. The Aban Abraham will mobilize to Ghana to commence the Dzata-1 exploratory well by the end of April 2009.

Situated in 1,874 meters (6,148 feet) water depth, the Dzata Prospect is a large anticlinal structure with numerous Upper and Lower Cretaceous potential reservoir horizons and distinct direct hydrocarbon indicators, including flat spots and a “gas chimney.” The well will be drilled to a total depth of approximately 4,786 meters, or 2,912 meters below the mud line.

“The Aban Abraham drilling unit is finally ready to drill this exciting prospect where we are hopeful of a significant discovery,” says Vanco President, Gene Van Dyke. “Vanco and LUKOIL appreciate the assistance and support of GNPC and the Ministry of Energy in completing the new Petroleum Agreement which will allow the partnership to continue the aggressive exploration of the Cape Three Points Deep Water block.”

Vanco is a leading deepwater independent with activity in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and the Ukrainian Black Sea.

——–

Added March 5:

Dzata 1 oil well is within Ghana’s boundary – Vanco Oil

The Chief Operating Officer of Vanco Limited, J.L Mitchell, operators of the Dzata- 1 Well, located offshore Ghana, in the Tano basin of the Cape three points Deep Water Block, has told Citi News that their block is well within the maritime boundaries of Ghana.

According to him, Vanco has no concern at all over reports that neighboring Ivory Coast is making claims for some parts of Ghana’s maritime Boundary.

The Dzata 1 discovery is the latest in addition to the Jubilee and other oilfields where significant hydrocarbons have been found.

There are speculations that the Dzata 1 discovery which is close to the Ivory Coast boundary may be a contributory factor to Cote D’Ivoire’s claims.

But Mr Mitchell told Citi News from his base in the US that that may not be the case since the Dzata Well is over 200 kilometers away from Ghana’s maritime boundary with cote-d’Ivoire.

“It’s very far; 200 kilometres away from the maritime boundaries and it doesn’t affect us one way or the other…It is well within the Ghanaian maritime boundary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Security Analyst Dr Kwesi Aning says Ghana must take a firm stance as it seeks to enter negotiations with the Ivorians and desist from using the humanitarian approach.

“More often than not, when these problems arise, there is a certain naivety on the Ghanaian side, a certain humanitarian approach, saying we are all brothers and all that – we are not brothers”.

“The Ivorians have a rationale choice attitude to this, they have made their calculations and they are willing to push this demand as far as possible to get what they want and I think it’s crucial that this bill is passed under the certificate of urgency and hopefully, the team that will be put together should be a bi-partisan group of technical experts with the requisite knowledge to ensure that this issue does not become a problem.” He told Citi FM.

He hinted that the Ivorians are better structured and coordinated; making them miles ahead of Ghana as far as the struggle for the demarcation is concerned

He, therefore, advised Government to ensure the passage of the law immediately and provide the requisite resources for a bi-partisan group to promote Ghana’s interest in the matter.

Dr Aning warned that if the right steps are not taken to deal with the situation immediately, Ghana and Ivory Coast may replicate the conflict that ensued between Nigeria and Cameroun over the Bakassi peninsula.

France may support Ivory Coast in Dzata oil debacle – Fellow
By Citifmonline.com | Fri 05th March, 2010 12:55 GMT

A Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs, Dr Ken Ahorsu says the current scramble between Ghana and its neighbor Ivory Coast over the Dzata oil well is not irresolvable.

He has warned however that the French Government could support Ivory Coast against Ghana in the eventuality that the issue blows up beyond the sub-region.

He says the situation could be handled satisfactorily to avert a repeat of the Bakassi Peninsula incident as pertained between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Dr Ahorsu told Citi News that the African Union must first come into the fray before the matter is taken to other international platforms if possible. Ivory Coast has already made a complaint to the UN laying claim to the Dzata well discovered by Vanco oil recently in the Cape Three point fields.

“Ghana really has to do its home work because the Francophone countries have a very firm supporter in France. If you follow the court ruling of the Bakassi Penninsula between Nigeria and Cameroon, internationally everybody believed that France had a huge role to play that influenced the final outcome.

“I don’t want to suspect but I have this uneasy feeling that Ivory Coast might have started stirring the International waters, given the knowledge that they believe they have a supporter in the International system but…I have looked at it from the internet, I have looked at where the new oil is found by Vanco and I don’t think it’s within Ivorian waters.” He said.

According to him, the Government of Ghana has done the right thing by putting together a Border Commission to deal with the issue. Dr Ahorsu believes delimitation of the maritime boundaries between the two countries should not be a difficult task to carry out.

Vanco Ghana dismisses threat to Ghana’s find
Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Petroleum exploration firm, Vanco Ghana Limited, has dismissed suggestions that its oil field in the Western Region is at the centre of a possible boundary dispute between Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The company says its oilfield, known as Gyata 1, is so far away from the maritime boundary between the two countries that it cannot be the subject of any dispute.

Country manger of Vanco Limited, Kofi Afenu, says the Ivorian authorities are only seeking negotiations with Ghana over the Jubilee oilfield, which is owned by Kosmos.

Several miles away

“The distance between the boundary line and then the Gyata 1 well is more than 200 miles…quite far,” Mr Afenu told Joy News’ Sammy Darko.

The Vanco country manager is amazed at news making the rounds in some sections of the media that Ivorian authorities are demanding portions of Ghana’s oilfield.

According to him, the closest well to the Ivorian border is the Jubilee field which is some 60 miles away.

Under no circumstance will Ivory Coast lay claim to the Gyata 1 well which is several miles away, Mr Afenu indicated.

Confusion

The media may have blown the issue out of proportion or perhaps the minister sent the wrong impression to Ghanaians that Ivory Coast is demanding a portion of Ghana’s oil fields.

The facts as discovered by the Myjoyonline.com indicate the Ivorian authorities are only calling for a negotiation of the maritime border between the two countries.

La Cote d’Ivoire has not laid claim to any portion of Ghana’s maritime space, authorities indicate.

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to quickly deliberate on a bill that would establish a boundary commission to negotiate Ghana’s maritime boundaries with Ivory Coast and other neighbouring countries.

The Ghana Boundaries Commission Bill has been sent to Parliament under a certificate of urgency, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Collins Dauda has said.

“A National Boundaries Commission will be put in place that would engage our neighbours in La Cote d’Ivoire with a view of negotiating our maritime boundary between ourselves and our brothers in Ivory Coast,” Mr Dauda said.

A map of the area in contention shows no part of Ghana’s oil field is in danger of a seizure.

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On October 8 Richard Ellimah published the following on GhanaWeb, which articulates many of the important questions for Ghanaians regarding the exploitation of oil resources:
Environmental Impact Assessment Of Jubilee Field And Matters Arising

Ghana Oil truck and worker

Ghana Oil truck and worker

The public hearings which are a mandatory part of the processes towards securing a permit to start oil drilling are almost over. At least, all the oil affected districts – Jomoro, Ellembele, Nzema East, Ahanta West, Shama and Sekondi-Takoradi – have had the opportunity to interrogate the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Tullow Oil and her partners.

Judging from press reportage of the hearings, some critical issues need addressing. First of all, it is obvious that people within the six districts that will be affected barely have enough information about the oil that has been discovered close to them. They therefore are incapable of participating in processes that would help them deal with any possible impacts that will occur. The information they have does not go beyond the rudimentary chorus of “Ghana has discovered oil”. Information is absolutely necessary to enable affected people make crucial choices. Absence of information produces half-truths. As people who will suffer potential impacts of the oil industry, they have a democratic right to information. For instance, to what extent has the district assemblies been updating communities on the impacts of the oil discovery to enable a more coherent response to be prepared? Already, fisher folk in these districts have started suffering some impacts. They have been instructed to steer clear of a particular radius of the oil rig. Incidentally, all the fish appear to have taken cover in areas close to the rig, making it difficult for the fishermen to get them without incurring the displeasure of the navy that patrols our territorial waters.

Furthermore, the public hearings have re-opened debate about environmental impact assessments. Judging from what happens in the mining sector, these are highly technical reports which even the average educated person cannot read and understand, let alone interrogate. The Non-Technical Executive Summary alone of the Jubilee Field EIA is 62 pages. Public hearings are supposed to be an avenue for the oil companies to tell the people how their operations will impact them and the measures that have been proposed to deal with these impacts. At these hearings, the public can question portions of the report that, in their opinion, are unsatisfactory and proceed to make inputs into it. These inputs are then taken onboard in the design of an Environmental Management Plan which the companies are expected to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unfortunately because capacity is low at the local level, the public most times, make little or no inputs at all into the process. Sometimes, the few educated people may also raise issues which are either over-blown because they have not had time to look at the report and make informed comments, or simply make comments out of ignorance. Probably this calls for a review of the design process of the EIA so that it can be disseminated to community groups in a language they understand, over a period of time so that they will be fully armed to question the process. These one-day public hearings where uninformed people are expected to comment on technical documents do not help. One is tempted to describe the process as being only cosmetic. Simplifying the process is critical to enlightening affected people on the potential benefits and problems. When actual drilling begins, they would therefore have been armed and well prepared for the impacts.

Another major concern is the over-concentration of all activities in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis. Curiously, all literature about the oil find acknowledges Takoradi as potentially the most impacted community. Indeed, the non-technical executive summary of the EIA of the Jubilee Field only acknowledges Takoradi Metropolis and Shama District as the most impacted communities. A comprehensive population profiling has been done for these two communities in the document, curiously leaving out the three Nzema Districts and Ahanta-West District. Though attempts have been made to address this in the main technical document, it is still not enough to assuage this unpardonable error. At this stage of project development, it is dangerous to give any group of people the impression that they are being marginalised. As a result of the undue emphasis on Takoradi and Shama District, interventions have been narrowly designed to address their socio-economic problems. It is undisputable that Takoradi is the major urban centre with all the facilities and services that can support the industry. It also does not take away the fact that other satellite communities need to be developed. The best way to do this is to re-locate some of the functions and activities concentrated in Takoradi to communities like Axim, Essiama, Agona Nkwanta and Half-Assini. This, apart from decongesting the Metropolis will also lead to a spread of infrastructural development in the other districts. This requires a concerted policy direction from government to address the imbalances in settlement development in the region.

The oil companies have committed themselves to undertaking rigorous corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a way of ameliorating the impact of their activities on the communities. There is no doubt that oil drilling will have some socio-economic and environmental impacts, though much of the drilling will take place offshore. Designing a comprehensive, community-sensitive and coordinated corporate social responsibility programme will go a long way to help. Historically, CSR has been a voluntary initiative by industry. Current practice has called for a radical review of the way CSR is conceptualised. For instance, in the mining industry CSR has been used as a balm for soothing community demands for fairness in their dealings with the mining companies. More often than not, companies have undertaken social responsibility projects more as a deliberate attempt at boosting their corporate image rather than a genuine effort to address community concerns about their operations. To make it more practical and relevant, I propose that legislation on social responsibility should be passed. Like happens in the forestry sector, companies wishing to undertake oil exploration and drilling should be compelled to sign social responsibility agreements with their catchment communities. This initiative will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will ensure bottom-up development planning by encouraging the fullest participation of ordinary community people in deciding what kind of development they want. Doing this will ensure that resources are channelled to areas where they are specially needed. Besides legislating CSR in the oil sector, there is also the need for a more coordinated approach to providing projects within the oil catchment areas. The district assemblies in these areas should not under any circumstances be sidelined in the provision of CSR. I propose that every CSR endeavour must find space in the Medium Term Development Plans of the district assemblies. This way, development will be better coordinated and ensure that resources are channelled to priority areas of development.

The other concern that the EIA presents is the human resource requirement for the project. According to the report, 760 people will be employed in the initial development phase of the project. This figure will however, drop to 300 during actual drilling. My concern is not with the number but the fact that 50 percent of this 300 will be expatriates before the percentage drops to 10 percent within four to eight years. What this effectively means is that between 4 – 8 years of the project life, only 150 Ghanaians can be employed in the oil business. The 50 percent expatriate participation is extremely high considering that Ghana has enough capacity to handle some of the middle-level positions that the companies will be requiring. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) that has been in the oil business for more than 20 years has enough trained Ghanaians who can handle any position in the companies. Some of these Ghanaians have even supported the oil sector of countries like Qatar, Gabon, Angola, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates and Mozambique. We do not need to wait for eight years to put Ghanaians in positions where their expertise can be utilised.

Finally, there is the absolute need for transparency in the oil industry. Transparency here does not only refer to revenues that will accrue to government and other stakeholders but also includes transparency in terms of the disclosure of the content of all agreements our governments have signed with the companies. Full disclosure will clear doubts that the country’s interests have been sacrificed for a pittance. This is where civil society groups must be more proactive. They should not wait for these agreements to be signed and operationalised before raising the red flag. Right from the beginning they should engage the stakeholders to ensure that the country is not short-changed.

Ghana cannot afford the luxury of waiting for another generation to correct mistakes that it has committed in the prudent management of her resources. Next door neighbour Nigeria has a lot to teach us about what can happen if the right structures are not put in place in the management of oil. If Nigeria is too extreme an example, let us consider what over a century of mining has done to the country.

The author is a Development Practitioner and resides in Obuasi. He can be reached on Post Office Box UPO 853, KNUST-Kumasi; or on telephone 0244-514559; and by email on richellimah (at) yahoo.com.
photo credit
* * * end * * *

From the comments on the article:

Ghanaba Papa: Good Comment:

The traditional councils in the impacted areas should also be part of the monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of the Environmental Management Plans. Also, the impact of the oil activities on agriculture (fishing), as you allude to, nust be fully addressed and mitigated.

Slugger reemphasizs the final paragraph: Way Forward:

Ghana cannot afford the luxury of waiting for another generation to correct mistakes that it has committed in the prudent management of her resources. Next door neighbour Nigeria has a lot to teach us about what can happen if the right structures are not put in place in the management of oil. If Nigeria is too extreme an example, let us consider what over a century of mining has done to the country.

I know: CSR:

The CSR personnel at Tullow are actually not CSR experts. They were put there for political expediency. At best, they are only Public Relations Practitioners, and not professionally trained Social Impact Assessors.

Any good environmental and social impact assessment should profile communities “directly impacted” by the extractive industry, be it mining or oil and gas exploration, construction and production. And the assessment must include environmental, economic, social, cutural, and health impacts, and detail mitigative measures that would be put in place to ameliorate the negative impacts, as well measures to advance income enhancement and community development interventions necessary for sustainable development. These are lacking in the draft EIS.

Reading through the draft EIS,it is apparent that the team is heavily skewed for marine engineers than social assessors. And that is the cause of the flaw.

It is not too late to amend. Otherwise we are heading for another Ogoni!!! Who knows whether it is deliberate. I dont trust these guys, anyway.

Marcus Ampadu: REMEMBER KEN SARO-WIWA:

Environmental groups in Ghana should organize and position themselves to closely monitor the ecological consequences of the oil exploration and drilling in the affected areas. One activity we shouldn’t allow is gas flaring.
We shouldn’t wait for something terrible to happen environmentally to tragically get our version of Ken Saro-Wiwa of Blessed Memory.

There is more in the comments discussing these issues.

Over at Say It Loud Patriot Turncoat writes:

A Model for a Petrochemical Industry in Ghana

Ghana expects to generate about $3.5 billion a year in revenue from the export of crude oil. For a country with a population of 25 million, this translates to only about $140 per person per annum, as compared to some middle-eastern countries where tens of thousands of dollars are generated per person from the mere export of raw crude oil.

In other words, if Ghana were to focus merely on exporting raw crude oil, there would not be enough money to make all Ghanaians happy, so a few would be made happy at the expense of many; a recipe for resentment and political agitation, more so given the high expectations.

We can however make a large number of Ghanaians happy by facilitating and creating the right business environment for the establishment of petrochemical industries to add value to crude oil. Such an industry would provide employment for many while generating higher returns due to the value-add. For the African and world market, Ghana could produce assorted chemicals, insecticides, fertilizers, plastics, engine oil, machine lubricants, power steering fluids, detergents and soaps, paints and varnishes, pharmaceutical chemicals and many more. After all, merely exporting crude would only feed the petrochemical industries of foreign nations, generating more employment for their citizenry while our citizens are left unemployed and destitute.

We are all aware of how exporting raw cocoa, without first adding value, has fed the chocolate industries of developed nations at the expense of our economy. Same applies to other raw material exports. …

Fortunately, Ghana does not have to reinvent the wheel. There are working models all around the world which Ghana could adopt and adapt to address her specific needs.

For example, we could model Ghana’s petrochemical industry after Houston’s Spaghetti bowl which has several miles of pipe-lines connecting salt domes, fractionation plants, chemical plants, and refineries. The pipeline system emerged under private ownership in the 1940s to feed an ethylene production industry, thus paving the way for Houston’s petrochemical industry which provides employment to millions.

Patriot Turncoat has some good ideas, but shows an uncritical faith in free markets. Recent events in global capitalism demonstrate the need for some skepticism and oversight.

Today there are further developments in the issue of the sale of Kosmos’s stake in the Jubilee Field.

Kosmos’s Ghana sale bid “illegal” -GNPC source

ACCRA, Oct 12 (Reuters) – State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) has told Kosmos Energy that it does not recognise a deal to sell its stake in the Jubilee oil field to Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) as it was illegal, a NGPC source said.

The source, who declined to be named, also said that Ghana had received expressions of interest from the China National Offshore Oil Corp for Kosmos’s stake but the West African state was ready to buy it all and decide later with whom to partner.

The Jubilee field is one of the largest oil finds in West Africa in the past decade and sources said last week that Exxon Mobil had reached a multibillion-dollar agreement with Kosmos to buy its stake in the field. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by David Lewis)

And this story has also popped up today:

Fight For Ghana’s Oil: Exxon vs China

… China, Ghana petroleum co in talks
… Kosmos To Sell To Exxon Mobil: WSJ
… GNPC says Kosmos sale bid illegal
… Officials in Ghana says no approval yet
… GNPC ready to buy entire Kosmos stake
… Morgan Stanley hired to advice

A Kosmos official confirmed that the energy firm has a “binding deal” in place to sell an interest in the potentially vast Jubilee oil field in offshore Ghana to oil major Exxon Mobil.

The deal — valued at an estimated $4 billion — would mark Exxon Mobil’s largest acquisition in about a decade.

It comes amid reports that China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) – see report below – could also bid on assets off the coast of Ghana.

Kosmos Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Dunlevy said in an e-mail to MarketWatch, “I can confirm that Kosmos has entered into an exclusive, binding agreement with (an affiliate of Exxon Mobil) to make a rival bid for Kosmos’ stake in the field, known as Jubilee.”

China National Offshore Oil Corp is in talks with State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp to bid for a stake in a large oil discovery off West Africa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

The offer for Kosmos Energy’s stake in the discovery, Jubilee, would rival a $4 billion bid by Exxon Mobil Corp, the Journal said. The paper said CNOOC and GNPC plan to submit a strong competing bid in the next few days, citing one person familiar with the matter.

According to the Journal, the Chinese company sent some senior officials to Ghana several weeks ago, including CNOOC Chairman Fu Chengyu. The paper said CNOOC committed to an equity stake for GNPC in the deal and discussed helping the Ghanaians develop their national oil company.

State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) believes Kosmos Energy’s deal to sell its stake in the huge Jubilee oil field to Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) is illegal and is ready to buy the stake itself, a GNPC source said on Monday.

Ghana has received expressions of interest from the China National Offshore Oil Corp for Kosmos’s stake, according to the source, who declined to be named. But the West African state is ready and able to make the purchase on its own, and would decide later with whom to partner.

The Jubilee field is one of the largest oil finds in West Africa in the past decade and sources said last week that Exxon Mobil had reached a multibillion-dollar agreement with Kosmos to buy its stake in the field.

“We have formally notified (Kosmos) that we do not recognise whatever agreement they reached with Exxon — we told them we disapprove of it because it’s illegal,” the GNPC source said.

The source said Kosmos had violated Ghanaian laws when it shared confidential exploration data with over 20 companies for its own commercial purposes without giving the GNPC any prior notification.

Ghana is due to start pumping oil from Jubilee in late 2010 and the country’s oil finds and relative stability in a turbulent region are luring investors.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that China’s CNOOC was in talks with Ghana to rival Exxon Mobil’s $4 billion bid for Kosmos’s stake in Jubilee.

The GNPC source confirmed that the CNOOC was interested.

“But as far as GNPC is concerned, that also remains only as an expression of interest, like many other companies … It could be any company — it could be the Chinese, it could be Exxon,” the source said.

Kosmos owns the field with UK-based oil explorer Tullow Oil and Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum ). It put its interest in the field on the market earlier this year.

I want Ghana to get the best deal. A deal that involves jobs for Ghanaians and training, high end jobs, and environmental protection. Neither Exxon, nor the Chinese have good records or reputations in this regard. It is up to the Ghana Government to get and enforce the best deal for Ghana and the Ghanaian people.

So my question is, what, if anything, is going on under the table? Who may be getting paid for what? It is much easier for the Chinese to pay bribes than for Exxon, although Exxon is resourceful. Or is GNPC being revolutionary, and actually looking out for the development interests of Ghanaian citizens, by trying to add value to the deal? I surely hope so. We know the Chinese government is involved. Is the US government involved as well? Given the culture of corruption that was heavily institutionalized by the previous administration, and the tradition of corruption in the oil industry, in which neither Exxon nor the Chinese have clean hands, I fear there are too many people who look at the previous administration and see government service as a path to wealth. I believe President Mills is an honest man who cares deeply about doing the best for Ghana and Ghanaians. I don’t know about his ministers. I reserve judgement about intentions or motives unless I know or can see more.

Govt studying Exxon-Kosmos deal: State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) is studying an agreementby Exxon Mobil to buy Kosmos Energy’s stake in the Jubilee field in Ghana before passing it to the energy ministry for its perusal, a Ghanaian government source said on Wednesday.

‘GNPC is required to look a the entire deal as negotiated — the idea is to ensure that it is the best offer not only in monetary terms but also it should come with the technical expertise,’ the government source involved in the energy sector told Reuters.

Oil map offshore Ghana from Borneo British Petroleum

Oil map offshore Ghana from Borneo British Petroleum

There are a number of comments on this article at GhanaWeb that provide more information and insight:

MKO explains in more detail how this works:

1. The Ghana govt granted Kosmos (together with other companies, forming a consortium)exploration rights for a fee, which was paid to the govt. The license (exploration rigths) – comes with some conditions attached.

2. Kosmos as the holder of the equity (by virtue of it contribution to the consortium) has the right to sell its sake to any buyer of its choice.

3. Kosmos is owned by a private equity (PE) group. PE generally operate on short / limited time span on projects. Typically what they do is acquire companies, add value (sometimes thru restructuring or other means), and the sell the company to make profit for the investors who gave them the money to buy the company/ run the project in the first place. The PE group then takes a % of the profit and a commision as reward for their “”management wizardry”” (usually 2% of the total investment commited and 20% of profit realised)
For this reason PE’s are not interested in hanging around unnecessarily – projects usually have a timeline of say 3 to 7years which contractually binding. So if they do not sell before the time they usually lose thier commission and their profits become jeopardized (sometimes zero)

4. Now GNPC on behalf of the governmant of Ghana, has the right of refusal to any deal that KOsmos enters into based on an earlier contract that they have with the Govt of Ghana. The reason for objection would have to be leagally justifiable. (could include lot of issues for example some aspect of the Govt’s contract with Kosmos is being circumvented/ altered in the Kosmos sale to Mobil, Mobil’s business operations has violated Ghana statues in the past and was not resolved, etc, etc,

5 So GNPC has to look at the sale agreement between Kosmos and Mobil to make sure that no clause of the original agreement has been violated.

6. This process is usually just a formality – govts don’t block such sale unless there are other factors such as effect on local competition, monopoly, unfair advantage etc.

7. The main reason why the Govt has to go for these arrangements is because we lack the technical expertise, but more importantly we usually lack the capacity to raise funding for such projects independently on the worlds finance markets.

Kay includes that the:

… State of Ghana gives its natural resource to Kosmos for processing while we share profits at 90% Kosmos and 10% Ghana. Please note that we share only profits, and as a nation, we do not even know what kind of investments the oil companies are making into the project.

That is why today, Kosmos says they have spent $800 million and as a nation, we have no way to verify this. Kosmos has used our own reserves to push their stock market prices to the roof. Now, out of the blue, Kosmos decides to sell the reserves for $4,000 million. What that means is that over time, our profit margins will reduce because Exxon Mobil will have to recoup these investments each year, reducing profit margins that should accrue to Ghana. Kosmos and Exxon are part of one and the same clique. This arrangement then makes it impossible to carry out any form of future re-negotiation with Exxon Mobil.

What is the basis for Kosmos selling the oil for $4,000 million? Only three months ago, they had put it for sale at $3,000 million. …

MKO responds to a number of comments:


To be frank with you I don’t think Kosmos give a toss about GNPC, Exxon or the Chinese. They are only interested in making the maximum return for their investors. Unless of cause there is US governmental influence encouraging them to favour Exxon Mobil. If that is the case, it would also come with a premium (=more $$) so why would they not take it, earn more cash and also earn brownie points in high places. And you would not be able to fault them because they would have brought a globally reputable company with the technical know how and expertise to the table for Ghana to tap into, and would have made their investors tons of money and their govt presumably happy because they’ve created jobs thru Exxon.

Currently there is so much competition for money for oil and gas projects worldwide (this my surprise you, but there is not enough money to go round for every project!! in spite of Sino-dollars)

Bare in mind that there has been significant new finds in Uganda-Kenya, several in Brazil, Liberia/serraloene, Sudan, Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, even Lybia amongst others. The owners of all of these are looking for investments. So do not think that just because we’ve found oil every body will queue to beg to invest with us.

The position of the jubilee fields may be strategic for the US. That I can understand; for example it would be cheaper to transport oil from West Africa than form the Mid-East; like-wise bringing equipment and services.

We’ve been told that production may start in Q3 (jubilee). Why such a wait? There are so many reasons, one of them being that the vessel required for production is now being fitted/ refitted in Singapore. And I understand that it really took a while to secure because of funding constraints.

We need private Ghanaians who would inspire confidence in investors and or collaborators and understand the mechanics of operations – We need to develop local competencies and capabilities, PERHAPS this George Owusu could be a catalyst.

With regards to the Chinese, What I can say is because of forecasted growth in their economy they seems to have adopted the policy of acquiring sakes in sources of energy where ever they can. This also I can understand. However from a business perspective we know that fore casts are usually wrong. Which would raise a few questions

1. If the Chinese because of their wealth acquires so many oil field around the world, would they develop these fields at the same pace? My answer would be No, since it would not make economic/business sense.
And what criteria would they use to develop these fields that they now own? I don’t know. What I know is they are interested in oil for local consumption and not necessarily for trade.

2, What would be the competitive advantage to the Budding Ghana oil industry by having Exxon or Chinese? I would not be able to do justice to this question now.

Finally in my opinion, I think we can have the both. Estimates suggests that there’s lot more oil lying off-shore on our coast. The chinese should perhaps also acquire exploration licenses or buy into other exiting exploration groups …and get to work!

In these things the terms of contracts are related to the risks involved. Relative good terms where there are huge risks, and vice versa. One would therefore expect that going forward terms of contracts should be more favorable to the Country.

Prior to the Kosmos (Tullow, Anadarko) finds, the risks involved were very high – but not so now!
It would therefore worry me if the Chinese want to muscle their way into the Tullow-andarko setup through Kosmos simply because they want to benefit from the terms of contract that these guys have ….which the chinese thinks looks very “Yummy”

Besides …I would not put the Chinese and Tullow-Anadarko (UK, US) together. This combination may lead to inefficiency of operations – to the disadvantage of Ghana. I would rather they compete independently.

I know the US State Department and AFRICOM want a close connection with Ghana. Ghana is strategically located on the coast of West Africa amidst oil finds and other natural resources. Ghana is a working democracy and a congenial place to visit as President Obama found. AFRICOM has been very busy trying to insert itself into Ghana and the Ghanaian military. One Ghanaian comment I read called Ghana the center of the world, the country closest to the intersection of the Equator and the Prime Meridian. I don’t know how relevant this last is, but I like the image. So I think it is entirely possible that there has been US governmental influence encouraging Kosmos to favor Exxon.

Oct. 6 2009 – U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil has bought Kosmos Energy’s stake in oil blocks offshore Ghana that contain large oil discoveries … The deal marks the first entry by one of the world’s major oil companies into what is proving to be a significant new oil province and may pave the way for further acquisitions.

Top: Kosmos’ discovery of the Jubilee Field will enable the Republic of Ghana to join the ranks of significant West African oil exporters. Bottom: Kosmos’ deepwater Jubilee Field development scheme offshore Ghana includes the design and installation of sophisticated subsea architecture connected to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO).

Top: Kosmos’ discovery of the Jubilee Field will enable the Republic of Ghana to join the ranks of significant West African oil exporters. Bottom: Kosmos’ deepwater Jubilee Field development scheme offshore Ghana includes the design and installation of sophisticated subsea architecture connected to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO).

Analysts at Morgan Stanley put a value of $3.3 billion to $5 billion on Kosmos’ stake in the blocks.

ExxonMobil declined to comment. Kosmos was not immediately available to comment.

The Kosmos blocks contain the Jubilee field, which is operated by Tullow and is estimated to hold between 1.2 billion and 1.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. A separate discovery offshore Sierra Leone last month by Anadarko, at the western extreme of the same geological formation that contains Jubilee, signaled the potential for further multi-billion barrel discoveries stretching eastward for 1,100 kilometers through the waters of the Ivory Coast and Liberia.

“The Ghanaians should be very pleased. They’ve got an embryonic oil industry,” and now they have the involvement of one of the largest, most experienced and technically qualified oil companies …

A large number of major international and state-owned oil and gas companies were among potential buyers of this strategic asset. These companies have been informed by letter that Kosmos has entered into an exclusive arrangement with ExxonMobil, the person said.

Kosmos holds 30.875% of the West Cape Three Points Block and 18% of the Deepwater Tano block. Its partners are Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC).

Jubilee field straddles both blocks and Tweneboa discovery in Deepwater Tano is thought to be another large oil reservoir.

Here is a map, with a bit more info from Kosmos Energy.

Kosmos map, oil blocks off the coast of Ghana

Kosmos map, oil blocks off the coast of Ghana, click to enlarge

Today, Oct. 7, Reuters updates:

ACCRA, Oct 7 (Reuters) – State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) is studying an agreement by Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) to buy Kosmos Energy’s stake in the Jubilee oil field in Ghana before passing it to the energy ministry for its blessing, a Ghanaian government source said on Wednesday.

“GNPC is required to look at the entire deal as negotiated,” said the government source involved in the energy sector.

“The idea is to ensure that it is the best offer not only in monetary terms but also it should come with the technical expertise,” the source told Reuters.

The Jubilee field is one of the largest oil finds in West Africa in the past decade.

Sources close to the matter said on Tuesday Exxon had agreed to buy a stake which analysts have previously valued at up to $5 billion.

Under the Ghanaian vetting process for the deal, the energy ministry will pass it on to President John Atta Mills’ cabinet for approval, the government source said without giving a timeframe for a decision.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Exxon Mobil Corp. is in talks to buy a stake in a massive oil field off the coast of Ghana for around $4 billion from Dallas’ Kosmos Energy LLC, according to media reports and a person familiar with the deal.

Kosmos, a privately held oil and gas company that focuses on West Africa, sent a letter to other bidders terminating the process, according to a knowledgeable industry source, and entered exclusive talks with Irving oil giant Exxon. A sale would require approval from Ghana’s government, said two people familiar with the process.

Ghana is set to become West Africa’s newest oil exporter in late 2010, when output begins at the Jubilee field. The deal comes at a time when Exxon’s oil production has declined and the company has said it might fail to meet its 2009 target for 2 percent output growth.

Exxon, Kosmos and the private equity companies involved in the negotiations declined to comment publicly on the deal.

“Exxon Mobil routinely evaluates potential development opportunities around the world. We do not comment on the details of commercial discussions or opportunities,” Exxon spokesman Patrick McGinn said in an e-mail.

Kosmos is led by James Musselman, former chief executive at Triton Energy Ltd. Triton discovered oil off the coast of Equatorial Guinea and was sold to Hess Corp., then known as Amerada Hess Corp., in 2001.

Musselman and his partners started Kosmos in late 2003 after raising $800 million from private equity investors Blackstone and Warburg Pincus.

The Jubilee sale marks the company’s first asset sale. Rather than producing oil, Kosmos’ business model is finding oil fields and selling them.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Blackstone Group LP (BX) and Warburg Pincus LLC’s stake in Kosmos Energy has turned out to be black gold, indeed.

The agreed-to sale of the company’s stake in several oil discoveries off the coast of Ghana to Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) for $4 billion represents a cash on cash return of approximately four times for the two buyout firms over a period of five years or so.

Blackstone declined to comment on the deal’s internal rate of return; Warburg Pincus could not be reached for comment. The two firms own most of the company, with Warburg Pincus holding the larger share, at 55%. Management also owns a small stake.

The two initially invested $300 million in the business in 2004 to help it explore for oil and gas in West Africa. Upon the 2008 discovery of the Jubilee field, one of the larger recent finds off the West African coast, they put in an additional $500 million.

It was a big bet in a geographic region that other oil companies had scoured for years with little luck. But Warburg Pincus and Blackstone were willing to place their faith in Kosmos Chief Executive Jim Musselman and his team, who had delivered a home run for private equity before. The Kosmos team had previously led Triton Energy Ltd., a company backed by Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc. that was sold to Amerada Hess Corp. in 2001. Hicks made back $1 billion on that $350 million 1998 investment.

It is fairly common for private equity firms to provide capital to experienced management teams in the oil and gas industry, allowing them to develop resources to the point where the company can go public or draw the interest of a larger strategic player. That model is now being seen increasingly in emerging markets as well as private equity firms expand their global reach.

Another major player off the coast of West Africa, Cobalt International Energy Inc., filed for a $1.15 billion initial public offering last month. That company is backed by First Reserve Corp., Carlyle/Riverstone, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Kern Partners Ltd., and in April partnered up with French oil giant Total S.A. (TOT) to prospect for oil in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater.

First Reserve also recently set up a new venture in Southeast Asia, KrisEnergy Holdings Inc., to explore for oil and gas, committing $500 million to support it.

Older deals include a $35 million 2008 investment by Emerging Capital Partners in Ocean & Oil Investments Ltd., a Nigerian investment company; and a $380 million investment led by Pine Brook Road Partners LLC in 2007 in Asia Pacific Exploration Consolidated LP.

The sharks are out in full force. Ghana will need to swim like a dolphin. As most readers here already know, the problem with the oil resource curse is not just that it keeps people poor, it actively makes them poorer than if there was no oil.

You can see a range of Ghanaian reaction in the comments to the original article on GhanaWeb, here are some samples:

Idiots in Govt writes: Yes, let’s go for the big boys. They may not give you as much on the side but they will do a good job. Good Job Mills.

Sir Jay writes: with America company now on board, Ghanaians must tightened their belts and hope for the worst for Ghana. just look at the Ogoniland and its people and it will not be hard to see what Exxonmobil is capable of doing.
Now the future is bleak.
I am scared !!!!!!!!!

American boy writes: ExxonMobile is quite possibly the worst company you’d want coming into your country.
I guarantee you this will happen. There will be a few, maybe 100 corrupt Ghanaians who will get rich from the oil.
Everyone else will not even know oil was discovered anywhere and will continue to be poor.

Unfinished Vision writes: Let the rip off begin — I mean resume.

Diamond replies to Unfinished Vision: Strong message with a humorous twist.
Beautiful.
All we have to do is to tell them what we want. If they do not like it, we can seek other partners.
Nobody is totally safe, but maybe the Chinese? Russians?
Boy, I pain for Ghana.
Is there hope in any direction?
The Saudis, the Emirates, the Kuwaitis?
Can anyboby give us an honest deal?
Can any of our politicians work for us?
Mabey & Johnson (Ghana), Scancem (Ghana), British Aerospace (Tanzania), Haliburton (Nigeria).
Oh, Afrika.

Annex writes: These guys are such bad news. They are so tied to the U.S imperialism, I feel so sad for Ghana. They will influence our politics and corrupt are leaders. NDC are proving to be worse capitalists than NPP. It may true Obama showed up because of oil.

DRAGON alexandria.VA writes: they are the cause of nigerias oil calamity.environmental degradation,pollution,corruption etc..mills be careful with this company

Nana Kwame writes: Exxon/Mobil is a unscrupulous oil predator. Ghana should not rejoice because of their interest.
It is about time GNPC raises enough funds from China, remember China has a $1.95 trillion foreign reserves to lend, so that we buy this Exxon/Mobil interests out of the venture.
Exxon/Mobil is just a gigantic oil predator and parasitic company. It simply has not got the development interests of developing countries at heart.

emmanuel writes: Why should this be any surprise? The purpose of ANY corporation is to make money for the stockholders. If you don’t like that then try communism and see where that gets you.
If Exxon had priorities other than making money for the shareholders then it would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. It is a damn successful and well-run company–in fact it is the biggest corporation in the world.
Should corporations have limits placed on how they do business to protect citizens and employees from abuse? Absolutely. Just make sure that Exxon does things in manner prescribed by law (and if they are allowed to get away with such things in Ghana then whose fault is it, really?

Kaakyie_Nua writes: This is the same Exxon/Mobil which packed up, sold its assets to Total and left town rather unceremonously. The question our politicians should be asking is this: Why do they want back in?
U see they got the daylight kicked out of them by Hugo Chavez and so they want to weasel their way back into Ghana and take advantage of us again.
While Ghana is open and receptive to mutually beneficial foreign investments, Prof. Mills and his team should make it abundantly clear to all commers including Exxon/Mobil that the “rules of the game” have changed and that the benefits of the oil find should should be enjoyed, first and foremost, by Ghanaians particularly the local inhabitants. For this to happen they should take steps to prevent excessive “Flipping” that is commonplace in the oil industry.
If Exxon/Mobil has come back to stay, then they are welcomed to help us develop our oil industry. If this is not the case, then they will be better off somewhere else. Perhaps in Alaska their own backyard.

Lin writes: I am an American and know how American corporatons operate. Ghana
is in the driver’s seat now. But if it isn’t careful it will be riding in the back seat and the driver won’t be a chauffeur. Before the game begins be sure they ante up and above all cut the cards. Also stop the ngame from time to time and get a new deck.

Ogyam writes: what is all these? can someone explain? just confused. SIMPLE!!

Kaakyie_Nua writes: Have done their bit and the “big players” the likes of Exxon/Mobil etc have come in to take over.
They have paid Tullow a decent price plus handsome profit for the leg work they have done.
The trouble for Ghana is that the value of this find on paper has shot up substantially when nothing has changed in terms of the physical assets on the ground.
Look, I am sure made all kinds of promises to the local residents and the govt and we live to see if Exxon/Mobil will honour all of them.
Look at it this way: Instead of the corner mechanic servicing ur automobile, u have a delearship taking care of it. Do u think ur maintenance costs are going to be lower? Remmember the R&D operations take place in the home country and the local operations have no say how much they have to pay headquarters in the States.
True a similar thing would have transpired under Tullow but to a much lesser degree. U see size matters a lot in business dealings.

JO ZONGO writes: I think that´s good news as well. Most experienced and qualified companies can help our stuation more in. But where from this infomation? GHANAIAN NEWS or GHANA NEWS?

Nana Kwame asks: When was the last time the CEOs of the major oil companies helped you?

Pastor Ernest Opoku Agyeman writes: I think in dealing with the contract of the oil, political divisions should be set aside. The focus should be Ghana and the people of Ghana. Secondly, the managers representing Ghana should be careful in dealing with every aspect of the wording of the contract and consider inflation in the next 50 to 100 years. We should not forgotten the timber, gold, diamonds, bauxite contracts that did not help Ghana due to the fact that our people did not think about the future before undertaking that contract. All the politicians must come together and think through what the benefits or development shall we need from these companies. Next…

Big Talk writes: 10 %.Can you beleive this? And they have started taking loans even before their ……%.

No Wonder writes: It looks good yet it’s a death warrent to many folks to come. This is a company whose dealings has cost so many human lives and burn the earth around the globe including their own home country, talk to the Alaskan, south Americans – Amazon forest etc. Now they are coming to Ghana and will support both political parties like they do in their own homeland but in our case they will do what they do best take the oil out send the funds back in arms – weapons so we could distroy ourselves. Look at Nigeria etc. so before we go out singing and dancing please listen to the tune and watch the drummers carefully before they change the beat on you.

The Jubilee field is one of West Africa’s biggest oil strikes in years, likely containing recoverable reserves of at least 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with first output scheduled for the second half of 2010.

Jubilee field and Ghana offshore oil map

Jubilee Field Ghana offshore oil map (click to enlarge)

Jubilee Field (click to enlarge)

Jubilee Field (click to enlarge)

I thought I’d put together some information on Ghana’s Jubilee oil field, as it will have a powerful effect on Ghana, and change Ghana in ways we may not anticipate.

From the Ghanaian Times via Ghanalinx, source of the offshore map above:

“The International Monetary Fund predicts government revenues from oil and gas could reach a cumulative $20 billion between 2012 and 2030 in the Jubilee field alone,” a statement issued jointly by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and Oxfam America said.

The statement signed by Ruby Kissiedu for the Co-odinator, Media and Campaigns of ISODEC has, therefore, commended President John Evans Atta Mills for his commitment to increase transparency and public participation in the oil sector.

It said the exploitation of national resources in Africa, has often led to increased poverty and conflict, a phenomenon often referred to as ”resource curse”,

The statement said President Mills could help Ghana to avoid corruption, underdevelopment, social conflict and environmental damage brought on by too many oil booms around the world.

It recalled President Mills’ recent announcement in which he promised accountability on the part of all public officials and asked Ghana’s development partners and non-government agencies to support government’s efforts to build transparent and anti-corruption initiatives.

This is an important step to preserve Ghana’s record of good governance and stability by preparing Ghana to support accountable and efficient development of the oil industry and the billions in government revenue it will generate.”

It said the two bodies were ready to work with the government to improve revenue generation especially by reviewing the mineral’s fiscal regime to ensure that mining companies pay more than the current minimum of three per cent royalties and to monitor the Jubilee Oil Field and other oil projects to ensure a maximum oil recovery at minimum cost.

We are also ready to support government in the protection of the livelihoods of fisher folk and other communities around the Jubilee Oilfield as well as the larger marine ecological zone of the Gulf of Guinea,” it pledged .

The statement said the World Bank has committed 215 million US dollars in financing Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil in support of the development of the Jubilee field.

It said, there was therefore the need for transparent revenue and payment practices, open and competitive contract bidding, active participation by civil society, and adequate legal and regulatory regime of the oil sector.

Let us hope these promises are fulfilled, and do what we can to see that they are fulfilled.

And from Ghana’s coming oil boom by Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh:

The Jubilee field, named for the fact that it was discovered in the same year the country celebrated 50years of independence, may reach a production level of 120,000 barrel per day (bpd) by 2011. (Ghana’s current consumption of oil is 40,000 to 60,000 bpd, almost imported.)

Depending on oil prices and future production levels, Ghana could soon see more than $1billion added to government revenues each year, according to conservative estimates by the German Technical Cooperation Organisation (GTZ). Even much lower estimates will easily eclipse current revenues from mining (largely gold) exports.

It is important to point out that, Ghana’s life as an oil producer may be relatively short-20-30 years-and the country must move rapidly to beef up its legal and administrative framework to meet the significant managerial, administrative, political, and financial challenges the oil rush presents.

Ghana ’s birth as an oil producer coincides with a political transition-with a new presidential administration, cabinet ministers, and parliament installed in January 2009.

Because the Jubilee field straddles two blocks governed by two petroleum agreements, the oil companies involved and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) have had to develop a “unitization agreement” to develop a joint contractual framework and geographically delimit the Jubilee field area.

Instructively, beyond the Jubilee field, there is active exploration and licensing interest in Ghana ’s offshore areas, much of this spurred by the 2007 discovery.

Kosmos, Chief Executive Officer, Musselman told African Energy during an October 2008 visit to Ghana that “We have been able to identify a couple of areas with the attributes as Jubilee field, and we have a high degree of confidence of making another find as big as Jubilee”.

In October 2008, Kosmos said the company would sink five wells in the coming 200 days in the Jubilee field, spending up to $100million in the process. Tullow drilled a successful exploration well-Ebony 1-in the shallow water Tano license area.

Anadarko’s CEO has said, “The partnership expects to be active in the area in 2009 and anticipates drilling development, appraisal, and at least three additional high impact exploration wells, including Tweneboa, Teak, and Onyina”. The drilling of Tweneboa was planned to begin in January 2009.

Other exploration wells have been drilled or are being planned for the Keta block and the South Deepwater Tano block.

Added July 17

Kosmos Energy was originally scheduled to auction off its 30% stake in the Jubilee Field today.  A number of major corporations and countries, including India and China, were interested in bidding.  But this week Kosmos was able to obtain funding to develop it themselves:

Financing to Fully Fund Company’s Share of Jubilee Oil Field Phase-One Development Offshore Ghana DALLAS, Texas, July 14, 2009 – Kosmos Energy announces today that it has signed definitive documentation for US$750 million project finance debt facilities.

The facilities are to be secured by the shares of the company’s subsidiary Kosmos Energy Ghana and its interest in the world-class Jubilee oil field offshore Ghana. This financing will fully fund Kosmos’ share of Jubilee’s phase-one development.

Kosmos, operator of the West Cape Three Points Block, drilled the Mahogany-1 exploration well that discovered the Jubilee Field, the world’s biggest oil find in 2007 and one of the largest oil discoveries offshore West Africa during the last decade.

Kosmos has drilled seven consecutive successful exploration and appraisal wells for a 100 percent success rate for all the wells the company has drilled to date offshore Ghana. (more) Kosmos and its partners are executing a phased development plan for the Jubilee Field, which is located on the West Cape Three Points Block and adjacent Deepwater Tano Block. The company believes that phase-one development will produce in excess of the planned 300 million barrels of recoverable oil. The designed production capacity of phase one is 120,000 barrels of crude per day.

At the same time the Ghana government is taking steps to provide accountable and efficient development of the oil industry, Ministry issues a stern warning:

Accra, July 15, GNA – Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, on Wednesday said the ministry would not stand by and watch players in the oil and gas exploration industry destroy the country’s ecology and sacrifice the health and safety of citizens.

It appears the current government is serious about trying to protect the citizens of Ghana. I hope they are truly serious and this continues. I feared the previous government was setting itself up to loot the country. President Kufuor invited Barclays to establish an offshore tax haven. That danger is still present, I wrote more on it in this post: Barclays Bank To Support Poverty & Crime In Ghana & West Africa.  A nearby tax shelter would be a powerful and convenient tool to steal from the Ghanaian people, and to hide the bribes that fuel corruption.

With tax havens and banking secrecy, the big corporations, already richer than many countries, the big money players:

… can quite legally cut themselves loose from pesky full taxation and grow explosively, leaving smaller competitors, who pay their full dues along with the rest of us, choking in their dust. This undermines the very notion of capitalism: the big companies’ advantage has nothing to do with the quality or price of what they produce. If you are worried about the power of big global corporations, don’t always attack them directly, but attack bank secrecy instead.
(Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil, by Nicholas Shaxson, p.225&227, ISBN 978-1403971944)

Who are the victims of corruption?

The most obvious way corruption hurts society is its neutralizing effect on public servants, be they police or politicians, or anyone in between. Nigerians have their own word for when that happens; those on the take are said to be “settled.”

Nuhu Ribadu was a crusading prosecutor in Nigeria before an attempt on his life forced him to leave the country.

“When you fight corruption, it fights you back,” he says matter-of-factly. … “Unless we address the problem of corruption,” he says, “there is no hope, there is no future.”