The Civil Society Group on Oil and Gas has raised concerns over the bidding processes for the acquisition of Sabre Oil’s stake in the Jubilee Oil Field.
According to the organization, the process was not competitive enough to allow any Ghanaian entrepreneur to attempt to acquire the 4.05 stake.
South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA is the latest partner on the Field after completing the acquisition of Sabre Oil stake. Tullow Oil was said to have earlier showed interest in buying the stake after Kosmos abandoned earlier plans of acquiring the Deepwater Tano Block for an estimated $365 million dollars.
There are industry debates that because of the financial demands in the sector, Ghanaian entrepreneurs are not likely to succeed in the partnership. But the coordinator of the group Muhammed Amin Adam disagreed saying, “the financial market has been so globalized it doesn’t really matter where you raise your capital, what is important is the ownership of the Ghanaian community. Even Tullow and Kosmos both went for loans from the IFC of the World Bank; I think Ghanaian entrepreneurs also have that capacity to raise such funds”.
He further lamented; “You recall the acquisition of E.O Group by Tullow, this was not floated openly for other people to express interest but was something more like an internal arrangement which I think was unfortunate especially because the interest held by a Ghanaian was taken over by Tullow Oil”.
According to him, what was left of Ghanaian interest apart from government participation through the Ghana National Corporation (GNPC) was Sabre so PetroSA’s acquisition means apart from the ‘small interest’ Tullow Oil floated on the Ghana Stock Exchange, there will not be any meaningful Ghanaian participation in the entire operation of the Jubilee Oil Field.
Mr. Adam was however quick to add that foreign acquisition in Ghana’s oil and gas industry must be encouraged, “Foreign acquisition of interest in Ghana’s oil and gas industry is not bad because Ghana is still looking for foreign investments up stream to get the necessary capital and technology to be able to get more oil so from that perspective it should be encouraged”.
Nana Boakye-Yiadom(Citi fm)