Mr. Amewu disclosed that government has“been notified by Exxon of their choice” and the Ministry of Energy has approved of the deal.
He stated that with the approval, the Ministry expects Exxon Mobil to fast track activities that will lead to exploration and production since the search for a partner had already delayed the project.
ExxonMobil’s investment in Ghana’s oil sector was the first major one following the landmark ruling by ITLOS in the maritime border dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast, in September 2017.
The apparent victory by Ghana gave the country an appreciable reputation among the global oil giants, attracting more oil production firms.
The deal was however criticized by some Civil Society Organization because government choose to directly negotiate with the oil production.
Ghana to have maiden oil bidding rounds
The Ministry of Energy has commenced work to open competitive bidding of Ghana’s oil blocks to prospective oil exploration companies.
A committee, known as the Licensing Bid Evaluation and Negotiation Committee is assessing investors seeking to start oil exploration and production in Ghana, and advise the minister before an agreement is entered.
Government, recently came under criticism for awarding exploration contract to oil giant, Exxon Mobile without competitive bidding.
Timeline for bidding
The Ministry of Energy explained that the process will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 2016, Act 919 , the ancillary Petroleum (Exploration and Production) General Regulations 2018, LI 2359 and all other applicable laws in Ghana as well as the policy objective of the licensing round.
Expression of Interest from the International Oil Companies (IOC) is expected to be submitted by end of November this year, while pre-qualification of local partnering companies and IOC’s will be done in December.
Between January and February 2019, there will be an evaluation and announcements of pre-qualification of applicants in line with applicable regulations and invitation to tender of pre-qualified applicants.
The qualified companies will have four months within which to submit their tender while the Licensing Bid Rounds and Negotiation (LBRN) Committee between June and August 2019 will evaluate the tender.
The announcement of a successful tender is expected in mid-August 2019 which will pave way for negotiations to begin with the committee.