Many months after disregarding calls to appear before state officials to assist with investigations, three of the top brass executives of U.S. oil independent, Kosmos Energy, last week arrived in the country, ready and eager to respond to questions from Ghanaian investigators.
Jim Musselman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian Maxted, Chief Operating Officer, and W. Greg Dunlevy, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, all founding partners of Kosmos Energy, arrived in the country last week Wednesday, on a week’s notice.
The visit followed a request by Kosmos Energy to the Government of Ghana to be given a letter of assurance, giving it a clean bill of health, as far as criminal investigations were concerned.
The Business Analyst gathered that when Kosmos made the request to President John Evans Atta Mills, he directed that the Kosmos officials, who had been playing hardball with Ghanaian investigators for months, came down to submit themselves to the investigators before the request could be considered.
Jim Musselman and Brian Maxted appeared before investigators at separate times on Thursday, October 28, this year, and were grilled at different times for hours.
The Business Analyst investigations established that Dunlevy, who was in the country earlier, had appeared before the investigators and been interrogated on Thursday, September 23, 2010.
The company, from reliable sources, had for many months ignored a number of requests by officials to come and assist with ongoing investigations, both at the state level and also with state oil company, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which had also accused Kosmos of breaking the Petroleum Exploration and Production statute of the country, as well as breaching the terms of the petroleum agreement covering their operations in the country.
The Business Analyst sources indicated that the Kosmos officials, in a hurry to get hold of the letter in question, cancelled all appointments at their end to make a date with the investigators, hoping that they would get the letter sooner than later.
However, before the investigating team was through with its interrogation of the Kosmos officials, attempts were already underway by some high-ups in government, pushing for the grant of Kosmos’ request, which would automatically have handed the investigators with a fait accompli and put a spanner in their works.
Analysts are of the opinion that without interrogating the role of Kosmos Energy in its dealings with the EO Group, which it has funded and would continue to do so till production commences, would have left investigations incomplete.
The EO Group has been under investigations over a year now on issues that border on criminality in its dealings with Kosmos Energy regarding its 3.5% stake in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP).
The appearance of the Kosmos trio before the investigators marked the clearest indication yet that the company was operating in borrowed time, having spent a better part of the time available playing hardball with Government and GNPC.
Even though Kosmos was said to have ignored invitations to appear before state authorities, Brian Maxted had told The Business Analyst that the company was ready to sit with GNPC to reconcile their differences, insisting that it had not violated any laws.
GNPC sources however insisted that the exclusivity sale and purchase agreement between Kosmos and ExxonMobil was enough evidence of breach of the petroleum agreement by Kosmos, since both the petroleum agreement and Petroleum Exploration and Production law barred contractors from exposing data for the purposes of sale without reference to GNPC and the Minister for Energy.
A successful conclusion of that deal would have shifted the burden of funding the Kosmos stake in the Jubilee Field to ExxonMobil.
Unfortunately, the pull-out of ExxonMobil and the subsequent declaration by Kosmos that it was going to stay and participate in the production of the Jubilee Field opened a new frontier for the latter, whose financiers, Warburg Pincus and the Blackstone Group, were not known to be long-term investors.
The three top executives of Kosmos submitted themselves in the hope that it would guarantee their continued stay to participate in the production of the Jubilee Field, where they remain the technical operators.
Events, however, appear to have come to a head for the US company, in its bid to raise funds to meet its financial obligations towards the development of the Jubilee Field, which commences commercial oil production in the next couple of weeks.