Kosmos Energy, a partner in Ghana’s oil industry, has decided to sell its share in the Jubilee Oil Field through an Initial Public Offer (IPO) in America, rather than selling it to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
This means that the GNPC will have to compete for the Kosmos shares on the international market, if it still has interest.
GNPC, which holds 13.75 interest in the Jubilee Oil Field, last year decided to buy Kosmos Energy’s 23.49 shares to increase its stake in the oil find, and the government decided to source for funds from China to offload Kosmos Energy’s shares.
The Board Chairman of the GNPC, Ato Ahwoi, disclosed this at a news conference held in Accra yesterday, to announce Ghana’s first lifting of oil from the Jubilee Field.
GNPC on Wednesday lifted a total of 995,259 barrels of crude oil from the Jubilee Field on behalf of government, following the successful lifting by the other Jubilee Partners – Tullow Ghana Limited, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko, Sabre Oil and Gas Holdings Limited and the E.O. Group.
Mr Ahwoi said: "GNPC has made several contacts and negotiated with Kosmos Energy but it has refused to sell its shares to us, and it want to do it through an IPO America. Hence, the idea of GNPC buying the Kosmos Energy shares is closed for now."
Mr Ahwoi conceded that the company had the right to decide who to sell its shares to.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, told the Times that though government would have liked to acquire those shares to boost its stakes in the Jubilee Field, "the situation as it stands now does not warrant such a chase."
He said Kosmos Energy communicated its intention to the government through the GNPC that it wanted to publicly trade its shares to recapitalise its operations.
Mr. Ablakwa said government, after studying the proposals, realised that it was being done within the confines of the law.
He said that the situation was far different from what was witnessed last year when Exxon Mobil Corp. wanted to buy the entire stake of Kosmos shares from the Jubilee Field without making the first offer to the GNPC, the country’s interest at the field.
Last year, Exxon Mobil pulled out of the deal to buy Kosmos’ only major asset, a 23 per cent stake in the Jubilee oil field for four billion dollars. The GNPC unhappy about the deal, made a counter offer of five billion dollars to be sourced from Chinese and Ghanaian oil companies but it was rejected by Kosmos.
Mr. Ablakwa said from the present arrangement, Kosmos wanted more money for exploration, so it planned to offer up to 500 million dollars of its shares from a stake of about 6.75 billion dollars.
He said the company had indicated that the money raised would help increase its spending in risky exploration areas in the deep waters in Ghana which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.