Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, last week stated for the second time, that he was the one who brought oil independent, Kosmos Energy of the U.S to Ghana, after he met the company’s officials in Houston in the United States, in a revelation that shakes the foundation of earlier assertions by the U.S. oil company and the E.O. Group, which it sponsors.
Speaking on M-Nets talk show, Moments With Mo, hosted by Mo Abudu, Ghana’s former President said even though oil exploration activities in the country started in the 1890s it took a genius like him to identify Kosmos as the company to hit the oil for Ghana.
"We always knew that there should be oil here," but nobody followed up, he stressed, adding that even some of the oil majors had tried carrying out exploration activities within the area but without success.
"I took this company from Houston to come, ‘my company,’ I should say," he said with reference to Kosmos, whose first exploratory well, Mahogany I, in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP) block hit Ghana’s first major commercial oil in June 2007. The Saltpond Oil field of Ghana has been producing some quantities of oil over the years.
"In fact, exploration has been going on since the 1890s, but nobody could find it," President Kufuor said.
Acknowledging that improved skills and sharpened technology could definitely have played a part in the discovery, the former president said "but it takes a genius" emphasizing that the whole thing revolved around his leadership.
Significantly, the EO Group, which is a partnership between George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Kwame Bawuah Edusei has also claimed in a statement released by the Group in January this year that they brought Kosmos to Ghana, for which reason they were handed a 3.5% stake in the WCTP block, together with a dole out of $250,000.00 and funding of their portion of investments required for the development of the Jubilee Oil Field.
"It was EO Group that brought Kosmos Energy to Ghana and introduced Kosmos to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Ministry of Energy (MOE)," the EO Group had claimed in the said press statement, which continued that "The principals of EO Group were the honest brokers who introduced Kosmos to Ghana and encouraged Kosmos to commit to apply for the right to explore the West Cape Three Points Block in Ghana’s waters."
Kufuor’s statement therefore raises the question whether he is the same as the EO Group or not. He had alluded to bringing Kosmos to Ghana on June 18, 2007 when the Mahogany 1 well discovery was announced at The Castle, Osu.
Investigations into the relationship between the E.O. Group and Kosmos Energy was commenced in 2006, by Anadarko Plc, when it was approached by Kosmos to come and partner it in carrying out exploration activities in the WCTP block.
Dr. Edusei was appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to Switzerland in 2004, within days after the E.O. Group received the final of the $250,000.00 dole-out from Kosmos Energy.
The report from the Anadarko investigations, which it filed with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as required of public listed companies under U.S. laws, raised several ‘red flags,’ which among others had to do with the payments amounting to $250,000.00
The DOJ, discontinued its investigations, saying it would only reopen it if there was new evidence. The question that arises therefore is: Would this new information lead to a re-opening of the case by the U.S. Department of Justice?
Back home in Ghana, investigators continued to probe the reasons why Ghana stands to lose over $3 billion from the Petroleum Agreement with Kosmos Energy, when compared with, for instance, that of Tullow Oil, Operators of the Jubilee Field, whose Deepwater Tano block shares a border with WCTP as an analysis by Wood Mackenzie, reveals.
George Owusu, who was sacked by Kosmos Energy in July 2009 as their Country Manager, when investigations started into the case, jumped bail last month and is believed to be hiding in the U.S.
Ghanaian investigative authorities have questioned a host of officials of both Kosmos and the EO Group, from which sources have told The Business Analyst interesting findings emerged, some of which include confessions.
Sources close to the investigations reveal that having established incidents of forgery in the incorporation of the EO Group, which are violations of the company registration laws, forgery of vouchers for claims that would eventually be charged to Ghana’s oil, investigators are still pursuing the matter.
Meanwhile, Kosmos Energy still funds the EO Group’s exploration and development costs, which it will continue doing till the flow of first oil from the Jubilee Field, when the latter would be weaned off to fend for itself.
The Jubilee Field straddles the WCTP and Deepwater Tano blocks and is to start production in November-December this year, using the floating production and storage (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah vessel.
That area across the border of the two blocks was unitized after the second major discovery, in Deepwater Tano, Hyedua, by Tullow Oil. Whilst WCTP has Kosmos, Anadarko, Tullow Oil, Sabre Oil and Gas, the EO Group and GNPC as partners, all of them except the EO Group constitute the partners in the Deepwater Tano block.
Under the first phase of production, 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day is expected to be produced from the Jubilee Field, estimated to have reserves of about 1.6 billion barrels of oil.
FACTS ABOUT WCTP BLOCK
The West Cape Three Points Block is located between the Tano Fields blocks operated by Tullow Oil to the west and the Heliconia Block (which hosts the WCTP-2X Discovery well) to the east. The area is an eastern extension of the larger Tano-CTP basin. The shallow part of the block is about 110 km from Takoradi, and about 15 km to the nearest coastal town of Half Assini.
Phillips Petroleum commenced exploration in the Tano-Cape Three Points basin in February 1974. They acquired several 2D seismic vintages totaling over 3,700 km, part of which covered the present Kosmos block. Among them were the PH-GH-75 and PH-WGH-77.
Phillips drilled seven wells and discovered the North and South Tano fields. Two of the wells were drilled in the Cape Three Points (CTP) sub-basin.
None of the wells drilled at the time by Phillips were in the current Kosmos block. However, the nearest Phillips well was the South Dixcove 1X well in the Cape Three Points basin, south east of the Kosmos block.
Phillips relinquished the block in 1981.
After promotion of the area by GNPC in the early 1990s, Hunt Oil acquired two licenses in the West Cape Three Points block that includes the current Kosmos block in 1996. The company acquired the GHCT 96 and 97 2D seismic data totaling 2,225 km, and later acquired the Sanzule 3D seismic of about 264 square kilometers.
They drilled three wells namely WCTP-1X, -2X and 3X. The WCTP-2X was a deepwater well with a discovery of 14 feet net pay with about 20 million recoverable oil, 31 API. These wells lie immediately east to the Kosmos block, precisely in the Heliconia block, and contributed immensely to the understanding of the petroleum geology (exploration) of the deepwater CTP basin
Hunt relinquished the block in March 2002.
After further promotion by GNPC through presentations, exhibitions in the international petroleum fora such as SEG, AAPG, Upstream ICWG Group Congresses etc, the area was finally promoted to a consortium led by Kosmos and the E.O. Group.
It took about three months to conclude the negotiations of the Petroleum Agreement (PA), which is the fastest achieved.
Kosmos contract area cover a total of 1957.05 square kilometers. The Petroleum Agreement for the block was signed on 21st July 2004.
The work programme and obligation include reprocessing existing 2D seismic data within the block and acquiring, processing and interpreting 1,100 sq. km of 3D seismic in 2005. This unearthed a number of high impact prospects including the Mahogany prospect.
In July 2006, after an excellent technical work by Kosmos in association with GNPC, the prime prospect identified and named by GNPC after a famed wood/tree MAHOGANY attracted multi-billion dollar partners in Anadarko Petroleum of USA and Tullow Oil Plc of UK into the Project.
The Mahogany well is the first exploratory well for the company. It was spudded on 31st May 2007, which far exceeded expectation.
The position of the well is about 150 km from Takoradi and about 65 km from the coastal town of Half Assini.