The Irish and US companies plan to list in Accra following important oil and gas finds
The rapid expansion of commercial oil and gas production in Ghana this year – state revenues for 2011 have been upgraded to $800m from initial estimates of $600m, according to Accra-based investment house Databank – is encouraging new exploration efforts and local fundraising along West Africa’s seaboard.
In April New York-based Hess Corporation announced that it struck hydrocarbons at the ‘Paradise Prospect’ in the Tano Cape Three Points offshore block; Ireland’s Tullow Oil announced “important” new gas finds in the Tweneboa field and Italy’s ENI in its offshore Sankofa discovery.
“Africa’s offshore deposits are generally underexplored,” said Tullow chief executive Aidan Heavey, who sees Ghana’s role as “catalytic” in the development of the regional oil industry.
Both Tullow and US-based Kosmos Energy are to list local affiliates in Accra, giving a substantial boost to the Ghana Stock Exchange. Tullow, whose Ghana operations drove its meteoric expansion on the London Stock Exchange, has long declared that local listings are intrinsic to its corporate strategy.
The Kosmos decision to list in Accra is more surprising, given the company’s protracted dispute with the Ghanaian government over its attempts to sell its equity to the US giant ExxonMobil.
Kosmos is also in messy legal disputes over access to geological data from state oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and a politically charged row over its relations with local partners EO Group.
Both the government and Kosmos insist that good working relations have been restored.