Ghana has received 60 applications from 16 oil companies for five oil blocks in the Offshore Cape Three Points Basin of the Western Region, the country’s Energy Ministry has said.
The applicants are expected to go through a bidding process to be allocated the right to explore blocks under Ghana’s maiden Oil and Gas Licensing Round.
Information made available by the ministry shows that out of the figure, 58 applications were valid, with 43 applicants interested in competitive bidding, representing 74 percent of the applicants, while 15 wanted direct negotiation, representing 26 percent.
A team is currently evaluating the pre-qualification applications and the list of pre-qualified companies would be published on January 21, while the deadline for the submission of bids is on May 21, 2019, the ministry added.
Simultaneously, it said the pre-qualified companies would be invited to submit bids for the oil blocks they applied for.
The oil blocks are expected to be awarded to successful bidders on August 31, 2019.
John Peter Amewu, the sector Minister, who announced this at a news conference, in Accra, on Thursday, said the interest expressed by some of the major players in the country’s oil and gas sector globally showed the confidence investors had in the Ghanaian economy.
The companies that expressed interest and submitted pre-qualification applications include: ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, Tullow Ghana Limited, Total and ENI Ghana.
The rest are: Vitol, Kosmos Energy, Aker Energy, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Cairn Energy, Qatar Petroleum, Global Petroleum Group, First E&P, Sasol, Equinor and Harmony Oil and Gas Corporation.
Prospective bidders submitted their applications for the oil blocks on December 20, 2018.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on October 15, last year, unveiled Ghana’s maiden Oil and Gas Licensing Round Bid Evaluation and Negotiation (LRBEN), which was aimed at attracting interested investors both locally and internationally, to exploit the country’s petroleum resources.
The Minister noted that the high number of applicants received showed the credence President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo attached to good governance and transparency in the administration of the country’s natural resources.
“We wish to assure all of you that we shall remain diligent in this premier licensing round and even make the subsequent ones better.
“I take this opportunity to commend members of the Licensing Round Vid Evaluation and Negotiation Committee, led by my able Chief Director (Chairman) and my Deputy Ministers for the leadership they have provided towards a successful management of the first stage of the licencing process,” Mr Amewu assured.
The Minister said for each winning bid, there would be five percent equity participation from indigenous Ghanaian companies in each Petroleum Agreement, which is in tandem with the government’s vision of increasing local participation in the country’s oil and gas industry.