Ghana’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum said sixteen oil and gas companies have submitted applications for one or more of five Ghanaian offshore blocks in the West African country’s first exploration licensing round.
Reuters reports that the interest is a major vote of confidence in Ghana, which is keen to unlock more resources after it began pumping from its flagship offshore Jubilee field in 2010.
The oil companies seeking to participate in the country’s first oil exploration licensing round include Tullow Oil, Total, ENI, Cairn, Harmony Oil and Gas Corporation, ExxonMobil, CNOOC, Qatar Petroleum, BP, Vitol, Global Petroleum Group, Aker Energy, First E&P, Kosmos, Sasol and Equinor.
The energy ministry revealed that the applications include expressions of interest in competitive bidding for three blocks in the Western Basin and for direct negotiations regarding another two blocks offshore Ghana.
The Deputy Minister for energy in charge of petroleum, Mohammed Amin Adam said “the high level of interest shown by major International Oil Companies in our first licensing round is a vote of confidence in the Ghanaian economy”.
Out of the 60 applications received, two were invalidated as they were for a block reserved for Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. Ghana currently produces 200,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), with the Jubilee field producing about 100,000 bpd.
Ghana wants to be a petroleum hub for West Africa. It has drawn up plans to build four refineries of about 150,000 bpd each in the next 12 years.