ExxonMobil in Talks for Ultra-Deep Ghana Block
Ghana’s deputy energy minister of energy Mohamed Amin Adam November 13 told an African oil conference that the government has initiated direct talks with ExxonMobil to start exploration at the Deepwater Cape Three Points (DCTP) offshore block.
In 2015, Ghana and ExxonMobil signed a memorandum of understanding to estimate the resources of the area which has water depths of 2,000m-4,000m.
The present talks begin with no call to offers, as requested under the oil code in effect. According to the deputy minister, this is due to the peculiar nature of the block 150km off the coast, and because two firms have already refused to proceed with exploration of the block due to its depth and the high risks it presents.
In these conditions, the law allows the government to open direct negotiations. “The negotiations are ongoing according to our current laws ... so far so good,” Adam told the conference. “Ultra-deepwater exploration is beyond the reach of current technology and we believe operators with strong research and development capability such as ExxonMobil are needed to unlock the potentials,” he added.
Ghana's energy minister Boakye Agyako was reported by local newspaper's website Graphic Online November 10 as saying that direct talks over the DCTP licence had been launched with ExxonMobil. It emerged November 13 that Exxon had surrendered offshore acreage offshore Liberia, also offshore West Africa but further to the northwest, two months earlier.
This represents the US supermajor's second attempt to enter Ghana’s prolific offshore basin: in 2009 the government rejected its offer to buy Kosmos Energy’s interests in the Jubilee field.
Eni is operator, partnered by Vitol and Ghanaian state GNPC, of Ghana's nearby Offshore Cape Three Point (OCTP) block that is producing oil; from 2018 it will produce associated gas too.
Olivier de Souza