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Kosmos Tangos with Ghana   
 
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12-Oct-2009  
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The intricacies and machinations that usually characterize the oil industry appear to be playing out elaborately on the Ghanaian oil state.

On October 6, 2009, a wired news report attributed to an unnamed source and authored by James Herron of Dow Jones Newswires alleged that a US oil giant ExxoonMobil Corp. has bought Kosmos Energy’s stake in oil blocks offshore Ghana. The share prices of Kosmos’ partners in the blocks – Tullow Oil PLC and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. were reported to have soared on the basis of the take-over speculations. But this, Public Agenda has learned, could be yet another ploy in the company’s bid to make a “kill” out of its stake in the jubilee field.

The report said the source did not give the value of the deal. However it quoted analysts at Morgan Stanley putting a value of $3.3 billion to $5 billion on Kosmos’ stake in the blocks. According to the report ExxonMobil declined to comment, and Kosmos was unavailable for comment. Public Agenda’s attempt to obtain a confirmation from the Ghana Office of Kosmos has also proved futile.

The story has been carried by several international and local media, with some putting the value of the deal at US$4 Billion.
It is believed that, the actions of Kosmos are intended to hype their shareholding value and to discourage the Government of Ghana from acquiring the stake.

This is not the first time Kosmos has been linked to such a story. Sometime in May this year, news went round that Kosmos was looking for a buyer for its 30% stake in the Jubilee Field, valued at some US$3.1 BILLION. Kosmos was quick at the time, to deny the story, even though it was apparent that backed by venture capital fund they couldn’t stay around for long. It appears the intent had been to keep the transaction under wraps, so they could covertly offload their stake and run with the booty.

With the cat out of the bag, Ghana immediately expressed interest in acquiring Kosmos’ stake anytime it decided to walk out of the Jubilee Field. “If they sell, lead to a dilution of expected profit from the sale of its stake, but that will also mean that Ghana can reap some profit by acquiring and re-selling all or part of the acquired stake. Industry analysts say Ghana could partly finance its additional stake in the Jubilee Field from the profit it stands to make from buying and reselling the Kosmos stake.

The China National Offshore Oil Corp. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. are reported to have their eyes on Kosmos’ pie and could possibly be in line to buy off the shares should Ghana rights and the government can veto any potential buyer. Tullow’s Chief Executive Officer Aidan Heavey is reported to have confirmed this in an interview on May 12, that the partners in jubilee have “legal rights to preempt” any deal for Kosmos’ stake. It is this right that the Government of Ghana appears to be exercising.

With estimated reserves of 1.2bilion – 1.8billion barrels and with high prospects of further major discoveries Ghana is set to become an important oil exporting hub on the African continent.
 
 
Source: P. Agenda
 
 

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