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Ghana

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The West African nation continues to ruffle the feathers of international oil companies as it seeks to accelerate development of its oil resources and reverse the recent decline in its production. The energy ministry recently proposed that state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corp. (GNPC) should acquire stakes in two adjacent deepwater blocks to develop its expertise and minimize the risk of resources remaining undeveloped. It asked Parliament last month to approve a loan of up to $1.65 billion for GNPC to acquire a 37% stake in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT-CTP) license from Norway's Aker Energy and a 70% stake in the adjoining South Deepwater Tano Block from local firm AGM Petroleum Ghana. Ghana's plans call for GNPC to share operatorship of the two blocks, but Russia's Lukoil, which owns a 42% interest in the DWT-CTP Block, has questioned the initiative. DWT-CTP includes the 330 million boe Pecan oil discovery. In an Aug. 8 letter to the energy ministry, a Lukoil executive said Ghana's plan posed significant risks to the execution and timing of the Pecan development and asked to be involved in all future discussions with stakeholders. Energy Minister Matthew Prempeh responded by insisting that GNPC has both the financial backing and technical competence to proceed with the planned acquisition.

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