Ghana has concluded licence negotiations with Tullow Oil on operating the Jubilee oilfield and government approval is imminent, the country's deputy energy minister said on Wednesday.
Kwabena Donkor also said Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) was interested in buying private equity-backed company Kosmos Energy's 30 percent stake in the offshore Jubilee field, which is one of the largest oil finds in West Africa in the past decade.
Tullow Oil, Europe's largest independent oil explorer by market value, had said on Tuesday its talks with the government were feisty, although it still expected production at the field to start in the second half of next year.
The negotiations were successfully concluded last night and approval will be given ... there is no reason for any delay in my boss appending his signature, Donkor told Reuters on the sidelines of an African energy conference.
The field is scheduled to start pumping oil at a rate of around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd), rising to around 250,000 within two years. The entire field is valued at around $15 billion.
On a potential deal with Kosmos, Donkor said: The government has indicated and has informed the partners that should Kosmos want to sell, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation would be interested in buying.
The field, operated by Tullow Oil in partnership with Kosmos Energy and GNPC, has an estimated resource potential of up to 1.8 billion barrels.
He said that to ensure more value for Ghana, GNPC would pursue acquisition of the asset, but it was unclear at this stage what percentage stake Kosmos would put up for sale.
As of now we don't know how much, whether they want to sell the totality of their holding in the Jubilee fields... We are still in the dark as to exactly what they want to do, Donkor said.
Donkor said GNPC would seek to exercise its pre-emptive right as an already existing partner to buy the stake.
Kosmos has hired Standard Chartered and Barclays Plc to sell its stakes in the Jubilee field.
Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd, has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on a bid for a stake in Kosmos Energy, a source said last month.
Texas-based Kosmos has interests across Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Morocco and Nigeria, including Jubilee. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf, writing by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Anthony Barker)