While Nigeria Slumbers, Ghana Forms Cmtte Ahead Of Next Offshore License Offer

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari

Boakye Agyarko, the Ghanaian Minister for Energy, has established a 22-member committee to supervise open competitive bidding of Ghana’s oil blocks to interested companies.

The Licensing Bid Evaluation and Negotiation Committee will cover technical, commercial, and legal issues.

Its role will be to assess investors seeking to start oil exploration and production in Ghana and advise the minister before an agreement is signed. It will then issue recommendations to the government.

The Energy Ministry reportedly plans to offer nine new blocks for exploration offshore in the country’s western coast – six this year and three more in 2019.

Offshore reports that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) will likely take on one of the blocks in partnership with another company.

Meanwhile, Nigeria is gradually losing grounds and FDI as new oil frontiers continue to emerge and develop in Africa.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has not had a licencing bid round in years, and have been in the process of reviewing it’s archaic petroleum industry law for the past 18 years with yet, no finality. With an unclear, uncertain operating environment, investors are seeking out more stable business environments within the continent for their FIDs.

Worst still, local investors in Africa’s largest economy who had plans to participate in the bid round for marginal oil fields which was first proposed in 2013 have waited to no avail, contrary to indications given by the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR) that the licensing rounds for marginal oil fields would commence “soon”.

Marginal fields are undeveloped discoveries in the last 10 years, located in oil blocks held by oil majors operating in the country. A total of 28 fields were allocated to 35 indigenous companies since the commencement of the marginal fields program in 1999. 12 fields are currently producing, the rest are at various stages of development.

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