Business News of Thu, 5 Nov 200988

Big Guns Stay Clear of Jubilee ‘Mess’ in Ghana

Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, and Chevron Corp. said they’re not pursuing a stake in Ghana’s 1.8 billion-barrel Jubilee field because it’s unclear how ownership is divided.

“It’s already a big mess and we don’t intend to increase this messy situation,” Jean-Jacques Mosconi, vice president of strategic planning at Total, said yesterday in an interview in Porlamar, Venezuela. “Jubilee is an attractive target, but then you have to understand exactly” how the rights are split.

Ghana’s nascent petroleum industry, still a year away from production of oil for export, has attracted attention from some of the world’s top energy companies in what has become a tussle for Jubilee. The field was discovered in June 2007 and has potential resources of as much as 1.8 billion barrels, according to Tullow Oil Plc, its operator.

Closely held Kosmos Energy LLC said Oct. 12 it agreed to sell its Ghanaian assets, including a 23.49 percent stake in Jubilee, to Exxon Mobil Corp. for $4 billion. The following day, Ghana National Petroleum Corp. said it was still in talks with Kosmos on acquiring the assets itself and would consider proposals from potential partners once the sale was complete.

Ghana National has funds from “at least two” banks to buy into Jubilee, Kwame Ntow Amoah, head of economic evaluation and monitoring at the state-owned company, said Oct. 29.

Meanwhile BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, may also bid for the Jubilee stake, people familiar with the matter said Oct. 22.

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Chevron Looks Elsewhere

Chevron, of San Ramon, California, has priorities other than Jubilee, Ali Moshiri, president of the company’s Latin America and Africa unit, said yesterday in an interview.

“Whenever we look at it, we’ve got a better project in our queue at the moment,” Moshiri said. “I think we’ll leave that one up to the current people that are working on it.”

Total gained 1.7 percent to 41.64 euros in Euronext trading, while Chevron fell 5 cents to $76.65 at 2:34 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Tullow holds a 34.7 percent interest in Jubilee. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. controls 23.49 percent, GNPC holds 13.75 percent, Sabre Oil & Gas owns 2.81 percent and EO Group has 1.75 percent, Tullow said July 15.

Ghana expects to pump 500,000 barrels of oil a day by 2014 as it seeks to boost supplies to the domestic market.

Source: Bloomberg

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