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Ghana Looks To Award Nine Offshore Oil Exploration Blocks

West African country Ghana, a relative newcomer to the oil industry, plans to award as many as nine offshore blocks off its west coast in 2018 and 2019, Ghana’s energy ministry said on Thursday.

Ghana—where commercial crude oil production started in 2010—plans to award six of those new offshore blocks in 2018 and the other three next year, in a mix of competitive tenders and direct negotiations, the energy ministry said in a statement, as carried by Reuters.

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, the state-run company, will obtain one of the blocks that it will explore with a strategic partner, according to the ministry. The government has picked a committee that will oversee the awarding of the oil blocks to domestic and international oil companies.

Ghana’s current crude oil production is around 180,000 bpd, mostly pumped from three offshore fields, including the world-class Jubilee oil field operated by UK-listed Tullow Oil.

“This year’s licensing round focus would be on the western basin because of the existence of infrastructure, including two gas pipelines to the shore, three production facilities with a fourth FPSO in the offing by 2021,” Ghana’s energy ministry said.

In recent years, Tullow Oil and Italy’s Eni have boosted their operations and drilling offshore Ghana.

In May last year, Eni launched production from the Integrated Oil&Gas Development Project, in the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) block, off Ghana’s western coast. The OCTP integrated oil & gas development is made up of the Sankofa Main, Sankofa East, and Gye-Nyame fields, which have combined around 770 million barrel of oil (mboe) equivalent in place, of which 500 million barrels of oil and 270 mboe of non-associated gas.

Ghana is “about to have an oil boom,” Imad Mesdoua, senior consultant for Africa at Control Risks, told CNBC earlier this year.

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Rising oil prices, higher production, and new deals likely to come online by the end of the year will drive the expected oil boom in Ghana, according to Mesdoua.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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