Bids of all companies that showed interest in the first-ever oil bloc licensing round in Ghana will be opened on May 21, this year.
The opening of bid, which will be done in the full glare of the media, civil society organisations and other interested parties, will be followed by the announcement of winners on July 2 after which the contracts will be expected to be presented to Parliament for ratification in September.
The Chairperson of the Organising Committee of Ghana’s delegation to the 50th Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, Ms Patricia Assam, announced this at a special bidders breakfast meeting at the Hilton, Downtown Houston last Thursday.
The world is expected to turn its attention to the opening of the bids because of the attention it has attracted over the years.
Fourteen bids out of 16 companies that were prequalified will be present at the historic event.
The companies are vying for five out of six blocs which were advertised sometime last year. The sixth, has already been awarded to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) as part of a special arrangement under the oil exploration laws of the country.
Key among the requirements for the selection process will be technical and financial capabilities of companies and also years of experience among other things.
The Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu, gave an assurance that the process would be executed in a transparent and open manner to ensure that the best companies won the bids.
According to him, the intentions of the government regarding the process were clear and noted that “we want companies that are awarded blocks to drill and not own them without any action”.
He said the decision of the government had been lauded across the world and indicated that subsequent rounds would be open in the same manner.
A Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr Amin Adam, said all the requirements that qualified companies were modelled around the oil laws of the country.
Aside the financials and technical capabilities, he said the evaluation committee would also consider the fiscal and the local content.
He said the government would encourage consortiums among players in the industry to boost their financial and technical capabilities to be able to win some of the blocks.
“We want to take our oil exploration activities to the next level and we want companies that are capable in all aspects to come in to help in that direction,” he said and added that “we wish all the bidders good luck and we hope that once they win, they will get to work”.
Dr Adam said the government deliberately limited the number of blocs to be bid for because it was the first time by Ghana. Subsequently, he said based on the success of this round, more blocs would be made available.
The oil companies, including Tullow, Kosmos, BP, Freddie Jordan (sponsors of the meeting) among others, present at the meeting, expressed delight at the processes and expressed the hope that the evaluation committee would conduct a diligent exercise when the bids were opened.