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New oil blocks : ACEP demands answers on why ExxonMobil, BP pulled out of bidding rounds

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
New oil blocks

The Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) has asked the Ministry of Energy to undertake some serious introspection to find out why big companies like ExxonMobil and British Petroleum, (BP) pulled out of the competitive bidding process for the 3 oil blocks put on offer by the Government.

Out of the 14 companies that were prequalified to bid for the 3 blocks put up on offer, only Tullow Oil, ENI and Vitol as well as First E and P submitted bids.

While describing the number of bids submitted as disappointing, the Executive Director of ACEP Ben Boakye, cautioned that if the necessary lessons are not learnt from this bidding exercise, future exercises might suffer.

In an interview with Citi FM Ben Boakye said, “I think we need to do some introspection, probably find out from the companies why all of a sudden they were not interested in competing for the oil blocks, so that will inform our subsequent bidding rounds. Because if it happens like that the next rounds could be even more disappointing, because then you may not even have an interest in the blocks.”

Mr. Boakye also urged relevant stakeholders to question why a large number of companies (16) rather applied for direct negotiation for the opportunity to explore blocks 5 and/or 6 in Ghana’s offshore oil area.

“What signal does the high interest in direct negotiation send?. In the coming days, we have to really dig deeper to find out why the companies want to explore the direct negotiation option. Is it because that side of the equation is weak and therefore everybody wants to exploit or because there are some constraints built into the competitive tendering process that wards the companies off ?. So we have to dive deeper into the two-pronged approaches to learn and make our competitive tendering process better.”

ExxonMobil, BP withdraw bids for new oil blocks

ExxonMobil and British Petroleum (BP) have pulled out from bidding for oil blocks in Ghana, in the ongoing Licensing Bid Round.

The two International Oil Companies (IOCs) had earlier submitted applications for direct negotiations for block 5 and 6 but pulled out at the embers. It is not clear yet why the two multinational companies decided to pull out at the last minute.

The deadline for the submission of bids for the blocks elapsed at 3 pm today, May 21, 2019.

However, at about 15:15 GMT Tuesday, when the bids were opened in the presence of pressmen and representatives of some of the companies which were pre-qualified, ExxonMobil and British Petroleum were missing from the race.

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