Ghana rejects Kosmos stake sale in Jubilee oil field to ExxonMobil

Africa-focussed oil explorer Kosmos Energy yesterday called off its $4-billion stake sale in Ghana's Jubilee oil field to energy giant ExxonMobil following fierce opposition to the deal from the Ghana government.

State-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which has a stake in the field, opposed the sale as it was keen to hike its own holding in the Jubilee oil field, which could potentially hold 650 million barrels to 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent. 

In October 2009, Kosmos, in which private equity firms Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus hold a majority stake, said that it would sell its 23.5-per cent stake in the Jubilee oil field to ExxonMobil for $4 billion. (See: Exxon to acquire Kosmos Energy's stake in Ghana oil field for $4 billion)  

Both private equity firms were in for a rich bonanza as they had invested a  $800 million and would have reaped a five-fold return on investment in a span of five years.

Discovered in 2007, the Jubilee oil-field, off the Ghana coast, is one of the largest offshore oil finds in the last decade in West Africa. The field is divided into two licence areas  - West Cape Three Points and Deepwater Tano.

Privately held Kosmos Energy, which has oil stakes in West Africa, is the lead operator in Jubilee oil fields with a 30.875-per cent stake.