Exxon agreed in early October to pay $4 billion (£2.4 billion) for a quarter stake in the Jubilee field off the coast of Ghana. The sale agreement, struck with Kosmos Energy, the US firm, was done despite requests from the Ghanaian government to slow down the process. When it was presented to the Ghanaians for approval, they refused and invited rival offers. The government has hired Freshfields, the law firm, to advise it on its legal options.
Ghana has no oil industry. The field, estimated to hold 1.8 billion barrels, has the potential to vastly alter the fortunes of a nation with a per capita GDP of $1,500. BP, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs, offered to buy the stake with Sinopec, the Chinese state oil group, and Ghana National Petroleum as partners. BP and Exxon declined to comment.
Anadarko also has a stake in Jubilee but it’s not on the table. The Woodlands-based independent also owns part of the Venus field about 700 miles north of Jubilee, giving it the bookends on what could be a massive area of reserves.