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Ghana to launch first exploration licensing round in fourth quarter 2018 - minister

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Promit and Nidhi Verma

(Reuters) - will launch its first exploration licensing round in the last quarter of this year offering about six offshore blocks, minister said.

currently produces 200,000 barrels of per day (bpd), led by its flagship Jubilee field which produces about 100,000 bpd, he said.

The west African nation, which became a significant producer in 2010 when it began pumping from the offshore Jubilee field, is keen to unlock its vast and gas resources.

Adam said global majors like BP, and some independent producers have shown interest in acquiring a stake in assets in

"We have asked them to wait for our first bidding round which is scheduled for the last quarter of this year," Adam told in He said would put up another six offshore blocks for auction next year.

Drawn to Ghana's hydrocarbon potential, recently signed a deal with to explore for in the Deepwater Cape Three Point offshore (DWCTP) oilfield.

is doing due diligence to find a local partner to explore the block, a condition required to operate a field in Ghana, he said.

"Once they select the local partner, we are ready to go to parliament for ratification," he said. He refused to elaborate on the timeline for completing the deal.

Aker AS, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, agreed in February to buy Hess Corporation's unit in a $100 million deal, gaining access to a 50 percent stake in the deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block.

The block holds an estimated 550 million barrels of equivalent in contingent resources and potential for a further 400 million barrels.

Adam said Aker may not have to pay capital gains tax on its transaction with Hess as the block is covered by a stability clause.

Stability clauses guarantee that the terms of an contract stay the same throughout its life.

"Some of our contracts are covered by stability clauses ... the contract with Hess was covered under a stability agreement so any transfer of ownership may not require capital gains tax," he added.

However, he cautioned, the question is subject to interpretation by revenue authorities.

He said Italy's which has stake in two blocks in wants more blocks in the nation.

wants to be a petroleum hub for It has drawn up plans to build four refineries of about 150,000 bpd each in the next 12 years, he said.

Ghana's only refinery, the Tema Refinery, processes about 25,000 bpd of oil, far below its capacity.

"Very soon we will launch a programme to attract investment into refineries," he added.

(Reporting by Promit and Nidhi Verma; Editing by Adrian Croft)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 21:08 IST