By Promit Mukherjee and Nidhi Verma
"We have asked them to wait for our first bidding round which is scheduled for the last quarter of this year," Adam told Reuters in New Delhi. He said Ghana would put up another six offshore blocks for auction next year.
Exxon 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 Energy AS, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, agreed in February to buy Hess Corporation's Ghana 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 oil 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 oil 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 Ghana revenue authorities.
"Very soon we will launch a programme to attract investment into refineries," he added.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee 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.)