ExxonMobil Corp. signed a deal with Ghana on Jan. 18 to explore for oil in the Deepwater Cape Three Point offshore (DWCTP) oil field.
The signing followed direct negotiations between Ghana and ExxonMobil without an open competitive tender due to the nature of the field, where the depth ranges from 2,000 m to 4,000 m (6,562 ft to 13,123 ft), Ghanaian officials said.
Ghana, which exports cocoa and gold, began commercial production of oil from its flagship Jubilee reserves in late 2010. Other firms drilling in the West African country include the U.K.’s Tullow Oil and Kosmos Energy.
The ExxonMobil deal is the first to be signed after the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in September 2017 drew an ocean boundary favoring Ghana in a dispute with its neighbor Ivory Coast. ExxonMobil, lead operator, holds an 80% interest in the DWCTP, while state-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp. holds 15%. ExxonMobil is yet to select a local partner to own the remaining 5% as Ghana’s laws required, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko told Reuters.
The agreement is subject to approval by parliament, and ExxonMobil is expected to start exploration this year, Agyarko said.