Kate Mackenzie Interest grows in Ghana, and in small oil

Kosmos Energy, a privately-held oil company with a stake in Ghana’s newly-discovered oil reserves, has been the subject of interest from China and India’s ONGC. Now Shell is rumoured to be looking into Kosmos – although with Shell’s substantial operations in nearby Nigeria it would be somewhat surprising if they hadn’t considered it.

Kosmos, which is backed by private equity groups Warburg Pincus and Blackstone, is up for sale with a decision expected in July. It has just over 30 per cent stake in the Jupiter field in the Gulf of Guinea, which holds more than 1bn barrels of recoverable oil, making it one of the significant finds in recent years. However oil majors have not yet become involved in Ghana.

Two fellow small oil contenders are involved in Jubilee; Anadarko of the US, with an equal share of the field, and UK-listed Tullow with just under 23 per cent.

The past few months have seen massive interest in small oil companies as the recession has seen oil companies perform well relative to other sectors, while oil falling from last year’s highs created investment opportunities for some. Heritage Oil’s merger with Genel Energy and Chinese interest in Addax, while Dragon Oil sold its outstanding shares to Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Companies. And the interest in Kosmos certainly won’t hurt Tullow, which has also had some exploration success in Africa, and whose shares rose as much as 4.36 per cent today.

Related links:

Energy groups lured by Ghana’s Kosmos (FT, 04/06/09)