ExxonMobil said earlier this week it was giving up its attempt to get a stake in the Jubilee field that has been touted as a game-changer for Ghana. The share purchase agreement with Kosmos Energy had emerged last October, but it was met with fierce opposition by the Ghanaian government, which had been left out of the $4bn venture.
The US’ biggest oil company declined to explain its decision to terminate the share purchase agreement, noting Exxon does not discuss the details of commercial agreements.
But the reasons for Exxon’s withdraw are clear. Ghana’s interference in attempts to close the deal smack of the interventionist policies of oil-rich countries such as Venezuela. And Exxon has always been one to insist it plays by the rules or does not play at all. It is a policy that has cost the company access to key areas and money in the ground, when nationalization or some other change in policy leads to new rules.