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ExxonMobil Buys $4b Stake in Ghanaian Oil Field

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ExxonMobil Corporation has agreed to buy a $4 billion stake in an oil field off the coast of Ghana, as the global energy giant seeks a foothold in a major new oil-producing region.
The deal is Exxon’s first major purchase in a decade and appears to highlight that the company believes oil prices will rise in the long term. Some energy analysts have asserted that weak demand for fuel can not support even the current price of $70 a barrel.
Although a spokesman for Exxon declined to comment, sources briefed on the deal said while the parties have reached a binding agreement, the deal hasn’t yet been completed and is therefore subject to change. One outstanding issue is that the Ghanaian national oil company has the right to increase its stake.
The seller is Dallas-based Kosmos Energy, which was part of a group that made the 2007 offshore discovery that is estimated to hold 1.8 billion barrels of oil. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Tullow Oil Plc also own separate stakes in the field, known as Jubilee.
On Monday, Kosmos informed bidders for its 23.5 per cent stake in the field that it had "entered into an exclusive binding agreement" with Exxon, according to a person who had seen the letter.
The news of the deal was cheered by investors. In London trading, Tullow rose 8.4 per cent to GBP 12.09 ($19.28). In New York, Anadarko gained 6.1 per cent to $65.38 and Exxon rose 1.6 per cent at $68.66.
Also in New York, shares of Blackstone Group LP, a part-owner of Kosmos along with private-equity firm Warburg Pincus, rose 6.2 per cent.
The oil industry has become increasingly optimistic about the prospects for oil production in this region of the West African coast. Recently, a separate consortium announced a discovery off Sierra Leone, leading analysts to speculate that the 700-mile stretch between the two finds could be dotted with buried sands containing precious light crude oil.
Exxon’s entry amounts to a seal of approval. "If Exxon Mobil likes this stuff, then everyone knows it’s good," says Neil McMahon, an energy analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein.
The acquisition is the largest deal for the famously conservative company in over a decade. In the late 1990s, Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation combined in an $81.2 billion merger, creating the world’s largest shareholder-owned oil company.
Around the same time, Exxon bid aggressively for licenses in several deepwater blocks off Angola, which was then an unproven oil region emerging from years of civil war. The deal proved prescient: Angola is now a major oil producer and in 2007 became a member of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Opening its wallet to purchase oil assets signals a new strategic direction for Exxon. Over the last decade, the Texas behemoth has been reluctant to make any large purchases, even as its holdings of cash and repurchased stock ballooned. At midyear, it held $15.6 billion in cash, and the value of treasury shares it has bought back since 2001 were worth $173.6 billion.
The Ghana purchase suggests Exxon is moving to replenish its oil reserves by building its portfolio asset by asset, rather than by making a mega deal. Indeed, analysts say that Exxon, with its $325 billion market capitalization, may be too big already in the eyes of regulators to swallow another large oil company.
Exxon also is engaged in some high-profile, deepwater exploration activities off the coasts of the Philippines, Turkey, Madagascar and Greenland.
It isn’t clear which company would be the operator of Jubilee, which is expected to begin producing oil in 2010. Tullow has a 34.7 per cent stake and Anadarko also holds a large interest.

 

 


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AfDB Appoints Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho as Director of Statistics Department

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African Development Bank has appointed Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, an economist and statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department, effective June 16, 2024.

Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho

Dr Omotosho, a Nigerian national, has more than 21 years experience in developing data strategies to align with the strategic objectives of organisations. He also brings expertise in data compilation, data analytics, macroeconomic research, and policy analysis.

Omotosho previously served as Director of Research and Statistics at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in Sierra Leone, where he was seconded from the Central Bank of Nigeria. At WAMA, he provided advice on monetary and economic integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Prior to that he held various positions within the Statistics and Research Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As an Assistant Director in the Statistics Department, he led the data analytics team and managed the Central Bank’s strategic initiatives on big data and data analytics. He oversaw projects aimed at enhancing data analytics capabilities for policymaking, automating surveys and statistical systems, improving data sharing infrastructure and developing social media listening tools. His leadership fostered a culture of data analytics within the Central Bank, driving innovation and efficiency in operational and policy processes.

Dr Omotosho holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (2021); a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Datamining from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom (2011); a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2008); and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2000).

He has contributed extensively to academic literature, with publications in reputable journals, including the Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of International Money & Finance, Macroeconomic & Finance in Emerging Market Economies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal of Applied Statistics. His research covers big data, econometrics, monetary and fiscal policy interactions, business cycle drivers, and the macroeconomic implications of resource shocks for small open, emerging economies.

Omotosho is a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, the International Association for Official Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am grateful to President Adesina for this appointment, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued success and growth of the African Development Bank Group, an institution that plays such a pivotal role in the economic and social development of our beloved continent, Africa. I am fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position while collaborating effectively with the Bank’s senior leadership team, colleagues, and other strategic partners.”

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, a respected statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department. Dr Omotosho brings to this role an impressive track record in statistics, economics, and data analytics. He will support the Bank in building a robust data ecosystem to achieve our strategic objectives and sustain our long-term development goals.”


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ATII Awards Scholarship to Students

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A knowledge transfer and technology innovation hub, African Technology and Innovation Institutes (ATII) has awarded scholarships to ten pupils from Bridge International Academy, Lagos.

Through its Junior Scholars Program in partnership with Lumina Educational and Empowerment Foundation (Lumina), the scholarship will meet the educational needs of the benefitting pupils through their primary education, which is extendable to their university education.

The Junior Scholars Program is an offshoot of  ATII’s  Innovation, Leaders, Fellowship and Scholars Program that aims to empower and cater to the welfare of students aged 3-12 years from underprivileged and low-income communities by partnering with other organisations to provide scholarships for these rough diamonds.

In addition to the scholarship, ATII also provides STEM-based back-to-school kits and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) materials to spark their desire for education and to contribute to their communities in STEM-related fields.

In her congratulatory message, the Founder of ATII,  Prof. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua represented by Mr Sunday Awolowo, ATII’s Programs Manager, praised the students for their “outstanding academic excellence” and their “resolve to continue to improve in their academic pursuits, especially in the STEM fields.”

“We hope that the scholarships will continue to encourage you to do great work to pursue STEM. We hope one day in the future you all will be inspired to be an Engineer, a technologist, a mathematician or scientist,” Prof. Ekeng-Itua said.

The ATII Junior Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Mrs Ezinne Tochie-Asogwa, Manager of Academics at Bridge International Academy, expressed her appreciation to ATII for the generous gesture.

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bridge International Academy, we appreciate the kind gesture of ATII.

ATII is passionate about the next generation of leaders and individuals who will change the world, pursuing its mission to promote African and Indigenous Technologies, while supporting human capital development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ATII scholarships will provide financial assistance to the students as they continue their education in STEM fields. The program will also provide mentorship and support from ATII professionals.

 


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CBN, FintechNGR Chart the Way Forward to Enhance Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

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In light of recent developments aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s fintech sector, Ade Bajomo, President of FintechNGR, led a team from the Association’s Governing Council in an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to chart the way forward.

Receiving the team at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, commended FintechNGR’s active advocacy efforts that have significantly improved the fintech ecosystem.

The Central Bank emphasized the need for the Association to work closely with stakeholders to operate within regulatory provisions, facilitate compliance, and establish robust risk management frameworks and governance structures.

Mr. Ikeazor stated, “The Central Bank understands the critical roles of fintechs in driving financial inclusion to the last mile. Our efforts are geared towards helping fintechs become more attractive to investors and achieve greater success.”

During the meeting, Ade Bajomo noted that while stakeholders strive to comply with regulatory requirements, they sometimes face challenges beyond their control.

“The common understanding within our ecosystem is that compliance makes the environment safer for all to innovate, scale, and collaborate. FintechNGR will ensure the co-creation of a support structure with the CBN to enhance compliance.”

Some of the initiatives the regulators plan to pursue with the ecosystem include making the 2024 Nigeria Fintech Week more impactful, enriching the activities of the Regulators Forum, organizing fintech learning series for various stakeholders, and exploring self-regulation status for FintechNGR to foster closer relationships with regulators.

FintechNGR remains committed to working with all regulators to better position the ecosystem to be more inclusive and impactful.

 


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