October 7, 2009 / 3:29 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ghana studying Exxon-Kosmos deal - govt source

* GNPC will pass deal to energy ministry - source

* Financial and technical criteria to be studied

(Adds details, background)

ACCRA, Oct 7 (Reuters) - State-run Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) is studying an agreement by Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) to buy Kosmos Energy’s stake in the Jubilee oil field in Ghana before passing it to the energy ministry for its blessing, a Ghanaian government source said on Wednesday.

“GNPC is required to look at the entire deal as negotiated,” said the government source involved in the energy sector.

“The idea is to ensure that it is the best offer not only in monetary terms but also it should come with the technical expertise,” the source told Reuters.

The Jubilee field is one of the largest oil finds in West Africa in the past decade.

Sources close to the matter said on Tuesday Exxon had agreed to buy a stake which analysts have previously valued at up to $5 billion. The sources did not say how much Exxon, which beat off western and Asian rivals for the stake, would be paying.

Private equity-backed Kosmos put its interests in the field, which it co-owns with UK-based oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW.L) and Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum (APC.N), on the market earlier this year, industry sources previously said.

Kosmos has a 30.875 percent stake in the West Cape Three Points block and an 18 percent interest in the Deepwater Tano block offshore Ghana.

GNPC itself has a 10 percent stake in the West Cape Three Points and Deepwater Tano concession areas, plus a 3.75 percent additional stake in the Jubilee field straddling the two concession areas, according to its website. Ghana suggested earlier this year GNPC could be interested in the Kosmos stake.

Under the Ghanaian vetting process for the deal, the energy ministry will pass it on to President John Atta Mills’ cabinet for approval, the government source said without giving a timeframe for a decision.

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