(Reuters) Russia’s Lukoil is in talks with Indian companies to sell its stake in the Pecan oilfield off Ghana, which could help to break an impasse in submitting development plans for the field, sources familiar with the matter said.
Talks between Lukoil officials and Indian companies, including ONGC Videsh, the foreign investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp, were held this month on the sidelines of the India Energy Week conference, two Indian and two Ghanaian sources said.
The Russian firm is talking directly to potential buyers as investment bankers are not getting involved due to Western sanctions on Russia, one of the sources said. Norway’s Aker Energy, controlled by Aker ASA, owns 50% of the deepwater block off Ghana where the Pecan field is located, while Lukoil holds 38%, Ghana National Petroleum Corp. has 10%, and Fueltrade has 2%.
ONGC, Lukoil, Aker, and Ghana’s petroleum ministry did not reply to requests for comment.
Aker has said the submission of Pecan’s development plan to Ghanaian authorities has been postponed amid fears the project could face sanctions because of the involvement of Lukoil.
Aker ASA Chief Executive Oeyvind Eriksen has said his firm is in talks with Ghanaian authorities, and one option is for Lukoil to divest from the project. Lukoil disputes that it poses a sanctions risk for the project.
“The company and its management are not subject to any sanctions, therefore there are no obstacles in this respect for the joint development of the oilfield,” Lukoil said in a statement.
One Indian official said the development of fields in Ghana was costly because most of them have associated gas that cannot be flared, and establishing a liquefaction facility would require an investment of more than a billion dollars.