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Dhirubhai-1 FPSO likely contender for redeployment on Pecan field offshore Ghana


Ocean Yield’s Dhirubhai-1 FPSO, which had been contracted by Reliance Industries offshore India from September 2008 to September 2018, is the likely contender to be redeployed offshore Ghana for the development of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block where lies the Pecan field. The vessel was converted in 2008 and has a oil production capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Ocean Yield is majority-owned by Aker Capital, whose company Aker Energy Ghana is the operator of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block offshore Ghana. While KKR is set to take over the management of Ocean Yield from Aker Capital, Aker Energy still has an option to acquire the FPSO for its Ghanaian deep-water project.

Aker Contracting FP ASA, an indirect subsidiary of Ocean Yield, and Aker Energy have notably entered into an agreement under which Aker Energy is granted an option to acquire the FPSO for $35m. However, the option is exercisable within a very particular timeframe: at the earliest 16 business days prior to settlement of KKR’s upcoming voluntary cash tender offer, and no later than 15 December 2021.

Because Aker Energy had previously paid Ocean Yield $17.9m as compensation for prior options on the same FPSO and related services, Aker Energy’s total investment to purchase the FPSO will amount to $52.9m, shall the option by exercised.

Discovered in the early 2010s by American independent Hess Corporation, the Pecan field is expected to be Ghana’s next major offshore oil & gas project. By the time the Aker Group acquired operatorship in 2018, Hess had already made seven discoveries, out of which all but one (Cob-1) had been declared commercial.

The project has always been a priority for Ghana and targeted first oil by 2021, but suffered several delays, first because of the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, settled in 2017, then because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In March 2020, Aker Energy notably issued a notice to Yinson Holdings terminating the Letter of Intent for the FPSO’s charter, operations & maintenance contract it had initially planned to award to the Malaysian contractor.

Since then, Aker Energy Ghana committed to finding a revised phased development to move the project forward, including via an alternate concept based on the utilisation of two small-sized FPSOs: one redeployed FPSO on the crest of Pecan in Phase 1 and another one in the North of Pecan to tie back additional resources in the northern part of the field in Phase 2.

However, Ghanaian authorities have grown impatient and in August 2021, Minister of Energy Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh presented a paper to Ghana’s Parliament according to which the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) would acquire a 37% additional interest in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) Block.

The same day, Minister of Finance Hon Ken Ofori-Atta had presented a Loan Agreement between the Government of Ghana and GNPC Explorco for the grant of a loan of up to $1.65bn for the company to meet its payment obligation to acquire the shares in Aker Energy Ghana while also contributing to a Capex of $350m over the 2021-2024 period to achieve first oil from Pecan Phase 1.

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