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The US Securities Exchange Commission rules have for a long time required petroleum and mining contracts to be filed and publicly available if such contracts were "material" to the company's business. This has allowed research on the contracts entered into by "junior" exploration companies that were publicly traded. This access has not been available for mid-to-large size companies for which individual contracts are not "material" to their business. Similar arrangements have been in place in Canada for some but perhaps not all securities exchanges. I don't have information about how recent and proposed legislative and SEC rule changes impact on the materiality criterion.  I don't know how London addresses this issue on the LSE and on AIM.

Tullow's Ghana agreements are now up on Tullow's website.

 

http://www.tullowoil.com/ghana/index.asp?pageid=62

Petroleum Agreements

Last updated: 19 May 2011

As part of Tullow's commitment to transparency, we are publishing a copy of our Ghana Petroleum Agreements for both the Deep Water Tano Contract Area and the West Cape Three Points Contract Area; we also include a copy of the relevant Deeds of Assignment. The Petroleum Agreements are being published at the request of, and with the approval of, the Government of Ghana.

File Downloads

Petroleum Agreements

File type/size

Deepwater Tano Contract Area, PA PDF, 7.01MB

PDF, 7.01MB

West Cape Three Points Contract Area, PA PDF, 7.67MB

PDF, 7.67MB

Deeds of Assignment

Deepwater Tano – Sep 2006 PDF, 1.35MB

PDF, 1.35MB

DeepWater Tano – Mar 2008 PDF, 245KB

PDF, 245KB

West Cape Three Points – Sep 2006 PDF, 397KB

PDF, 397KB

West Cape Three Points – Mar 2008 PDF, 304KB

PDF, 304KB

West Cape Three Points – Dec 2008 PDF, 2.44MB

PDF, 2.44MB

I was at the GNPC today, where I was told that a request for release of the contracts had come from the Minister 1 or 2 weeks ago. All contracts will be posted online at the GNPC, but also on the companies' individual websites, soonest
@Kobina, you are right. The GNPC has been publishing what the government gains in the oil consignments. But the issue of intrinsic consideration is how many of the barrels warranted the monies being posted. There is therefore the need to embed fiscal accounting standards and regular checks by our revenue authorities. Oil deals are trickier and complex and governments must play smart or you will be short-changed.
@ Emeka: To the government's credit, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been publishing specifics of the government take. Stephen Yeboah may correct me if I'm wrong.
Certainly a very good measure. I hope other countries, including Nigeria, follow suit and require the requisite ministries to make this information available online. In fact, budget allocation to state and local governments should be published online and in the print media - let the people know who to go after if any penny disappears!

This is a remarkable victory for transparency. We awaiting government's publication of the contract on its website. Now I can see the US Congress transparency reforms will penetrate the opaque nature of oil deals. Citizens will be empowered enough to know the exact amount of revenue that come from oil companies to government and how government uses it.

 

I have heard the same from sources in Ghana - still waiting for the contracts to appear on a government website...

Ghana's Energy Minister announced during the DANIDA Development Days, which focused on Africa's natural resources and governance challenges, that all of Ghana's oil contracts will be up on the government website by close of this week. He said he has directed the Chief Director of the Ministry accordingly. Great news!

To make these efforts more sustainable, there should be a clause requiring mandatory contract disclosure in the Petroleum Exploration and Production bill soon to be re-laid in parliament.