Saturday 21 September 2019

Clontarf Energy boss dismisses rumour of Ghana progress as shares jump

John Teeling says there’s ‘no evidence of change’
John Teeling says there’s ‘no evidence of change’

Fearghal O'Connor

Clontarf Energy owner John Teeling has dismissed reports that the company had recommenced negotiations with the government of Ghana to allow it to explore a potentially lucrative offshore exploration off the coast of the African country,

Clontarf - which is a long-time joint-venture partner in the Tano block with fellow Irish exploration firm Petrel Resources - saw its share price jump by over 25pc in one day this week after 64 million shares in the company changed hands.

The spike followed reports in industry publications that the parties had finalised a new agreement that would now be presented to the cabinet in Ghana for final approval.

But when contacted by the Sunday Independent, Teeling insisted that the company has had no word at all from Ghana that any new progress had been made in negotiations that stalled almost a decade ago.

Teeling said that Clontarf was prone to such fluctuations, but that it had been an unusually large jump.

"There was a big movement in the share price this week. But we have no evidence that anything has changed in Ghana," said Teeling.

"We know that our proposal is before the cabinet in Ghana, but we haven't heard anything on that. It is unlikely that it has gone through the cabinet, because I think we would know immediately. Sometimes in shares like this they can become the target of speculation."

Clontarf, which is also searching for lithium deposits in South America, did the original deal on the Tano 2A block in 2008 before Tullow Oil's massive Jubilee oil field had created major focus on the country's resource potential.

The deal was renegotiated in 2010 with Ghana's national petroleum corporation and that was due to go to government for parliamentary approval. But when the government changed the deal was sidelined. The previous administration, which had struck the original deal in 2010 - and is now back in power - has reignited industry speculation that a full licensing agreement for the block will finally be approved.

"They [the new government] are very keen to clean up any legal issues before they go out on their new bid round. I can't - and won't - give anyone a date on when all of this might be completed because nine years of fairly bitter experience, and a lot of money spent, has put manners on me. It has just sat there and we have been trying to do other things in recent years."

Sunday Indo Business

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