- - Monday, December 20, 2010


Deal reached on oil-field find

A U.S.-based oil exploration firm has announced it has settled a dispute with Ghana’s government over the discovery of an offshore oil field.

Kosmos Energy said it signed an agreement with Ghana and state-owned oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corp. (GNPC) to “amicably resolve several issues” that had soured its partnership to develop the Jublilee field, the biggest oil find off the coast of West Africa in a decade.

Under the agreement, Ghana said Kosmos would not face criminal charges or civil actions in its relationship with its local partner, the EO Group. Also, Kosmos said the agreement resolves issues regarding its sharing of data with potential purchasers, its ability to borrow money and an accidental discharge of mud earlier this year.

In August, Exxon Mobil Corp. pulled out of a $4.5 billion deal to purchase Kosmos’ share of the Jublilee field after months of opposition by Ghanaian officials who wanted it sold to the GNPC.

Kosmos began commercial oil production of the Jublilee field on Wednesday, with plans to produce up to 55,000 barrels per day this month and 120,000 barrels per day during the first half of 2011.


Prime minister announces new Cabinet

BAGHDAD | Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki overcame last-minute bickering within his fragile coalition Monday and submitted his new Cabinet, clearing a key hurdle to seating a government more than nine months after national elections.

But nearly one-third of the nominees were only acting ministers, an attempt to buy time to work out disagreements with a key part of Mr. al-Maliki’s coalition - the hard-line Shiite faction loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Parliament was expected to vote on the list of 42 ministers and other top government posts as early as Tuesday, according to Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance that won the most seats in the March 7 election and, until this month, bitterly fought Mr. al-Maliki from keeping his job.


Parliament to convene on Jan. 20

KABUL | Afghanistan’s parliament will convene on Jan. 20, more than four months after the fraud-tainted elections, the president’s spokesman said Monday.

Waheed Omar said the 249-seat parliament will be inaugurated after the winter break. The elections were held on Sept. 18 and the results ratified by the Independent Election Commission on Nov. 24.


Government fights Mexican drug gangs

GUATEMALA CITY | Guatemala suspended civil liberties in a remote state as it sent troops and police into the area to fight Mexican drug gangs that are running rampant.

A government decree published Monday declared a “state of siege” in the state of Alta Verapaz, where a Mexican drug gang called the Zetas operates. Local media have reported a wave of killings and robberies in Alta Verapaz in recent weeks.



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