Wires

UPDATE 1-Ghana to change laws on licenses to spur oil production

Libby George

(Adds quotes, updates throughout)

CAPE TOWN, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Ghana plans to revise its laws on oil and gas licenses in an effort to spur production and will revoke licenses from four companies that have not developed their assets, its deputy energy minister said on Wednesday.

Mohammed Amin Adam, Ghana's deputy minister for petroleum, told Africa Oil Week in Cape Town that the proposed changes would allow companies producing in blocks to explore elsewhere in the same area without having to get a new license. The ministry sent the plans to parliament last Friday, he said.

"We are changing our strategy," Adam said, adding they had provisions in law that "constrain investment."

They would also allow companies to continue exploring in marginal fields even once their license had expired.

Parliament has 21 days to review the regulatory changes, and Adam said he expected them to go forward without delay.

He said revisions are needed urgently as the nation's last bid round for 14 blocks "wasn't so successful as we anticipated," receiving fewer than four bids.

Additionally, he said Ghana expected 14 wells drilled, and $890 million invested between 2013 and 2016, but not a single well was drilled and companies spent just $95 million.

The government also plans to revoke licenses from four companies that are not developing their assets. The licenses were awarded between 2011 and 2016, but he declined to name the companies as they had not yet been notified.

"We are convinced that we cannot continue to allow them to hold the blocks," he said. (Reporting by Libby George Editing by Tim Cocks and Susan Fenton)