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Ghana launched its first upstream oil licensing round on 15 October, offering six offshore blocks with the aim of bringing fresh exploration and development impetus to West Africa’s newest oil exporter. At a time of rising crude prices and ongoing uncertainty over the direction of new petroleum policy in regional oil superpower Nigeria, the round’s timing could not have been better, but rather than the usual upbeat bid round launch message stressing Ghana’s upstream potential and generous fiscal terms, President Nana Akufo-Addo used the launch event to warn existing licenceholders that they needed to step up the pace of exploration.