Some players in the energy sector say the withdrawal of ExxonMobil and British Petroleum from the bidding process for oil blocks is disappointing. The two international oil companies had earlier submitted applications for direct negotiations for block 5 and 6 in the ongoing licensing bid round but pulled out at the embers. It is not clear yet why the two multinational companies decided to pull out at the last minute. Speaking to 3news, Executive Director of KITE Ghana, Ishmael Agyekumhene says the withdrawal of the two, is unfortunate. “I wouldn’t know what informed their withdrawal, but the presence of those big companies sends a signal. Their presence in your bidding means you have arrived as an oil producing country. I just hope they come back in one way or the other,” he said. Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) Ben Boakye said irrespective of the withdrawal, the process should still continue with due diligence. “The disappointing part is that you have over 16 companies submitting applications and then later, it reduces to 3. Nobody is happy when the big guys leave the table. We at ACEP wished they were still in the process, but all the same, we hope the process continues.” But Energy analyst with the Institute of Energy Security, Mikdad Mohammed says, the withdrawal is not surprising. “It’s not a surprise, because I know they got data on the blocks they were bidding for. So maybe it could be that their assessment of the data, didn’t meet their criteria to continue with the bidding,” he explained. Meanwhile, ENI and Vitol, as well as Tullow Ghana Limited, submitted bids for block 3 with First E&P submitting bid for block 2.