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Oilfield unitisation: 30% of ENI Sankofa revenue to go into escrow, court rules

The court said its decision will protect interests owned by Springfield while allowing Sankofa to continue operating and ENI to cover cost

A commercial court in Accra on Friday (25 June 2021) ruled that 30% of revenue from an ENI-operated oilfield be placed in an escrow account. Springfield, which operates the Afina oilfield neighbouring ENI’s Sankofa field, had asked the court to preserve revenue from Sankofa until a deal is reached and each company gets a share.

The court said its decision would protect the interests of Springfield while allowing Sankofa, which produces over 50,000 barrels of oil per day, to continue operating and cover costs.

There was no immediate comment from either company. With billions of dollars at stake, the ruling could escalate the dispute if it goes to international arbitration.

Reserve oilfield estimates

Oilfields that straddle each other are required under Ghanaian law to combine operations in order to reduce production costs.

But ENI and its partner Vitol have argued that there is no basis for Springfield’s Afina discovery to be considered commercially productive, and that an order last year from the Ministry of Energy to combine the oilfields was premature.

The partners will file their defence in that case in ten days, the court ordered.

Sankofa, which has been producing oil since 2017, is part of ENI’s Offshore Cape Three Points project off the Atlantic coast.

ENI says the project has reserves of roughly 500 million barrels of oil and 40 billion cubic metres of unassociated gas.

Springfield says Afina, discovered in 2019, holds 1.5 billion barrels of oil and approximately 19.8 billion cubic metres of gas.

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