COVID-19: Aker Energy, partners postpone operations

  • 150 staff, including 16 employees in Ghana could be laid off
  • Hopeful to revive project when situation stabilises

Aker Energy and its license partners have taken the decision to postpone the development of the Pecan field in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana due to global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the B&FT has learnt.

Aker Energy and its partners, Lukoil, GNPC and Fuel Trade had an aggressive plan to deploy cutting edge technology to develop the Pecan Field and had in February, 2020 entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Yinson to award contracts for the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Pecan field.

Aker Energy had also awarded the contract for geotechnical and geophysical survey services to Fugro Ghana Ltd (Fugro) for the Pecan field, whilst ramping up the organization with both technical and support personnel to commence the project during the summer of 2020.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted global supply chains with many contractors and suppliers unable to deploy.

Country Director, Kadijah Amoah, of Aker Energy Ghana Ltd explains, in a statement exclusively seen by the B&FT, that the main reason for the postponement is the significant restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus that will reduce capacity on the supply side.

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“The ability to execute on schedule and within cost is critical for both tax returns to Ghana and for profits to investors. The COVID-19 situation significantly hinders the ability to execute on a plan from project start to first oil of only 37 months. Aker Energy has invested hundreds of millions of dollars so far and is determined to ramp up investments again to realize the project when the time is right in the future,” says Mrs. Amoah.

As the company had recently ramped up its organization in preparedness for commencing the project, the decision to postpone has meant that Aker Energy will now have to downsize its staff strength in both Norway and Ghana to adjust to the activity level ahead.

A process to right-size the organization has commenced and a total of up to 150 employees and full-time consultants in Norway and Ghana may be affected. 16 employees in Ghana may be laid off, but the majority, up to around 130 employees and consultants, may leave the company in Norway.

“We have worked hard to recruit competent, talented and experienced people to Aker Energy. It is very unfortunate to be forced to lay-off such a strong team that has proven itself competent, resilient and loyal through two high-paced and exciting years. We, however, remain committed to ensuring that the project will be realised in the future, and hope the company again can offer existing opportunities when the situation stabilises,” says Mrs. Amoah.

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Aker Energy Ghana, a subsidiary of Norwegian-based oil exploration and production firm Aker Energy AS, is an exploration and Production Company and the operator of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block.

It holds a 50 percent participating interest in the license, and the partners are Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano Limited (38%), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10%) and Fueltrade Limited (2%). The block holds discovered resources of between 450-550 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Aker Energy aims to become the oil and gas operator of choice offshore Ghana, by maturing and producing resources in a safe, efficient and reliable manner to the benefit of the company, partners and the people of Ghana.