Court directs Eni to set aside 30% of Sankofa’s proceeds in escrow account

Kevin Okyere, CEO-Springfield Group

A Hight Court has ordered Italian oil and gas firms ENI and Vitol to set aside 30 percent of oil proceeds from the Sankofa Field in an escrow account, pending the final determination of an application filed by Springfield E&P – a wholly Ghanaian-owned upstream firm.

The two oil companies were directed to unitise their fields by the Ministry of Energy in April 2020 after it found that the Sankofa Field belonging to Eni and Springfield’s Afina straddle, but this has not happened after more than one year.

Springfield, which described the ruling as a step closer to developing a major deepwater oil discovery operated by an independent African company, said in a statement that the payment amounts to approximately US$40million a month and will be directed to an account agreed by both parties. The court’s order took effect last Friday.

“This is a welcome vindication of Springfield’s position on the issue of unitisation and a positive result,” said Chief Executive Officer and founder of Springfield, Kevin Okyere.

He said that his company was forced to take the legal route following Eni’s reluctance to follow the Minister of Energy’s directive, and for all parties to reach an amicable resolution to this unfortunate impasse.

“Springfield is not interested in stalling ongoing crude oil production on the Sankofa Field, and believes in fairness and justice for all irrespective of their size and position,” he reiterated, adding that “the consequences of this case for the Ghanaian oil industry will be systemic and immediate”.

He also believes the ruling could open the way for constructive negotiations and swift agreement in the interest of all parties, including the state, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and hard-pressed stakeholders in the country’s nascent energy industry.

Mr. Okyere added:Springfield looks forward to working with Eni as operator of the unitised field in maximising production and the economic benefits for all stakeholders, including the government and citizens of Ghana”.

Meanwhile, Eni when contacted said it is reviewing the ruling to inform the next line of action: “We take note of the ruling by the High Court today [last Friday]. We are waiting to receive the full detailed ruling of the Court and review same in order to establish the impact it could have on our current operations. We fully expect to take the appropriate steps necessary in order to protect our operations in the country, including appealing against this ruling”.

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