The Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, Paul Apraku Twum Barimah, has disclosed that government is making efforts at resolving the impasse between ENI/ Vitol and Springfield Ghana and has therefore urged stakeholders to support government in the process.
Paul Twum Barimah also rubbished assertions by the minority about a potential judgement debt as a result of the impasse and denied that judgement debt could arise out of the case since the president of the nation is committed and determined to help resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all the parties.
Speaking to the media in an interview, Honourable Twum Barimah, who is also a member on the parliamentary select committee on mines and energy, urged parties involved in the tussle to adhere to the laws regulating the industry to ensure a smooth operation in the oil and gas industry.
“When we fully obey the laws, rules and regulations governing the industry, there wouldn’t be any need for institutions to plead or call on the president to intervene in any impasse but because we have decided to ignore the rules we end up in situations where we then call on the president to intervene. But I can assure the good people of Ghana and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry that the president is seriously working with the officials at the ministry of Energy to bring an end to the issue.”
It would be recalled that President Akufo Addo last year promised to resolve the ongoing impasse between Eni Ghana and the Ghanaian owned international oil company, Springfield Exploration & Production (SEP).
This followed the inability of the two companies to comply with a directive to link (unitise) their neighbouring discoveries, located in their contract areas. Government in the year 2020 issued the directive for the two companies to unitise, under the management of John Peter Amewu, former minister of Energy.
Many interventions to resolve the situation proved futile forcing Eni Ghana, to drag Ghana to the London Tribunal for attempting to force a wholly-owned Ghana upstream company, Springfield E&P on it.
President Akufo-Addo while responding to a request by the Paramount Chief of Eastern Nzema Traditional Council and President of the Nzemamanle Council, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III, to address the issue between the two companies last year, said he is personally committed to ensuring that the issue is resolved amicably.
“I am still very upset that matters we have been discussing have become the subject of arbitration with notice of arbitration coming in,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said he had had two separate meetings with the parties, all aimed at finding a common ground to deal with the matter without any litigation.
“But I want to assure you that we would continue to discuss and find an amicable solution.
In April 2020, the then Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu, in accordance with Section 34(1) of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919), directed ENI and Springfield to execute unitisation with respect to the Sankofa field in the OCTP and Afina discovery in the WCTP contract areas.
Prior to the directive, the minister had been satisfied by a geophysical and geological analysis in March 2018, which showed that the Sankofa Cenomanian Reservoir extended into the WCTP Block 2 contract area.
The situation saw the industry stakeholders calling on the government to encourage the companies to use arm’s length dialogue and common-sense approach to resolve the differences between the companies to produce oil from the straddling fields.
The current Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, earlier this year told the media that that until recently, when the parties resorted to the court to resolve certain issues, the government was engaging the parties to speed up the process towards unitisation.
That notwithstanding, the minister said, the ministry was committed to ensuring that the issues were resolved expeditiously to enable the unitisation of the fields for optimum recovery of petroleum from the fields for all parties.
He said the ministry was working hard to ensure that there was optimum recovery of petroleum through activities that conformed with international best practice.
The 30 per cent, appeal & arbitration
In May this year, the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court ordered the operators of the Sankofa Oil Field to preserve 30 per cent of all the revenues which will be accrued from the field until the final determination of a legal dispute relating to it.
Per the order of preservation, the 30 per cent revenue must be paid by the operators, (Eni Limited and Vitol Upstream Limited) into an account agreed by all the contesting parties, which was appealed by Eni Ghana but lost.
Eni Ghana then filed a suit at the International Tribunal in London, United Kingdom, to challenge a directive by Ghana’s Ministry of Energy, asking them to unitise Sankofa offshore oil field and Afina oil block operated by Springfield E&P, a wholly Ghanaian upstream player.