President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo is upset by the decision of Italian oil and gas firm, Eni, for going to the International Tribunal in London, United Kingdom, to seek resolution of the impasse between them and Springfield E&P, a wholly-owned Ghanaian upstream player.
“I’m still very upset that at the end of day, the matter that we were having discussion on has become the subject of notice of arbitration,” President Akufo-Addo said last Friday when he met chiefs in the Western Region at the Western Regional House of Chiefs during his tour of the region.
The President said there had been several closed door meetings to resolve the issue and, therefore, felt bad about the new development.
Nevertheless, the President said: “I want to assure you that we will continue with the discussions and find a common ground leading to a possible solution to the matter.”
“We should settle this matter and I will do my possible best to resolve it,” he added.
According to energynewsafrica.com’s sources, President Akufo-Addo had held meetings with the Italian government representatives and officials of Eni and also held separate meetings with officials of Springfield E&P and directed the country’s Energy Ministry and Attorney General to draft heads of agreement detailing a roadmap for the peaceful resolution of the matter.
Energynewsaafrica.com’s sources indicate that the Ministry of Energy and Attorney General disregarded President Akufo-Addo’s directive.
Unhappy with the development, the Italian oil and gas firm, Eni, filed a suit at the International Tribunal in London last month to challenge a directive by the Ministry of Energy, asking them to unitise the Sankofa offshore field operated by Eni and Afina oil block operated by Springfield E&P.
In a statement filed by three renowned lawyers namely Craig Tevendale, Andrew Cannon and Charlie Morgan from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Eni is seeking five reliefs from the Tribunal.
The claimant wants the Tribunal to declare that the purported 9th April Directive, 14th October Directive, 6th November Directive and any other steps taken to implement those directives represent a breach of contract under the Petroleum Agreement.
The claimant also wants the Tribunal to declare that the respondents take no further action to implement the purported unitisation of the Sankofa Field and Afina Discovery on the terms of the purported 14th October Directive, the Draft UUOA sought to be imposed by purported November Directive or otherwise.
The third relief the claimant is seeking is an order that the respondent pays damages in an amount to be quantified for the losses suffered by the claimant arising out of the respondent’s breaches of the petroleum agreement, Ghanaian law and International law on a joint and several basis.
Additionally, the claimant is seeking an order that the respondent pays all of the costs and expenses of the arbitration including the fees and expenses of the claimant counsel and any witnesses and/or experts in the Arbitration, the fees and expenses of the Tribunal and the fees of the SCC on a joint and several basis and /or an order such further or other relief as the Tribunal may in its discretion consider appropriate.
It would be recalled that in April 2020, Ghana’s former Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu issued a directive to Eni and Springfield E&P to begin talks and combine their adjacent oil and gas fields in April and gave them until September 18 to reach an agreement.
The Minister’s directive said that seismic data had indicated Eni’s Sankofa offshore field, which entered production in 2017, and Springfield’s Afina Discovery had identical reservoir and fluid properties.
“Regrettably, it has become obvious that the parties do not intend to comply with the ministry of energy’s directives,” the letter signed by Minister John Peter Amewu said.
A year after the directive, both Eni and Springfield E&P have failed to unitise the Sankofa offshore field and Afina Discovery.
Springfield took the case to a high court in Accra.
The court, in its ruling recently, directed Eni to escrow 30 percent of proceeds from the Sankofa offshore field pending the final determination of the case.