The commercial division of the Accra High Court dismissed a judicial review application brought before it by ENI Ghana Exploration and Production Limited and Vitol Upstream Ghana Limited.
The review application was in connection with a number of directives given by then Energy Minister John Peter Amewu for the unitization of ENI’s Sankofa oil field and the Afina oil field of Springfield Exploration and Production Limited.
Mr. Amewu back in April 2020, gave a directive for ENI and Springfield to execute a Unitization and Unit Operating Agreement (UUOA) after an independent study by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) showed that ENI’s Sankofa Oil field and Springfield’s Afina oil field were connected.
The Sankofa Oil field is part of ENI’s Offshore Cape Three Points project off Ghana’s Atlantic Coast, which it says has reserves of about 40 billion cubic meters of gas and 500 million barrels of oil.
The Afina oil field on the other hand, which was discovered by Springfield in 2019, is said to contain 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 0.7 trillion cubic feet of gas.
While Springfield sided with the Minister’s call for unitization, ENI and its partner Vitol on the other hand consistently argued that there was no basis for Springfield’s Afina discovery to be considered commercially viable and that the ministry’s order for Unitization was premature.
The Ghanaian subsidiary of the Italian Multinational Oil and Gas Company about two months ago dragged Ghana to the London Tribunal for attempting to force a Springfield E&P on it, a development which President Akufo-Addo bemoaned and promised to resolve.
While that case at the London tribunal is yet to be determined, a similar case brought before the commercial division of the Accra High Court by ENI and Vitol has been dismissed for being unmeritorious.
ENI was seeking a number of reliefs, including a declaration that the purported directives of the then Energy Minister were illegal.
They also sought a declaration that the Minister did not follow due process of law in issuing the purported directives, among others.
In describing the Judicial Review Application as unmeritorious, the court noted among other things that the motion paper to the application and the affidavit filed by the applicants in support of their application were incompetent.
It also said a careful read-through of section 34(1) of the Petroleum Exploration Act, (Act 919) of the year 2018 does not show that the Minister of Energy’s directive violated the said provision of the law. The court finally awarded a cost of GHC 10,000 to each of the Attorney General’s Department and Springfield E&P.