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General News of Saturday, 20 November 2021


ENI-Vitol vs Springfield: Thaddeus Sory ‘floors’ Ace Ankomah, Kuenyehia before Supreme Court

Kimathi Kuenyehia and Ace Ankomah Kimathi Kuenyehia and Ace Ankomah

Legal luminary Thaddeus Sory was at his best before a five-man Supreme Court Panel presided over by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah when he mercilessly ‘dribbled’ Lawyer Ace Ankomah and Kimathi Kuenyehia in a legal suit that has 500million barrels of oil at stake.

After listening to Thaddeus Sory who is Counsel for Springfield led by businessman Kevin Okyere and Kuenyehia and Ace Ankomah who represents Eni and Vitol respectively, The Supreme Court threw out Ankomah and Kuenyehia along with their clients, effectively dismissing an application by the two seeking permission (special leave) to appeal a decision by the Court of Appeal not to put on hold the preservation of their accounts as ordered by the High Court.

The Supreme Court in throwing out the two also gave “free” legal advice to Eni to seek an out-of-court settlement with Springfield in the legal tussle which has to do with the unitisation of their respective oil fields (Sankofa and Afina).

Eni and its partner, Vitol Upstream Limited, are against a directive by then Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu to unitise their fields, located at the Cape Three Points, in accordance with Section 34(1) of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919).

Mr Kimathi Kuenyehia, pleaded with the court that ENI had met all the circumstances for the special leave, as prescribed by law and that the Court of Appeal erred in its judgement by not taking into account all the evidence and facts associated with the case before dismissing the application for special stay of execution.

Ace Ankomah came in to agree with the submissions by Mr Kuenyehia. He said the Court of Appeal judgment has placed untoward hardship on his client.

Counsel for Springfield, Thaddeus Sory, submitted that both Kuenyehia and Ankomah in all their submissions failed to demonstrate any error by the Court of Appeal to warrant a special leave from the Supreme Court.

The genesis of the suit was when an Accra High Court awarded Springfield Exploration and Production a 30% share of revenues from Eni and Vitol’s Sankofa field. The case was handled by Thaddeus Sory from the start.

Springfield, in a statement, said it expected the payment would be worth around $40 million per month. The two sides will keep the cash in an escrow account, the Commercial High Court ruled.

Springfield’s CEO Kevin Okyere said the ruling was a “welcome vindication of Springfield’s position on the issue of unitisation and a positive result”.

The ruling relates to Springfield’s Afina find, in West Cape Three Points Block 2 (WCTP 2). Afina and Eni’s offshore fields are connected, the Ghanaian company has said.

ENI and its part Vitol who were affected by the ruling appealed against the ruling and lost. The Supreme Court has now dismissed the special leave they sought.

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