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Business News of Tuesday, 25 May 2021


Speed up ENI, Springfield unitisation – IES

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A study conducted by the Institute for Energy Security (IES) reveals that the country is likely to miss a huge opportunity to rake in billions of dollars from the upstream petroleum sector.

This is due to the delay on the part of Eni Ghana Exploration and Production Limited (ENI) and Springfield E&P (Springfield) to cooperate, to unitise the Afina and Sankofa fields.

IES’ study finds that Ghana stands to derive upwards of US$8.4 billion from the unitisation of the Sankofa and Afina fields, as opposed to US$2.065 billion that it will derive from the production from the Sankofa fields, assuming no incidence of unitisation.

It considers the Sankofa development in its current state, estimated to continue as planned, and considers the Afina side development tied to Sankofa.

The IES said its analysis establishes the fact that unitisation will lead to maximum economic benefits for the state, and for all the parties involved in the production of the unitised accumulation.

“Such benefits would be derived from, amongst others, sharing of development facilities, which naturally drives down costs and ultimately improve economic returns. The benefits to the state are in the form of significant reduction in operational and capital costs of the unitised fields, as well as increases in royalties, taxes, additional oil entitlement (AOE), fees and levies.

“With the unitisation concept, the unitised area, usually a reservoir, is treated as a single unit for development purposes. It is as if the separate leases and licences are merged into one single lease or licence, with a single Unit Operator appointed to manage the development of the field. Ghana’s laws makes provision for the concept because it prevents physical waste, prevents economic waste, and protects correlative rights (fair shares) of the parties to the contract areas.

“Both physical and economic waste would have direct economic impacts on the country, through lower revenues from reduced ultimate recoveries and higher tax deductions or higher cost recovery by the licensee, thus reducing the country’s share. Also, if the contractual benefits like production shares, taxes and royalties to be paid to the country by the different licensees are not uniform, the country may well have a direct financial interest in stopping waste from, say, a higher-royalty region to a lower-royalty region,” it noted.

Huge Loss

Following from this, IES said it counted the delay in signing the Unitisation and Unit Operating Agreement (UUOA) to complete the unitisation of the Afina and Sankofa fields as a loss of opportunity for the country to reap maximum benefits from its petroleum resources.

It said the purpose of executing the UUOA is to give full effect to the government’s directive to unitise, and the subsequent imposition of terms and conditions for the unitisation of the Afina discovery in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP2) and the Sankofa field in the offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) contract areas.

Per IES’ investigation, the reason for the inability of Springfield and Eni to comply with the government’s directive is primarily due to Eni’s rejection of the government’s position on the matter, by claiming that in their opinion there is no dynamic or hydrocarbon communication between the Afina discovery and the Sankofa field.

However, the institute’s review of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919) and the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) (General) Regulations, 2018 (L.I 2359), the laws that regulate unitisation in Ghana, show that dynamic or hydrocarbon communication is not a requirement for unitisation.

Section 34 (1) of Act 919 specifically provides that “where an accumulation of petroleum extends beyond the boundaries of (straddles) one contract area into one or more contract areas, the Minister in consultation with the Commission may, for the purpose of ensuring optimum recovery of petroleum from the accumulation of petroleum, direct the relevant contractors, to enter into an agreement to develop and produce the accumulation of petroleum as a single unit.”

“From this provision, it is obvious that the only requirement for unitisation in Ghana is for an accumulation to extend from one contract area into another,” IES stated.


The Jubilee Field when discovered in June 2007 was found to be straddling two Contract Areas: Deepwater Tano (DWT) and West Cape Three Points (WCTP) Contract Areas operated by Tullow Ghana and Kosmos Ghana respectively, and was thus unitised and approved for development in 2009. Following that, first oil was achieved in December 2010, and has since produce oil in excess of 311 million barrels, raking in over US$5 billion for the country, through Carried and Participating Interest (CAPI), Royalties, Corporate Income Taxes (CIT), and Surface Rentals.