An application filed by operator of Ghana’s Sankofa oil field, ENI, and its partner, Vitol Upstream Ghana, at an Accra Commercial High Court, to quash an order of 30 percent of revenue to be paid to the court registrar, has been described by the Supreme Court as having no merit – hence, its dismissal.
The five Supreme Court judges, determining the case yesterday, have unanimously dismissed the application in favour of Springfield and said it was unmeritorious.
The order, which was made on January 24, 2022, according to the Supreme Court, will still stand even if it is quashed, because it was a beneficial order to both parties. On that basis, both applications were dismissed by the court with a cost of GH¢10,000 awarded against ENI and Vitol. The parties are expected to go back to the High Court on Friday, June 10, 2022 to continue the matter.
On June 25, 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of an application by Springfield Exploration and Production (SEP) – operator of the West Cape Three Points oilfield (WCTP) Block 2 – to freeze 30 percent revenues received by ENI and Vitol from the sale of crude oil from the Sankofa field.
The payment, which is estimated to be about US$40million monthly, was expected to start from June 25, 2021 (the date of the original ruling) and continue every month afterwards until the substantive matter is determined.
The money was expected to be paid into an account to be agreed by the parties, but subsequently, SEP reached out to ENI on several occasions to try and get the parties to nominate a bank account for the payment. The Supreme Court said ENI and its partner never responded to the request from SEP.
On January 24, 2022, the High Court made an order for the two parties not to agree on an account but rather to pay the money to the court registrar to be paid into an escrow account – this order is what ENI and Vitol sought to quash – an application which was dismissed by the Supreme Court yesterday.
The companies have been in dispute since an April 2020 directive was issued by the Ministry of Energy to unitise the Afina and Sankofa fields to ensure optimal recovery of the resources in the common reservoir in the interest of all the parties involved, including the State.