Springfield Exploration and Production Limited (SEP), the exploration company founded by Ghanaian oilman Kevin Okyere, is in a celebratory mood after a commercial court in Ghana ordered that 30 percent of the revenues from the Sankofa oilfield be placed in an escrow account until a deal is reached to unify it with Springfield’s Afina. Sankofa is jointly owned by the Italian energy major ENI SpA and the Vitol Group.
In December 2019, Springfield announced that its oilfield discovery held 640 million barrels of oil, while the whole block had 1.5 billion barrels in total, following its maiden Afina-1 well drilling campaign in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP) Block 2.
In April 2020, the Ghanaian government ordered ENI to merge its Sankofa offshore oil field with Afina, as seismic data generated by the state-owned oil company indicated that Sankofa and Afina shared the same Cenomanian reservoir and had identical fluid properties. Sankofa entered production in 2017 and produces more than 50,000 barrels of oil per day. Ghana’s Petroleum Ministry gave the two companies 120 days to conclude unitization talks and provide the ministry with a unitization and unit operating agreement (UUOA).
A year after the issuance of the directive, ENI and Springfield failed to sign the UUOA to give effect to the directive. Springfield accused ENI of being uncooperative in negotations. Meanwhile, ENI and its JV partner Vitol claimed that there was no basis for Springfield’s Afina discovery to be considered commercially viable and that the ministry’s order was premature. However, ENI maintained that further appraisal of Springfield’s Afina needed to be done to determine its economic viability before a unitization program was embarked upon. Springfield took the matter to court to force the Italian major to comply with the directive.
Springfield claimed in its lawsuit that ENI not only refused to comply with the directive, but continued to produce petroleum from straddling contract areas, including the Afina field, thereby preventing Springfield from participating in revenues accrued from production. A commercial court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Mariama Sammo partly agreed with Springfield and ordered that, as of June 25, 30 percent of all revenues accruing to ENI and Vitol from exploration and production at Sankofa be preserved in an interest-bearing account until the substantive case is determined.
Springfield CEO Kevin Okyere welcomed the ruling as a “vindication of Springfield’s position.”
Okyere founded Springfield in 2008. The company initially made a name for itself in the oil trading business in West Africa. At one point, Springfield supplied about 12.5 percent of Ghana’s petroleum product requirements and was a major exporter of refined products to neighboring land-locked countries, such as Mali and Burkina Faso. The company also has operations in the provision of oilfield services, supplying vessels, logistics, subsea equipment, oil rigs, marine construction equipment and maintenance services.
In 2012, Springfield commenced its involvement in upstream exploration and production opportunities when the Ghanaian government awarded it WCTP2.
WCTP2 covers 673 square kilometers located in the Tano-Western Basin.