The Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber has expressed concern about the impact on foreign investment in Ghana as a result of the ongoing dispute between ENI and its partner VITOL on the one hand and Springfield on the other.
Speaking in an interview with the B&FT, the Chief Executive of the Chamber, David Ampofo, said without going into the merits of the case, “the dispute leaves a very sour taste in the mouth of other potential investors who tend to observe closely what the situation is for those who have already invested in the country”.
“You can travel the world all you like in search of investment. What really matters though is the experience of those who have already invested in Ghana. Their views on what it is like to invest in Ghana, carry a lot of weight. That is why it is not in the interest of the country for government to look on unconcerned in a matter of this nature”.
The Eni Sankofa-Gye Nyame development is a US$7 billion investment – the single largest investment in sub- Saharan Africa that year and the biggest investment made by any company in Ghana.
It would be rare for an analyst conducting a country risk analysis on Ghana, to miss this impasse around the country’s biggest investment, and even more rare, to return a positive outlook.
This project has contributed significantly to the improvement in electricity availability in the country due to its continuous production and supply of natural gas and it is not by accident that the challenges faced in the past have all but dissipated.
According to Mr. Ampofo, this case – one of a resource, potentially straddling two oil blocks, is not novel in the industry at all. As a matter of fact, Ghana immediately after the Jubilee discovery in 2007, was confronted with a similar situation, but government swiftly dealt with it and proceeded with commercial production without any drama. However the Jubilee case was facilitated by the parties still in the exploration phase and the foreign investors shared the investments in the subsequent appraisal and development phase.
Mr Ampofo called on all key stakeholders in the industry to take an interest in the matter and bring their influence to bear on the matter as its impact goes much further than the energy sector only.
“Cool heads must prevail and ensure that not only Ghana’s interests are protected but also that of the companies we invite into this country to do business”