Aker Energy, the field operator of the Pecan development project in Ghana’s Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block, may be at risk of losing its interest in the field if it fails to submit its Plan of Development (PoD) by 15 April 2023, sources within the country’s Energy Ministry have said.
The Norwegian oil and gas company postponed its submission of the PoD, citing concerns over the possibility of its Russian partner, Lukoil, attracting sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, Lukoil has denied that its presence puts the Pecan project at risk of sanctions. In a recent statement, the company stated: “The company and its management are not subject to any sanctions, therefore there are no obstacles in this respect for the joint development of the oilfield.”
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which currently holds a 10% stake in the DWT/CTP block, acknowledged concerns regarding Lukoil as a license partner in the project, but recommended that Aker Energy maintain its current schedule to ensure the submission of the PoD by 30 June 2022.
Aker Energy had initially promised first oil by 2020, but has now revised the timeline to 2025. The company has repeatedly postponed the submission of the PoD since 2018, raising doubts about its reliability and commitment to the development of the Pecan field.
Additionally, Aker Energy has failed to honour some of the promises it made to the Ghanaian government, such as taking over the Tema Drydock and rehabilitating it for the repair of ships and fabrication of FPSO topsides.
Sources suggest that if Aker Energy fails to meet the latest deadline of 15 April 2023, the Energy Minister will reserve the right to reassign the field to whoever they deem fit for purpose, as the block returns to the country.
Apart from Lukoil, Aker Energy’s other partners in the project include Fueltrade, which holds a 2% stake, and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, which holds a 10% stake.
Meanwhile, Lukoil is reportedly in talks with Indian companies to divest its 38% stake in the Pecan oilfield offshore Ghana, according to Reuters, citing undisclosed sources. The move is aimed at resolving a standstill in filing field development plans, which Aker Energy has yet to file.
Sources with knowledge of the development told Reuters that Lukoil had held talks with Indian firms, including ONGC Videsh, at the India Energy Week conference. However, investment banking firms have distanced themselves from the deal due to Western sanctions against Russia, leaving Lukoil to negotiate directly with prospective buyers.
Overall, Aker Energy’s delay in submitting the PoD and failure to fulfill previous promises has raised concerns about the company’s commitment to developing the Pecan field in Ghana’s Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block, and has put its interest in the project at risk.