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Eni Begins Oil Production In Ghana Three Months Ahead Of Schedule

Ghana’s Sankofa field will restart production three months earlier than anticipated, according to a new announcement from the project’s partners on Friday.

Italian Eni holds a 44.44 percent stake in the project, which pumps 45,000 barrels of oil per day from the field in the ongoing first phase of the enterprise. By next year, the $7.9 billion Offshore Cape Three Points venture will also extract 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Gye Nyame reserve.

"ENI has launched production from the integrated oil and gas development project in the OCTP block, off Ghana's western coast, in just two and half years, and three months ahead of schedule," the company said in a statement to Reuters. The project will more than double gas output for the West African nation by adding 1,000 MW worth of production, the government says.

"We have started production but not officially ... It marks the beginning of Ghana's journey towards petroleum-driven sustained economic growth," an official from the state-run Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) said.

Ghana had sustained growth of at least 8 percent until 2013 partly due to the revenues from oil, but in recent years, Ghana has seen less income due to the plummeting price of the commodity coupled with a growing fiscal crisis. Government spending has been curtailed, but as explained on 20 September by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, the drop in oil revenue caused growth in the federal deficit and an expanding trade deficit.

At the end of last year, the government had sought to close a deal to “mortgage” its petroleum reserves to Chinese development banks — in exchange for massive loans needed to build production equipment. It remains unclear whether the deal came to pass.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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