Italian Company Strikes Oil in West Africa

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted September 21, 2012

Italy’s getting in on the oil exploration booms going on around the world. Eni SpA (NYSE: E), the nation’s largest oil company, has just made the first discovery of crude in Ghana’s Offshore Cape Three Points block, thereby raising the prospect of expanded production in that country.

Oil was found at a depth of around 12,000 feet roughly 31 miles off the coast of Ghana, and the well, named Sankofa East-1X, is producing around 5,000 barrels per day.

From Bloomberg:

“Eni plans for the immediate drilling of other wells to delineate the size of the discovery and confirm the feasibility of commercial development,” said the Rome-based company, which has operated in Ghana since 2009.

Eni shareholders have an agreement with Ghana’s ministry of energy, and the company is presently trying to commercialize the block’s production on the country’s gas market.

Back near the end of 2010, Ghana’s Jubilee field began to produce oil; as a result, the national economy grew by 14.4 percent over 2011—the fastest in Africa according to the IMF.

This year, the Finance Ministry forecasts growth of 9.4 percent, but this new find could easily change matters.

In the first half of this year, Ghana’s oil-based revenue grew by 43 percent to hit $326.6 million. Output averaged 62,985 barrels per day, and it is expected to increase to over 90,000 barrels by the end of 2012.

The OCTP block is operated jointly by Eni (47 percent stake), Vitol Upstream Ghana Ltd. (38 percent), and the state organ GNPC (15 percent).

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