July 6, 2017 / 1:09 PM / 2 years ago

ENI pumps first oil from Ghana's Sankofa field

The logo of oil company Eni-Saipem is pictured at the petrol station in Milan, Italy, February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

ACCRA (Reuters) - Italian oil company ENI started oil production from the 45,000 barrel-per-day Sankofa field offshore Ghana on Thursday, company and government officials said.

The Sankofa field forms the first phase of the $7.9 billion Offshore Cape Three Points project (OCTP), which is expected to also deliver up to 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day by the end of next year, more than doubling domestic gas supply.

President Nana Akufo Addo opened the valves on the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, the John Agyekum Kufuor, named after Ghana’s former president who ruled between 2001 and 2008.

Akufo-Addo’s government hopes OCTP will help to restore rapid economic growth in Ghana, which also produces gold and cocoa.

Ghana is recovering from a power crisis caused by lack of funds to buy oil in the absence of domestic gas to power thermal plants. The government estimates gas from OCTP will boost generation by 1,000 megawatts, enough to ensure stable supply. ENI holds a 44.44 percent stake in OCTP, representing the largest foreign direct investment in Ghana’s history.

Trading company Vitol holds 35.56 percent while state oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corporation has a combined carried and participating interest of 20 percent.

Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; editing by Edward McAllister and Jane Merriman

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