Aker Energy's planned development of an oilfield in Ghana faces delay due to a disagreement with authorities over regulations, Norwegian investment company Aker ASA said on Friday.
Aker said in May it expected Ghanaian authorities to approve a $4.4 billion development plan for the offshore Pecan oilfield by the end of the third quarter, with a start-up of crude production three years later.
While Aker initially aimed to tie in discoveries in a wider area to its planned Pecan production systems, it had failed to obtain changes in regulation that would facilitate such an approach, the company said.
"Some regulatory changes are likely to be proposed by the government of Ghana, though not to the extent requested ... Hence, Aker Energy is changing its strategic approach," Aker ASA Chief Executive Officer Oeyvind Eriksen said in a statement.
The company will now concentrate on optimizing plans for a more limited development, focusing on the estimated 450 million to 500 million barrels of oil equivalents already found, it added.
"The change in strategy is likely to trigger delays, but I am confident that it will de-risk the project and, hence, protect significant values in Ghana," Eriksen said.
Aker Energy, which has so far concentrated on finding and developing its own oil reserves, will also change its strategy in order to pursue potential mergers and acquisitions, Eriksen said.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Bernard Orr)