Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) has expressed its commitment to continue to work with the Government of Ghana to put in place the necessary permits to allow the restart of development drilling of oil in the TEN fields.
This follows a ruling by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, on the maritime boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that was given on Saturday in favour of Ghana, indicating that the TEN field was not affected by the boundary dispute.
A release issued by Tullow Oil plc and copied to the GNA said: “The new maritime boundary as determined by the tribunal does not affect the TEN fields as per the map on the TEN reveals.
Tullow therefore, says it expected to resume drilling around the end of the year, which would allow production from the TEN fields to start to increase towards the FPSO design capacity of 80,000 bopd.
“Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) notes that the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg made its decision with regard to the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
Mr Paul McDade, Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Oil plc said: “Tullow looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the Governments of both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire following the conclusion of this process.
“While the TEN fields have performed well during the period of the drilling moratorium, we can now restart work on the additional drilling planned as part of the TEN fields’ plan of development and take the fields towards their full potential.”
Tullow Oil plc is a leading independent oil & gas, exploration and production group, quoted on the London, Irish and Ghanaian stock exchanges (symbol: TLW).
The Group has interests in over 110 exploration and production licences across 19 countries which are managed as three business delivery teams: West Africa, East Africa and New Ventures.
From turning point F, the single maritime boundary continues as a geodetic line starting at an azimuth of 191° 38’ 6.7’ until it reaches the outer limits of the continental shelf.
The Court, unanimously, found that it had jurisdiction to decide on the claim of Côte d’Ivoire against Ghana on the alleged international responsibility of Ghana.
It unanimously, found that Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d’Ivoire.
It unanimously, found that Ghana did not violate article 83, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the Convention.
“What it means is that the equidistant method of Ghana has been upheld. Ghana did not violate Ivorian Territory by undertaking drilling. There will be no reparation because there was no violation”.
The special chamber has decided the coordinates from the Ghana land boundary which then determines the line within 200 nautical miles offshore.
The Judgment was read by the President of the Special Chamber, Judge Boualem Bouguetaia.
The two countries have been engaged in long drawn-out and inconclusive negotiations after Ghana started drilling oil near a maritime boundary.
The Cote d’Ivoire later accused Ghana of encroaching on its marine borders as part of its oil exploration.
However, efforts by Ghana to negotiate a settlement with Cote d’Ivoire, which entailed more than 10 bilateral meetings over a five-year period, were unproductive.
The Tweneboah, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) project developed by Tullow Oil off the coast of Ghana, was done in waters, which was at the center of the dispute.
Desirous to put an end to the dispute, Ghana initiated proceedings against its neighbour at the Tribunal on September 22, 2014.
Both countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which established a regime for settling disputes concerning interpretation and application of the Convention.
Ghana consented to the Convention on June 7, 1983, and Ivory Coast ratified same on March 26, 1984.
The two parties were later to agree on the composition of the Special Chamber, which comprised of three Members of the Tribunal and two ad hoc Judges, one appointed by each of the Parties.
Ghana’s agent represented by Attorney-General Gloria Afua Akuffo argued the country had not encroached on its neighbour’s marine border in the course of its exploration activities.
She requested the Special Chamber to declare that Ghana had a “mutually recognized, agreed and applied an equidistant-based maritime boundary in the territorial sea, EEZ and continental shelf with 200M” with its neighbor.
However, Ivorian agent, who is the Oil and Energy Minister, Mr Adama Toungara wanted the Chamber to reject Ghana’s claims.
He had asked the Chamber to declare that “activities undertaken unilaterally by Ghana in Ivorian maritime area constituted a violation” of his country’s sovereign rights.
Mr Toungara had also implored the Special Chamber to invite the “Parties to carry out negotiations in order to reach agreement on the terms of the reparation due to Cote d’Ivoire.”
The long wait is over and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has accepted Ghana’s arguments in the maritime dispute with Ivory Coast.
Ghana argued that the equidistance principle is used in delimiting the maritime boundary between the two countries.
Whilst the tribunal rejected Ghana’s claim that Cote d’Ivoire is estopped from making a claim for the disputed territory because of prior conduct, the Chamber equally rejected Ivory Coast’s claim that a meridian measurement is used.