Business

Ghana told to stop new oil drilling in disputed waters

Used oil barrels Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ghana and Ivory Coast want to develop their offshore oil reserves

Ghana has been told by an international tribunal not to begin any new offshore drilling for oil in disputed waters with the Ivory Coast.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea did, however, allow Ghana to continue developing current oilfields.

These include the so called-Ten fields, part owned by UK firm Tullow Oil.

Ivory Coast had asked that all drilling be suspended, but the tribunal ruled this would risk "considerable financial loss" to Ghana.

Instead, it told the West African nation to "take all necessary steps to ensure than no new drilling either by Ghana or under its control takes place in the disputed area" and to "refrain from granting any new permit for oil exploration and exploitation in the disputed area".

'Call for restraint'

The area is believed to contain large reserves of oil, which both countries are keen to exploit.

Pending a ruling on the precise maritime border, the tribunal told both countries to "pursue co-operation and refrain from any unilateral action that might lead to aggravating the dispute".

The ruling was welcomed by Tullow Oil, which owns a large stake in the near $5bn (£3.3bn) Ten project, which could reportedly produce up to 80,000 barrels a day.

"Following this ruling, the Ten project can move ahead and we will now await instructions from the government of Ghana with regard to implementing those provisional measures that have been ordered by [the tribunal]," a Tullow spokesman said.

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