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West African oil active despite maritime disputes

One of the region's most lucrative oil fields focus of international arbitration.

By Daniel J. Graeber

LONDON, April 27 (UPI) -- Africa-focused Tullow Oil said it was waiting for Ghana to weigh in on offshore oil after an international court decided on maritime boundary issues.

The company said Monday a special tribunal on maritime issues in Hamburg ruled against the Ivory Coast in a dispute over oil exploration off the coast of West Africa.

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The region's deepwater Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme prospect, known also as the TEN project, should deliver its first oil by 2016. At its peak, the company said the prospect is expected to produce about 80,000 barrels of oil per day.

Ivory Coast asked the tribunal to order Ghana to suspend oil work in disputed territory that includes the TEN project. Tullow said it was moving forward with the project, noting developments are more than halfway completed. Expectations for first production are still in line with existing timelines and the project remains within budget.

"Tullow is not a party to this arbitration process and will now await a decision by the government of Ghana on how it will implement the provisional measures order," the company said in a statement.

The company said the tribunal ordered both West African governments to continue their cooperation on the matter until a formal decision is expected in late 2017.

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TEN and the Jubilee field off the Ghanaian coast are considered two of the region's more prosperous oil fields. Jubilee could eventually produce more than 125,000 bpd.

"The Jubilee field is completely unaffected by this arbitration," Tullow said Monday.

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