International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has refused to suspend Ghana’s operations at the $4.9bn Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) offshore oil project in the disputed waters of the Atlantic.
The international tribunal, however, restricted Ghana from starting any new drilling programmes in the region, until the maritime boundary dispute with Ivory Coast is resolved in 2017.
The directives come as a response to a complaint lodged by Ivory Coast, seeking restriction of oil and gas drilling by Ghana in the region.
UK-based Tullow leads a consortium that develops the TEN field. The group, which includes Kosmos Energy, Ghana National Petroleum, Anadarko Petroleum and PetroSA, has so far drilled ten wells in order to begin production in mid-2016.
The Côte d’Ivoire Government asked the tribunal that Ghana be ordered to stop all petroleum operations, claiming that they would create an imminent risk of serious harm to the marine environment.
The tribunal said: "The Chamber finds that Côte d’Ivoire has not adduced sufficient evidence to support its allegations that the activities conducted by Ghana in the disputed area are such as to create an imminent risk of serious harm to the marine environment.
The Special Chamber underlines however that the risk of serious harm to the marine environment is of great concern to it and that the parties should in the circumstances "act with prudence and caution to prevent serious harm to the marine environment."
The TEN development project includes the collective development of three hydrocarbon accumulations – Tweneboa, Enyenra (formerly, Owo) and Ntomme and are part of the Deepwater Tano license, located offshore of Ghana.
The development is located 25km away from the Tullow-operated Jubilee field.
Kosmos Energy chairman and CEO Andrew Inglis said: "It is also important to note that the provisional measures granted do not affect the Jubilee field."
Image: TEN project in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: courtesy of Tullow.