Tullow Oil said Saturday it would restart drilling by the end of the year after a ruling in a maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea found that "Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights" of Ivory Coast by drilling for oil in the region.
The Hamburg-based court precisely mapped the maritime border and backed Ghana on the principle that the boundary line be based on equidistance.
"Tullow will now work with the government of Ghana to put in place the necessary permits to allow the restart of development drilling in the TEN fields," the London-based oil firm said in a statement.
"Tullow expects to resume drilling around the end of the year which will allow production from the TEN fields to start to increase towards the FPSO (floating production storage) design capacity of 80,000 bpd," it said.
The company, a major oil operator in Ghana said it would work with both countries following the ruling. "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 Ghana boss Charles Darku told reporters in the capital Accra the ruling would remove "doubt anyone had about the boundary, because that is clear now. Anyone that wants to work around investing in that area should see their way clear."
TEN’s output will be maintained at 50,000 barrels a day until the end of the year, he said.
Ghana’s energy minister Boakye Agyarko was quoted by local media as saying the country would retain control over the fields.
Hanna Tetteh, a former minister, urged investors to proceed with their projects.
"It's a great day for Ghana," she said on her Twitter account.
The ruling is a relief for Ghana, which is relying on oil revenue to boost economic growth and ease its budget deficit.
Ghana is a major producer of gold and cocoa and began commercial oil production in 2010 following the discovery of the Jubilee oil field, which produces 100,000 barrels per day.