(Adds CEO comments)
By Kwasi Kpodo
ACCRA, May 17 (Reuters) - Tullow Oil plans to drill new wells and boost output at its TEN field off the coast of Ghana to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) once a maritime border dispute with Ivory Coast is resolved, the company said on Wednesday.
The London-listed company will also invest in exploring for new reserves off Ghana, in addition to its Jubilee and TEN fields, its Ghana head Charles Darku said.
Ghana filed a suit at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2014 to resolve a dispute with Ivory Coast over their border in waters close to the oil fields after 10 bilateral meetings failed to find a solution.
A year later, the Tribunal gave an interim ruling that Ghana could continue developing offshore projects in the disputed area, but it imposed a ban on new drilling. The Tribunal is set to rule on the dispute in the coming months.
“We are looking to the Ghana government to reach a resolution on that to enable us immediately to resume drilling new wells as planned in order to boost production to the plateau of 80,000 bpd,” Darku told local shareholders in Accra.
The offshore TEN field, comprising the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme blocks, produced its first oil in August last year and the partners say they need to drill at least six more wells for the field to reach its full potential.
Production at Ghana’s flagship offshore Jubilee field, which began in late 2010, stands at about 100,000 bpd, Darku said.
Tullow Chief Executive Paul McDade said plans to permanently fix a damaged turret bearing on Jubilee’s production vessel, which resulted in a weeks-long shutdown last year, would be executed by the end of this year.
“That is just an engineering problem that we’re resolving in phases ... At the moment, we’re engineering a permanent solution under the second phase ... and our expectation is that work will be executed toward the end of this year,” he told Reuters.
McDade said one task was to ensure minimal production disruption as the project expands and new wells are drilled.
Ghana, which also exports cocoa and gold, is hoping to use increased oil and gas output to boost its gross domestic product and create jobs. (Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and David Clarke)