Russian oil firm Lukoil said on Aug. 18 a decision by Norway’s Aker Energy to postpone the submission of a development plan for its Pecan oil field off Ghana over sanctions concerns had no lawful grounds.

Aker Energy, controlled by Aker ASA, owns 50% of the deepwater block off Ghana where the Pecan Field is located, while Lukoil holds 38%, Ghana National Petroleum Corp. has 10%, and Fueltrade 2%.

“There are no lawful grounds for such references related to the sanctions restrictions for the project,” Lukoil said in a statement. “The company and its management are not subject to any sanctions, therefore there are no obstacles in this respect for the joint development of the oil field.”

Aker ASA CEO Oeyvind Eriksen told a call with analysts on Aug. 17 that the partners would not submit a development plan to Ghanaian authorities “until the challenges have been resolved.”

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls “a special military operation,” prompting unprecedented Western sanctions on Moscow.

Vagit Alekperov, a former Soviet deputy oil minister, resigned as president of Lukoil in April. A source familiar with the matter said at the time that Alekperov had decided to leave after he was sanctioned in order to safeguard the company’s operations.