Gov’t & Others Positive About Ghana’s Oil Despite Maritime Boundary Dispute

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Government has confirmed receiving a notice from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that its neighbor, Cote d’Ivoire, has applied for provisional measures with respect to the maritime boundary dispute between the two countries and before the Tribunal for a delimitation decision.

A statement signed by the Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, however, stated that the Government of Ghana remains confident that its position on the location of the maritime boundary was legally correct.

Government, also said that it believed that there were no grounds for the grant of the provisional measures of the kind sought by Cote d’Ivoire, adding that Ghana will pursue its case thoroughly and vigorously.

A Special Chamber of the Tribunal was constituted on January 12, 2015 to preside over the arbitration between the parties. This followed the decision by the Government of Ghana to submit the boundary dispute between our two countries to judicial decision. This was because negotiations had come to an end.

According to the statement, the main case of delimiting the boundary between our countries will come to an end in 2017.

Government, therefore, says it sees no reason for any change in behaviour unless and until the Special Chamber of the ITLOS so orders, which the Government considers highly unlikely.

Dr. Omane Boamah noted that, as permitted by international law, petroleum operations in the area would continue, pending a speedy decision by the Special Chamber on this aspect of the case.

Meanwhile, Minority Spokesperson on Energy, K.T Hammond is confident that the Ivory Coast government’s latest lawsuit seeking to stop Tullow Oil and its partners from exploring oil over the disputed area between Ghana and that country, will prove fruitless.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, K.T Hammond said: “I am confident …that ultimately the Ivorian case will be fruitless,” and described the actions of the Ivorian government as “hypocritical.”

He wondered why the Ivorians were “up in arms” when both parties had signed a mutual agreement to explore oil in the disputed area.

“Oil exploration started along those areas so many years ago. The Ivorians were involved with their parts of waters and we were dealing with their parts of waters. It is a mutual agreement between the two countries.”

He pointed out that, “there will be some implications” if what the Ivorians are asking for has “any merit” and “the court tribunal is minded to grant it.”

According to K.T Hammond, that government has “gone through the international arbitration process and has invited Ghana to make a firm position on the matter.”

Ghana commenced an arbitration process in 2014 before a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Ivory Coast’s territorial waters in the exploration of oil after a series of failed negotiations.

Tullow Oil plc on Monday, also issued a statement saying it was confident, based on advice from external legal advisors that Ghana had a strong case and that oil production would continue as scheduled.

“The decision on this application for provisional measures should be handed down before the end of April 2015,” the statement also revealed.

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