ITLOS ruling: Ghana gains 80 square km more of territorial space

ITLOS ruling: Ghana gains 80 square km more of territorial space
Source: Ghana | | Naa Sakwaba Akwa |
Date: 27-09-2017 Time: 12:09:54:pm

Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko has disclosed that Ghana has gained 80 square kilometres of territorial space after a delimitation triggered by the ruling of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

He said although the country made some marginal losses at certain points following the creation of the new border, they are insignificant and will not affect oil production.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra today, Mr Agyarko explained that “At the first intersection of 29 nautical miles, Ghana loses marginally about 19 square kilometres of territorial space because the border is to the left of our claim.

“Between 29 and 196 nautical miles, Ghana makes a gain of 121 square kilometres because the new border is on the right of our original claim.

“In a nutshell, the net gain made by Ghana is about 80 square kilometres of additional territorial space,” Mr Agyarko said.

Related: Ghana/Cote d'Ivoire Maritime dispute: Summary of Judgement by ITLOS

In September 2014, Ghana hauled Cote d’Ivoire to the special chamber of the ITLOS after negotiations with the French neighbour over a maritime dispute concerning the West Cape Three Points broke down.

In its initial ruling in 2015, the Chamber placed a moratorium on new projects, compelling Tullow oil to put on hold operations including drilling in the disputed area.

However, on Saturday, September 23, 2017 the ITLOS ruled in favour of Ghana.

In a unanimous decision, the Chamber ruled that there has not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary.

In reading the judgment, Justice Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber accepted Ghana’s argument of adopting the equidistance method of delineation of the maritime boundary albeit some modification. 

In consideration of the new boundary, the Chamber determined that the new one start from boundary 55 -200 nautical miles away, a position much closer to what Ghana was arguing for.

With the new boundaries laid, the Energy Minister said Ghana has not been adversely affected.

Mr Agyarko said “none of our oil fields in production have been affected by the ruling. All the oil fields we are working from are all squarely in the territorial space of Ghana.

“So there is no loss,” he added.

Related: Akufo-Addo to host Ivorian officials in crucial post ITLOS ruling meeting

He also indicated that the initial moratorium placed on the country which prevented it from drilling more wells in the disputed area has by the ruling been lifted.

This means that Tullow Oil can now begin to add 13 more wells to improve its production, an estimated addition of 80,000 barrels per day.

“30,000 additional barrels of oil times 50 dollars is a lot of money that can keep the free SHS, health insurance and the others going”.

Mr Agyarko added that more steps are being taken to secure Ghana’s territorial space and ensure that oil production continues unimpeded.

The Minister also cautioned the public on comments being made since the ruling.

“We shouldn’t gloat over it, because we are aware that before oil, Ghana had some relationship with our brothers and sisters in Cote d’Ivoire and after oil Ghana must still have a good relationship, so it should not be that they have lost and we have won.

“The good neighbourliness must continue,” he added.

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