Ghana: Verdict in Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire maritime dispute highlighted in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The Ghanaian media last week highlighted the verdict by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in a maritime dispute between West African neighbours Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that favoured Ghana.

“Ghana triumphs,” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic on Monday after Hamburg-based ITLOS pronounced judgement on 23 September.

The Graphic reported that after three years of engaging in a maritime boundary dispute Ghana emerged victorious over its western neighbour in the case which had positive implications for the country’s oil and gas industry and development.

The Special Chamber of ITLOS constituted to hear the dispute unanimously declared that Ghana had not violated Cote d’Ivoire’s sovereign rights in oil exploration activities.

It also held that Ghana was not financially obligated to Cote d’Ivoire with respect to those activities to give rise to the issue of reparation.

The Graphic said the tribunal further rejected Cote d’Ivoire’s claim that Ghana disobeyed the tribunal’s 25 April, 2015 preliminary orders which directed that new wells should not be drilled in the disputed area.

The tribunal adopted Ghana’s argument for the equidistance boundary and generated a new and binding boundary stretching from Land Boundary Point (LBP), called BP 55+, and going out to sea up to and beyond 200 nautical miles.

The newspaper said the team from Ghana, led by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo, was moderate in its jubilation, adding that in a joint press conference, both countries promised to abide by the decision of the tribunal.

It said the judgement had, accordingly, given impetus to investment in Ghana’s oil and gas sector, as the country was now free to resume oil exploration activities in the Tano Basin.

The Graphic said Tullow Oil had announced that it would restart drilling in the TEN fields by the end of 2017 since the new maritime boundary, as determined by the tribunal, did not affect the fields.

"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 floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) design capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd)."

The Graphic in another story under the headline, “NPP, NDC commend legal team for maritime boundary dispute victory” said the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) congratulated the legal team for securing the historic victory for Ghana. The NDC government took the case to ITLOS after several meetings between the two countries failed to resolve the dispute.

Ghana’s legal team, spearheaded by the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akufo, and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, secured the victory.

In an editorial under the heading “After Cote d’Ivoire, let’s turn to Togo” the Graphic said the verdict was not only refreshing but very welcome because of its impact on Ghana’s quest to accelerate the pace of development in the country, while ensuring economic prosperity for all.

“While we congratulate the citizens of Ghana on their show of solidarity, we want to urge the government to put measures in place to plug all the loopholes to prevent the seepage of funds from the sale of oil,” the Graphic said.

“We believe that the best way to reward the people for their show of support is for the government to ensure that all the money accruing from oil is properly accounted for and used on projects that will transform the economy.”

The Graphic said it was also adding its voice to calls on the government to initiate moves to settle the boundary dispute between Ghana and its eastern neighbour, Togo, before any funds are sunk into oil exploration in the Voltarian Basin.

“We have learnt about the intentions of Togo to seek legal redress over the boundary and that should serve as a warning for us to do what is right.”

The Graphic said many oil companies had shown interest in the area because of the potential it held and, therefore, Ghana should not be blinded by the revenue it would make now but consider the future implications by ensuring that it did what was right to have the boundary in its favour.
-0- PANA MA 1Oct2017

01 october 2017 06:39:38

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