The ruling of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on the maritime dispute will not affect Ghana’s oilfields, a Petroleum Economist has said. Dr Theo Acheampong said the country will not be “materially” affected by the new marine borders drawn by the Germany-based Chamber. The Special Chamber on Saturday established the maritime boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast, which was at the center of a four-year dispute.
Members of the Special Chamber
Ghana was first to initiate proceedings at the Tribunal in 2014 after Ivory Coast accused it of violating its sovereign right.
The case was filed after efforts to negotiate a settlement with Cote d’Ivoire were unproductive.
Ghana had told the Chamber it had an oral agreement with its neighbour over the marine borders, but Ivory Coast disputed it.
The Francophone country had prayed the Chamber to declare and adjudge that Ghana’s “unilateral” exploration activities violated its sovereign right.
Ghanaian delegation at ITLOS
But after a four-year-old legal tussle, the Special Chamber said Ghana did not violate its neighbour’s sovereign right.
The Chamber said Ivory Coast did not produce a resounding argument that bilateral talks held over the matter were not meaningful.
It also rejected Ghana’s claim that it had an agreement with its neighbour over the marine borders.
“There is not a tacit agreement between the parties to delimit the boundary,” President of the Special Chamber, Judge Boualem Bouguetaia said Saturday.
The Chamber also delimit the boundary between the two countries using a modified version of the equidistance methodology, contrary to what Ghana had demanded.
The Ivorian delegation at ITLOS
Sections of Ghanaians were apprehensive the country could lose a section of its TEN oilfields to its neighbour following the new boundary.
Senior journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako told Samson Lardy on Joy FM/MultiTV’s Newsfile, he was disturbed after the Chamber rejected most of the arguments put across by Ghana.
“The ruling sounded Chinese [because] it was a bit complex for me,” he said, adding “there was a little which had me disturbed.”
But the Petroleum Economist with the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said the ruling represented Ghana’s argument since the start of the hearing.
“It doesn’t look significantly different from what Ghana said…as I look at it now,” Dr Acheampong said.
He cautioned government to plot the new field given the maritime boundary properly to see if they will be affected.