Informed by the ongoing dispute with Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana will in the coming days open negotiations with her other eastern neighbors to define its maritime boundaries as West Africa’s coastline becomes a huge scramble for oil and gas concessions.
To avoid disagreements over boundaries in the future, the boundaries with Nigeria, Togo and Benin are to be demarcated.
The pre-emptive move was revealed after the Attorney General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong announced the start of an arbitration with Cote d’Ivoire over the disputed oil-rich C-100 territory.
The territory holds about 2 billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, which Cote d’Ivoire is claiming falls within their boundaries.
Years of negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute.
Ghana remains confident of holding off the Ivorian claim when the two countries begin arbitration proceedings under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
But once bitten, twice shy, Ghana now wants to ensure that this dispute is not repeated. The oil-producing country, shares the Gulf of Guinea with Togo, Benin and Nigeria to the east, and the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia to the west.
Kwame Nfojo of the Ghana Maritime Boundary Secretariat explains to Joy News’ Fred Smith that over the years not much attention has been paid to these boundaries. But with economy-changing deposits of natural resources in the ocean beds, this is all about to change.
“Ghana has not actually with its neighbours bilaterally or through third parties delimited its maritime boundaries….what we are basically using is provisional lines that our neigbours have respected. The policy now is to go forward and start discussions with Nigeria, Benin, Togo to complete the process”.
West Africa could be set for another wave of exploration activity.
In a Ghana National Petroleum Corporation briefing notes, it states that “the Gulf of Guinea is proving to be one of the most prolific oil and gas provinces in the world. In the last few years, a series of new, world-class discoveries have been made, stepping out into deep water from proven near shore oil provinces in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola.
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