Ghanaian authorities are bracing for a ruling which could see Tullow Oil suspend exploration in disputed territories at the request of Côte d’Ivoire.
The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea has received the application from Côte d’Ivoire and is set to give a ruling by April 2015.
Ghana’s western neighbor is arguing that because the TEN territories are in dispute, Ghana should not drill oil until the longstanding dispute is finally settled.
The Dzata-1 deepwater well is at the heart of the dispute with the Ivorian authorities convinced that it lies within their maritime boundary.
Tullow is expecting to produce its first oil from the well by mid-2016 and has urged that work continues unimpeded.
After Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire engaged in years of negotiation which yielded no fruit, the matter was escalated to United Nations in 2010. Ghana filed for arbitration in 2014 and lawyers from both countries have since been locked at the Tribunal.
Ghanaian authorities are optimistic that Ivory Coast’s claim will be brushed off.
Sharing in Ghana’s optimism, Tullow in a Monday press statement, Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Oil, said “Tullow’s advice from external counsel is that Ghana has a strong case under international law that the current boundary location which follows an equidistance line, will be upheld by ITLOS in accordance with the Law of the Sea Convention”
The oil exploration company described the Ivorian move as a “legal tactic”.
The case is expected to be decided by 2017.
Read below the press statement
Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) announces that it has been advised by the Government of Ghana that the Government of Côte d’Ivoire has applied for provisional measures to be ordered in Ghana’s maritime boundary dispute with Côte d’Ivoire which is in arbitration before a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg.
The provisional measures application includes a request that ITLOS orders Ghana to suspend ongoing exploration and exploitation operations in the disputed area in which the TEN project is situated until ITLOS gives its full verdict which is expected towards the end of 2017. Tullow understands that a decision on this application for provisional measures should be handed down before the end of April 2015.
This arbitration was commenced by Ghana in 2014 in an effort to resolve a dispute with regard to the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Tullow’s advice from external counsel is that Ghana has a strong case under international law that the current boundary location, which follows an equidistance line, will be upheld by ITLOS in accordance with the Law of the Sea Convention to which both states are party. Work on the TEN project continues and remains on schedule and on budget for first oil in mid-2016.
Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Oil, commented today:
“Tullow has long had interests in and strong relationships with both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and we have conducted our operations in both countries in line with our obligations as a contractor under our Petroleum Agreements and in accordance with international operating standards. Although the arbitration process allows for an application of provisional measures, it is our view that it is in the best interest of all parties that the TEN project continues to move ahead without delay and unencumbered by legal tactics of this nature.”
Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]
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