About eight billion barrels of oil, according to the International Sea Bed Authority Report in 2000, could be found in Ghana’s extended coast line known as “continental shelf”. To this effect, a marine seismic survey to assess the country’s chances was presented to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports on Monday.
Mr. Lawrence Apaalse, Project Coordinator of the Ghana National Petroleum Authority, explained that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gave coastal states sovereign rights over their territorial sea up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres).
Coastal states could, however, request for an extension of their shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles under more specified circumstances. Mr Apaalse noted that the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLOS) was opened for submissions between 1984 and 1994, but Ghana missed that opportunity to do so.
He said the country was now poised not to miss the second opportunity given by UNCLOS which would end in May, next year. He expressed the hope that Ghana could complete all documentation processes on time in order to forward the submission before the deadline.
Professor Dominic Fobih, the sector Minister, said government began the National Shelf Delineation Project last year, with technical work and consultations with neighbouring countries. He expressed the hope that the project would enhance the country’s oil opportunities to generate wealth for the people.
Prof. Fobih pledged government’s commitment to support the technical team working on the project in order to meet the deadline. A German consultant, Dr. Karl Hinz, who presented the report said data collected during an 18-day work showed that Ghana’s chance was bright although the country’s extended shelf would not be much.