The first major challenge to Ghana’s oil find has been put up by western neighbour Ivory Coast. Since oil was discovered in commercial quantity in June 2007, it has all been euphoria and hope for economic expansion.
There was the US-China competition to take control of the oil, which is not really a serious problem, but the claim by Ivory Coast that the recent find in the Dzata-1 well in the Cape Three Point led by Russia’s second largest oil explorer Luk Oil is a major challenge to the country’s emerging oil industry that the authorities are not prepared for.
According to reports in the Ghanaian media, the Ivory Coast is laying claim to the location offshore where the recent oil was discovered.
The claim coming barely a week after the latest discovery was announced, and caught unprepared, the Ghanaian authorities have rushed an urgent Bill, the Ghana Boundaries Bill to Parliament for delibrations and passing into law.
On a Joy News bulletin monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com Thursday March 4, 2010, the Minister of Lands, Alhaji Collins Dauda said despite an understanding that had existed between the two neighbours over the median line between the two, the Ivorians have written to Ghana indicating that they will not respect the median line.
Meanwhile, he said Ghana had made submissions to the UN asking to expand the country’s shoreline beyond 200 nautical miles. He added that the Ivorians too have made proposals to the UN on a similar matter.
Coming at a time when commercial production of oil is due to begin in the last quarter of the year, this is seen as a big jolt to the country.
Commenting on the development on Joy News, Security Analyst, Dr. Emmanuel Kwesi Ennin said the Ghanaian authorities have never taken all the major issues surrounding the oil find seriously, except to make political capital out of it and make promises of economic growth.
He revealed that the Department of Fisheries and Oceanography of the University of Ghana had done a great deal of work on the sea boundaries of Ghana, but the politicians have not given any serious thought to the results of the work.
Alhaji Dauda however, believes that the issue can be resolved through negotiations.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi