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Ghana, Ivory Coast maritime boundary dispute still unresolved – Commission member

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FPSO Kwame Nkrumah

The dispute over maritime boundary between Ghana and its western neighbour Ivory Coast is yet to be resolved, head of the technical committee of the Presidential Commission that was set up to negotiate the matter has told ghanabusinessnews.com Sunday June 26, 2011.

Mr. Lawrence Apaalse told ghanabusinessnews.com on the phone that the Ivorians made some proposals to the Ghanaian Commission, but the proposals were not acceptable and they were asked to go back and review it. “We were waiting to hear from them, and then they had the political situation in that country. We have not heard from them since that time,” he said.

“As far as I know, there is still one meeting pending,” he said.

Mr. Thomas Manu, the Director of Operations, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) also told ghanabusinessnews.com that he is unware of the resolution of the matter, adding that he would have to refer to the Presidential Commission to clarify the situation as at present.

Meanwhile, a Ghana News Agency report citing an official of Tullow Oil Ghana, has indicated that the issue has been resolved.

The report titled ‘Ghana’s oilfields are well within her maritime boundaries – Noonoo’ cites Mr. Kennedy Noonoo as telling journalists in Ho Thursday June 23, 2011 that Ghana was able to provide documentary proof of this when its neighbour Cote d’Ivoire challenged the country’s claim to the territory of rich crude oil fields.

Mr Noonoo said Cote d’Ivoire had since accepted Ghana’s territorial claim to the area where the oil fields were located.

In March 2010, barely a week after Russian oil producer LUKOil announced it has discovered oil in the Dzata-1 well in the Cape Three Point, the Ivory Coast laid claim to the location where the oil was found. The Dzata-1 well and the Deepwater Tano fall within the same boundary.

Subsequently, in April 2010, the Ghana government set up a Presidential Commission made up of the following: Alhaji Collins Dauda, the then Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Mr Peter Azumah of the Ministry of Transport.

The rest are Lieutenant-Commander Ali Kamaldeen of the Ministry of Defence, Mr E. G. Kosivi-Degbor of the National Security Council Secretariat, Alhaji Mamadu Abudulai-Saiku of the Regional Maritime Secretariat, Mr Lawrence Apaalse of the Ghana Institution of Geoscientists, Mr Emmanuel Adjei Mohenu of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors and Alhaji Ahmed Bin-Salih of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, Kosmos Energy, one of the companies producing oil in the Jubilee fields has cited the dispute as a possible obstacle to Ghana’s oil production.

Kosmos in its filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the US stated that currently Ghana is the rightful owners of the area, but Ivory Coast has petitioned the United Nations to demarcate the Ivorian territorial maritime boundary with Ghana. Even though the two countries met in April 2010 for negotiations on the matter, the results of the meeting were not announced and the issue remains unresolved at present.

“Uncertainty remains with regard to the outcome of the boundary demarcation between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and we do not know if the maritime boundary will change, therefore affecting our rights to explore and develop our discoveries or prospects within such areas”, Kosmos said  on April 25, 2011.

It is unclear on what authority the Tullow official made the statement.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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