Ghana, Ivory Coast maritime dispute: Tullow likely to suspend production

Ghana - Cote d'Ivoire Maritime BoundaryThe government of Côte d’Ivoire has applied for provisional measures, asking the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to stop Tullow oil and other oil companies from exploring and exploiting oil in the disputed area between Ghana and that country.

Tullow Oil plc on Monday said “ The decision on this application for provisional measures should be handed down before the end of April 2015.”

Ghana commenced an arbitration process in 2014 before a Special Chamber of the ITLOS in Hamburg, seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Ivory Coast’s territorial waters in the exploration of oil after a series of failed negotiation attempts.

The company is however confident that Ghana has a strong case.

“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,” the statement said.

Cote d’Ivoire is said to have on several occasions issued threatening letters to oil companies operating in the disputed area.

Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Oil, Aidan Heavey, has said “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,” he pleaded.
By: Godwin Allotey Akweiteh/
Follow @AlloteyGodwin

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