By Stephen Asante
Accra, March 16, GNA – Ghana’s bilateral ties with her western neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire, remains intact, in spite of the maritime boundary dispute outcome that favoured Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has affirmed.
The two countries, he said, had a strategic partnership and would continue to work together in sustaining the long-standing cooperation for the common good and in the interest of the people.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was addressing the National Honours and Awards 2023, in Accra, lauded the technical team and legal advisors who made sure that the maritime boundary dispute ended favourably for the Republic of Ghana.
They worked assiduously to “ensuring that the nation’s western maritime resources, including its oil and gas potential, rightfully remained in our possession,” he noted.
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are adjacent to each other in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean – a maritime area containing large reserves of hydrocarbons which both States had been eager to exploit.
In 2007, the discovery of the major Jubilee oilfield 32 nautical miles (nm) off the Ghanaian coast attracted significant interest from foreign investors in Ghana’s hydrocarbon potential.
Subsequently, in March 2009, the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) fields were discovered only 3nm east of Jubilee.
By the time the issue of maritime delimitation was brought into bilateral negotiations between the parties, the TEN and Jubilee oilfields were all under development by a consortium of companies led by London-based Tullow Oil.
Côte d’Ivoire objected to Ghana’s ongoing oil activities, asserting that they were being conducted in the Ivorian maritime area.
Following this assertion, the parties agreed to establish the ‘Joint Ivorian-Ghanaian Commission on Maritime Border Demarcation,’ and maritime delimitation negotiations commenced.
On December 03, 2014, after little progress in diplomatic negotiations, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire agreed to submit the maritime boundary dispute to the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
In September 2017, the International Tribunal in its judgement granted Ghana all of its claimed maritime territory, including extensive offshore oil and gas fields.
The ruling upheld the boundary line claimed by Ghana and rejecting that proposed by Côte d’Ivoire.
President Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the case was widely followed because of the abundant oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Guinea off the southern coast of the two neighboring African States.
In its ruling, the Tribunal unanimously agreed with Ghana that the disputed boundary should follow an equidistance line, and that Ghana acted lawfully in its drilling and extractive activities on its side of that line.
The boundary adopted is a line extending from the coast to the southwest at a 191.8 degrees angle.
The Tribunal rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s claim that the boundary should run to the southeast along an angle of 168.7 degrees.
The over 9,000 square nautical miles of sea and seabed which were disputed all were awarded to Ghana.
These include the oil and gas fields known as TEN (Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme), which are estimated to hold two billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
In line with the National Awards, members of the ITLOS main legal team were awarded the Order of the Volta – Companion awards.
They are Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, Mr. Joe Ghartey, Ms. Gloria Afua Akuffo, Mr. Kwasi Prempeh, Mrs. Helen Awo Ziwu, Ms. Jane Aheto, Mrs. L. Apaalse, Ms. Pearl Akiwumi-Siriboe, Mr. Godwin Djokoto, Ms. Vivienne Gadzekpo, Professor Dominic Fobi, Mrs. Sylvia Adusu and Mr. Anthony Akoto-Ampaw.