Tribunal Crashes Ghana’s Oil Exploration Expedition

Ijeoma Agudosi/Yemisi Izuora
The international maritime tribunal  that ordered Ghana to suspend new offshore oil development programme in sea areas involved in a boundary dispute with Ivory Coast has put the country in a tight economic situation.

Before the tribunal ruling, Ivory Coast had made a request to the authority handling the case, the Hamburg-based International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), that Ghana should suspend oil exploration and exploitation operations in the disputed area while legal hearings into the dispute go ahead.

The court said it accepted the request from Ivory Coast that Ghana should suspend new offshore oil development in the disputed sea area but it ruled that Ghana can continue ongoing project.

The decision is however important to British oil firm Tullow Oil which is developing the $4.9 billion TEN oil and gas project off the coast of Ghana, partly in waters involved in the boundary dispute.

There had been forecasts that an injunction delaying the TEN development’s opening in 2016 could cost Ghana’s economy up to $6 billion over two years.

Ivory Coast accused Ghana in 2013 of encroaching on a part of its maritime territory rich in hydrocarbons.

In September 2014, Ghana started legal action under a U.N. convention to resolve the dispute but hearings could take up take place up to 2017 or 2018.

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