Ghana, Ivory Coast aim for border resolution

Getty Off Shore Oil Rig27 November 2013, News Wires – West African neighbours Ghana and Ivory Coast aim to settle a long dispute over their maritime boundary, the Ivorian government said, which could defuse sometimes tense relations and smooth the way for oil and gas exploration.

The countries have never officially delimited that boundary, and their maps showing offshore waters currently overlap. So far only Ghana has awarded acreage in the disputed area.

Oil exploration in Africa’s Gulf of Guinea has accelerated since Ghana discovered its giant Jubilee oil and gas field in 2007 and brought it online in record time in late 2010.

The field is estimated to hold around 2 billion barrels of oil reserves and another 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, drilled only a handful of offshore exploration wells during a decade-long political crisis that ended in 2011.

It now seeks to expand its oil and gas industry and asserts that some offshore areas claimed by Ghana lie within its territorial waters.

“The two heads of state … have formally decided that the resolution of this dispute should be peaceful. The decision taken will be a consensual decision,” Ivory Coast government spokesman Bruno Kone said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

“Ivory Coast has set up a commission to work on the subject… So in June 2014, our two countries, Ghana and Ivory Coast, will be able to find a definitive solution to this dispute,” the news wire quoted him as saying after a cabinet meeting.

As Ivory Coast’s political and economic environments have stabilised, interest in potentially vast offshore hydrocarbon resources has also jumped.

France’s Total announced in April it had discovered oil in the western part of CI-100, a block it acquired in 2010 that is adjacent to the disputed area with Ghana.

Total, along with partners Anadarko and Canada’s CNR, plans to spend up to $300 million to drill exploration wells on three offshore blocks in waters off the western town of Sassandra.

– Upstream

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