A major crude oil-induced border dispute could break out between Ghana and neighbouring Ivory Coast, if immediate steps are not taken to enter into appropriate negotiations to redefine the international boundary between the two West African nations.
Ghana’s Western neighbor Ivory Coast is reportedly laying claims to portions of the huge oil wealth in the deep waters of the Western Region.
In a move to save the situation, Ghana has begun an urgent move to pass a new law that seeks to establish the Ghana Boundary Commission to undertake negotiations to determine and demarcate Ghana’s land boundaries and de-limit Ghana’s maritime boundaries.
Parliament has therefore been tasked to race against time to pass the Ghana Boundary Commission Bill under a certificate of urgency.
Speaking to CitiNews, the Minister for Lands and Forestry, Hon Collins Dauda, who laid the bill before Parliament, said the government is doing everything possible to avoid a full-blown international dispute with the nation’s Western neighbour.
“There is a critical need for us to put in place a commission that would lead the negotiation for our maritime and land boundaries with our neighbours…
"There are international laws and United Nations conventions that need to be respected. It is as if [because] of the claim you can take over the area like that…in these matters you begin with negotiations…as soon as we put our commission in place then we have the mandate to meet with our counterpart as to the de-limitations of our maritime boundary.”
The news of Ivory Coast’s claim to parts of Ghana’s oil fields comes just days after United States operator Vanco struck oil in the deep-water Dzata-1 well, off Ghana’s Cape Three Points near Ivory Coast, further boosting the oil wealth in Ghana’s booming offshore Tano basin.
However Collins Dauda said he is confident Ghana and Ivory Coast will be able to resolve the matter without any conflict due to the good relations between the two countries.