Refund $3.8m used on ITLOS case to GNPC – PIAC to Gov’t
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC, wants government to refund an amount of US$3.8 million the Ghana National Petroleum Commission spent on the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea [ITLOS] case in 2016/2017.
PIAC argues that the government must refund because the case was between two sovereign States and not companies.
“The ITLOS dispute was between two sovereign States and not between a sovereign State and a national oil company for which reason it was wrong to have used GNPC’s resources to settle the cost of litigation. The amount of US$3.8 million spent by GNPC on the litigation should, therefore, be refunded to GNPC,” PIAC stated in its 2017 annual report on the management of petroleum revenues from January to December 2017.
PIAC in its report also urged the government to sort out any maritime issue with authorities in neighboring Togo before it escalates into another full-blown dispute.
“PIAC has noted adverse claims being made by the Togolese authorities concerning its maritime boundary with Ghana in respect of the East Keta Ultra Deep Block and urges Government to initiate urgent steps to delineate Ghana’s maritime border with Togo,” the report added.
In 2007, Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities, and this was followed by Cote d’Ivoire staking its claim to portions of the West Cape Three Points.
These claims were renewed in 2010 after Vanco, an oil exploration and Production Company announced the discovery of oil in the Dzata-1 deepwater-well.
Cote d’Ivoire petitioned the United Nations asking for completion of the demarcation of its maritime boundary with Ghana, and Ghana responded by setting up of the Ghana Boundary Commission.
This commission was tasked with the responsibility of negotiating with Côte d’Ivoire towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.
But this commission bore no fruit, and in September 2014, Ghana dragged Cote d’Ivoire to ITLOS after ten failed negotiations.
Ghana went to ITLOS to dispel claims it has encroached Cote d’Ivoire’s maritime borders as part of oil exploration activities at Cape Three Points, off the shores of the Western Region.
ITLOS’s first ruling in 2015 placed a moratorium on new projects, with old projects continuing after Cote d’Ivoire filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case.
The moratorium prevented Tullow Oil from drilling additional 13 wells. Tullow thus drilled eleven  wells in Ghana’s first oil field.
Ghana’s defense held that Cote d’Ivoire was barred from demanding ownership to the disputed area it had acknowledged that Ghana owned the space without any doubts in the decades leading up to the oil discovery.
The ITLOS ruling in September 2017 went in Ghana’s favor.
But it later turned out that GNPC funded the cost of Ghana’s legal fight with Ivory Coast at ITLOS.