The West African nations of Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire are deeply entrenched in a legal battle over where in the Atlantic Ocean to draw the maritime boundary between them. Further complicating the conflict is the presence of significant quantities of offshore petroleum in the disputed area. In an interim order issued on April 25, 2015, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Ghana may proceed with existing oil-related activity but must take all steps necessary to prevent new drilling, ensure that no information derived from oil exploration be used to the detriment of Côte D’Ivoire, and strictly monitor all activity in the disputed area. While a final decision on the merits with regard to the maritime boundary is not expected until 2017, the order suggests that Ghana’s extensive exploration of the area and reliance on the anticipated oil income will play a role in the outcome of the case. This raises the broader question of whether the presence of natural resource wealth and its potential to facilitate economic development should be a relevant consideration in the adjudication of cross-border disputes on a global scale.
Mixing Oil and Water: The Role of Natural Resource Wealth in the Resolution of the Maritime Boundary Dispute Between Ghana and Côte D’ivoire,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.
E. Supp. 1