Ivory Coast has served notice that it is ready to battle Ghana in a maritime border dispute.
Officials of the Francophone nation are gearing up to file a complaint with an international jurisdiction after Ghana resorted to the Tribunal of the Law of the Sea to settle a maritime border row between the two countries in an area rich in hydrocarbons.
A spokesman for Ivory Coast’s government, Bruno Kone, would not give details on where the complaint would be filed.
“We will take this before the competent jurisdiction, but we are not going to say more for the moment,” Kone told Reuters.
The Attorney General of Ghana, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, this week announced that the former British Colony had filed a suit under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea after 10 bilateral talks failed to resolve the issue since it came up in 2008.
A resolution is crucial for oil and gas exploration and it could end any uncertainty for Tullow, which first discovered the Tweneboa, Enyenra, and Ntomme (TEN) cluster development in 2009 in Ghana’s Deepwater Tano licence close to the disputed area.
In its statement, Ivory Coast said the dispute over the border area would not in any way undermine relations between the two countries, their people and the two presidents.
Ivory Coast accused Ghana in April 2013 of encroaching on a part of its maritime territory rich in hydrocarbons.
Tullow’s partners in the TEN project include Anadarko, Kosmos Energy, Sabre Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd as well as the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
Ghana has said oil firms could continue to operate during the arbitration process, which could take up to three years.