Kenya oil reserves at stake in border spat with Somalia

2016-09-18 21:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenya's fight to hold on to potentially lucrative Indian Ocean oil and gas reserves, threatened by a maritime border spat with Somalia, goes before the UN's top court in The Hague on Monday.

The hearings, due to last through the week, are the first stage in Kenya's battle against a 2014 claim by Somalia for the redrawing of the sea border, a move that would affect three of Kenya's 20 offshore oil blocks.

A relative newcomer to the oil industry but one seen as having major potential, Kenya has awarded the three oil blocks to Italy's EniSpA.

"I'm confident that we will win that case," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on state radio Sunday in Mogadishu.

Leading Kenya's delegation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is attorney-general Githu Muigai, who for his part reiterated that Nairobi "contested the jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear the matter."

At the heart of the dispute is how to draw the line of the sea boundary. Somalia, which lies north of Kenya, wants it to continue along the line of the land border, in a southeast direction.

Valuable deposits 

Kenya wants it to go in a straight line east, along the parallel of latitude, giving it more sea territory.

The disputed triangle of water stretches over more than 100 000km2 believed to hold valuable deposits of oil and gas in a part of Africa only recently found to be sitting on significant reserves.

The Kenyan side argues it has exercised uncontested jurisdiction over the disputed sea boundary since 1979, when it proclaimed its Exclusive Economic Zone.

It insists also that it had previously agreed with Mogadishu to resolve the spat through talks, not through legal action.

"In 2009 the two parties agreed to delimit the maritime boundary by negotiation, and not by recourse to the Court," Muigai said in a statement.

But Somalia has told the court that diplomatic negotiations "have failed to resolve this disagreement."

This week's hearings by the ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule on disputes between United Nations members, in fact will deal with Kenya's objections to the court's jurisdiction to rule on the matter.

Read more on:    kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.