In the decision the ITLOS Tribunal determined the following:
- the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the dispute;
- the maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname commences at Point 1, being the intersection of the low water line of the west bank of the Corentyne River and the geodesic line of N10degreesE which passes through "Marker "B" established in 1936. The Tribunal holds that the 10degrees Line is established between the Parties from the starting point to the 3 nautical mile limit. Thereafter, the Tribunal arrives at a line continuing from the seaward terminus of the N10degreesE line at 3 nautical miles, and drawn diagonally by the shortest distance to meet the line adopted to delimit the Parties' continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
Kerry Sully, President and CEO of CGX stated, "The decision is extremely positive for CGX, as it concludes that 93% of CGX's Corentyne License and 100% of our Georgetown License are in Guyana territory. Our Eagle drilling location in 2000 is 15 kilometers within this border award. The entire Eagle turbidite is within the awarded area and the majority of our Wishbone West target as well. In addition, 100% of our newly interpreted Eagle Deep target is in Guyana territory and under license to CGX. These targets and similar targets identified on our 25% held Georgetown block are shown on the close-up map of a portion of our concessions below." A full map of the ITLOS boundary award has been attached.
Warren Workman, Vice President, Exploration for CGX stated, "For more than seven years the dispute has prevented any additional exploration offshore Guyana. However it has given us the time to reinterpret our 1999 2D seismic program in detail. In addition to our Eagle and Wishbone West Paleocene targets at 13,000 feet, we have identified Eagle Deep, a significant structural opportunity in the Cretaceous at 15,000 to 20,000 feet. There may also be a number of shelf-edge targets in between. Our plan is to shoot 3D seismic to clarify these targets to prepare for an exploration well that has the possibility of penetrating several targets with a single wellbore."
As background, on February 25, 2004 the Government of Guyana formally commenced binding dispute settlement procedures under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in relation to the maritime dispute between Guyana and Suriname. This action was taken in order to demarcate the maritime boundary between the two South American neighbors.
In June 2000, a jack-up drilling rig leased by CGX from an American drilling contractor and operating under license from the Government of Guyana was forced off its Eagle drilling location by gunboats from the Surinamese navy in contravention to the UNCLOS Treaty to which both countries were full signatories. Following this incident there was a resuscitation of the mechanism for dealing with boundary matters between the two states, namely the Joint Meeting of the Border Commissions of Guyana and Suriname. The last meeting was convened in Georgetown in March 2003.
These rounds of meetings did not yield many results. With no hope of a negotiated solution, Guyana announced that it had commenced arbitration proceedings against Suriname under Annex VII of the UNCLOS Treaty. Under this provision, the arbitration is compulsory and binding.
Guyana was represented by a team of international lawyers: Sir Shridath Ramphal of London, former Commonwealth Secretary General; Mr. Paul S. Reichler, a Partner in Foley Hoag LLP, of Washington, DC; and Dr. Payam Akhavan, a Senior Fellow at McGill Law School.
Kerry Sully added, "It was an honor to have been able to assist President Jagdeo and the Government of Guyana in this process and a privilege to have been able to work with the legal team and their consultants. Looking forward, if an offshore discovery is made in either Guyana or Suriname, it could lead to many more throughout the basin. Significant employment, infrastructure, and service sector opportunities will evolve to support the dynamic exploration and development that will follow. The combined resources of both countries will be required to support the evolution of a new petroleum industry in the Guyana/Suriname basin."
CGX holds an interest in four Production Sharing Licenses from the Government of Guyana, covering 8.7 million acres (6.7 million net) offshore and 800,000 acres (680,000 net) onshore. Other companies holding Licenses in the area of overlapping border claims are Maxus Guyana Ltd., a subsidiary of Repsol YPF and Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd.
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