Thursday 16 September 2021

Norwegian Oil Company Denies Exploration in Costa Rica Waters

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Image for illustrative purposes
Image for illustrative purposes

(QCOSTARICA) The Norwegian company, Statoil, denies its offshore concession blocks granted it by Nicaragua for the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Pacific Ocean waters are in Costa Rica.

That is the word from the company to Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry, on the possibility that the territory ceded by the Nicaraguan government is actually in Costa Rican maritime territory, given that the maritime border between the two countries is unclear.

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Map showing concession blcoks in the Pacific ocean off Nicaragua's coast.
Map showing concession blcoks in the Pacific ocean off Nicaragua’s coast.

The maritime delimitation is being currently discussed in a dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

Foreign Minister, Manual Gonzales, confirmed to the EFE news agency that the oil company considers it a conflict between the two countries, one that is has no participation.

“We cannot confirm, for we do not know the terms of the contract signed by the government of Nicaragua. However, our concern is to safeguard our rights and warn that there is a contingency that will be reoslved by an international court and Costa Rica will not recognize any contract or any right granted (to the company) on Costa Rica’s maritime territory,” Gonzalez told La Nacion.

Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis, during his visit to Paris, France, as part of his European tour, told EFE that the important thing is that if the ICJ rules in favour of Costa Rica, Staoil cannot collect compensation, or claim that it “acted in good faith”.

Contrasting the assumptions made by Costa Rica is Mauricio Herdocia, an expert in international law, who said that Nicaragua has been careful to give concessions for oil exploration in remote sea areas where a dispute can be raised with neighbouring countries.

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Therefore, Herdocia sees baseless Costa Rica’s “warning to the Norwegian oil company, Statoil, on the likely occurrence of “illegal acts that undermine the sovereignty of Costa Rica waters.”  See report at Today Nicaragua.

In May 2015 Statoil together with partner the  Empresa Nicaraguense del Petroleo Petronic – Petronic (Nicaragua state oild company) was awarded four licences offshore the Nicaraguan Pacific.  The licences cover an area of about 16,000 square kilometres in the Sandino Basin. Statoil is the operator with 85% equity with Petronic participating with the remaining equity.

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