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    September Set for African Dispute Hearing


Somalia will have its days in court early in September.

by: Thulani Mpofu

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Africa, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Political, Territorial dispute, News By Country, Kenya, Somalia

September Set for African Dispute Hearing

The dispute between Somalia and Kenya over a maritime zone thought to be gas-rich off the Indian Ocean is scheduled to be heard at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, from September 9 to 13.

Somalia took the matter to the ICJ in August 2014 seeking to have its border with Kenya redrawn on a line slanting southeastward as an extension of the land border. On the other hand Kenya, which has attempted to convince its neighbour into an out of court settlement is arguing that the boundary must run on a parallel line of latitude due east.  If Somalia wins the case, it would legally claim ownership of the 100,000 km² triangle believed to have hydrocarbons. Tanzania and Mozambique, which lie further south, have discovered 57 trillion ft³ and 180 trillion ft³ of natural gas in their respective territories on the same ocean.

In 2012, Kenya awarded an offshore block each to Anadarko and Total and three to Eni.  The three given to Eni are directly affected by the Somalia-Kenya dispute.

According to a schedule published by the ICJ June 25, there will be two parts of the oral hearings. Somalia will set the ball rolling on the first day before Kenya responds on September 11.  Somalia will respond on September 12, with Kenya arguing its case on the next day.  The hearings would be streamed live in English and French on the ICJ website and on the UN online television channel.

After a period on uneasy calm, tensions flared up on February 7, 2019, when Somalia held a conference in London to market its offshore hydrocarbon potential. The Somali government said it showcased assets that are outside the contested territory but Kenya accused its neighbour of auctioning 15 oil and gas blocks, three of which it said are in the disputed triangle.  Kenya further escalated the conflict by recalling its ambassador to Somalia and ordered Somalia's to leave.