Nigeria, Eq. Guinea sign oil fields deal

2002-04-03 17:34

Abuja - Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday signed an agreement for the unitisation of oil fields along their common maritime boundary.

Signing the agreement in Abuja, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Obang Mbasogo said it was a testimony of the two countries' determination to solve all bilateral issues and encourage co-operation.

Obasanjo and Mbasogo called on officials of both countries and operators of Nigeria's TotalFinaElf fields and Equatorial Guinea's Exxon Mobil fields to ensure the smooth implementation of the protocol.

In his speech Obasanjo said that the agreements on the unitisation of the oil fields showed the determination of both countries to establish effective border management regime.

Such a regime, he added, would ensure a systematic approach to the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources along the two countries' maritime boundary line.

He said that they could work together to protect the economic and strategic interests in the Gulf of Guinea and added that the financial benefits would be used to improve the lives of citizens of both countries.

They also called on other African leaders to emulate their example and settle all boundary problems amicably.

Political analysts, however, question the timing of the agreement. They say that Nigeria is trying to refute neighbouring Cameroon's claims to the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula because it is a bigger country.

Nigeria and Cameroon concluded their five-week appearance at the International Court at the Hague last week, where they both stated their cases on the ownership of Bakassi. - Sapa-DPA