Kenya halts oil exploration in Eni’s offshore blocks

Kenya has said it has suspended oil exploration in the disputed part of the Indian Ocean, where Italian giant Eni has been searching for hydrocarbons, that saw it face off with Somalia at the international court of justice at the Hague last week.

The three blocks L23, L21 and L24 located in the deep and ultra-deep sections of the Lamu basin were awarded to the Italian company in 2012 with 100 percent stake and have an area of more than 35000 of 42,000 square kilometers and involve a geophysical exploration programme.

The suspension according to the Kenyan team at the Hague was a show of good faith after the horn of Africa country accused its southern neighbor of trying to grab its coastal waters despite a 2009 memorandum of understanding between the two neighbors’ that saw an agreement reached on the boundaries along the equidistant before it was later thrown out by Somalia’s parliament.

“Kenya has voluntarily suspended its transitory exploratory activities in the disputed area as an expression of its good faith. In May, we invited Somalia to enter into provisional arrangements pending an agreement on the maritime boundary.  We remain open to discussing these arrangements with Somalia,” Prof Muigai is quoted on the Daily Nation.

Our requests to Eni Kenya office for a comment on whether they had already suspended operations were not fruitful as the staffs available are not allowed to speak to the media.

The Court’s Judgment on the preliminary objections will be delivered at a public sitting with the date of set to be announced in due course.

  • At the end of the hearings, the Agents of the Parties presented the following submissions to the Court: For Kenya: “The Republic of Kenya respectfully requests the Court to adjudge and declare that: The case brought by Somalia against Kenya is not within the jurisdiction of the Court and is inadmissible, and is accordingly dismissed.”
  • For Somalia: “On the basis of its Written Statement of 5 February 2016, and its oral pleadings, Somalia respectfully requests the Court: 1. To reject the Preliminary Objections raised by the Republic of Kenya; and 2. To find that it has jurisdiction to entertain the Application filed by the Federal Republic of Somalia.”

The delegation of Kenya was led by Professor Githu Muigai, Attorney-General of the Republic of Kenya, as Agent. The delegation of Somalia was led by H.E. Mr. Ali Said Faqi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Somalia to the Kingdom of Belgium, as Co-Agent.

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