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«BY GYUDE MUHLENBURG WAHUEMO JUR-3910 Small Master’s Thesis Masters of Laws in Law of the Sea UiT The Arctic University of Norway Faculty of Law ...»

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HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION ON THE LIBERIAN

CONTINENTAL SHELF: LIBERIA`S OBLIGATIONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL

AND NATIONAL LAW TO PROTECT THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

BY

GYUDE MUHLENBURG WAHUEMO

JUR-3910

Small Master’s Thesis

Masters of Laws in Law of the Sea

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Faculty of Law

Fall 2013

17.863 words 1

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The author wish to thank Dr. Tore Henriksen, Dr., Professor Erik Jaap Molenær, Dr. Feno Ogutu for their much valued-advice and critics, Dr. Ingrid Ulrikke Jakobsen, for generously providing documents of interest, Dr. Marcus Buck, Tor Arne Morskogen for their kind furnishing of Literature, Dr. Invild Kvalvik and Dr. Trond Pettersen for their lectures, guidance, and recommendations, special thanks to my supervisor Maria Madalena Das Neves for her advice and recommendations that led me to this stage. Special thanks to George Wahuemo-Sialoh for my up-bringing and encouragement to this level. Special thanks to Anne Johanna Makkonen for her enthusiasm, advice, and special technical assistance during all the difficult time of my study. Thanks to all my class-mates and God bless all of us.

2

ABSTRACT

The objective of the study is to examine as to what extends Liberia is complying with her requirements through the practices of International Environmental Law to protect the marine environment from pollution as a consequence of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities on Liberia`s continental shelf. This study go further on to see if Liberia`s National legislation transposes and operationalizes obligations Liberia has assumed under International Environmental Law (IEL), relating to upstream Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation Activities on the Continental Shelf of Liberia. This study has discovered that Liberia has made important efforts in targeting its International Environmental Law responsibility as demonstrated by the Liberian Petroleum Act of 2002 and as envisioned by the National Petroleum Policy of 2012 among others, for it offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities. One can see that Liberia is moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, the study observed that Liberia has much more to be done when it comes to complying with its International Law obligations for the exploration and exploitation of its hydrocarbon activities. In the final chapters of this study, recommendations are made that can be useful in Liberia`s effort.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of cases…………………………………………………………………..10 Table of conventions…………………………………………………………...10 1: 0 CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION………………………………...11 1: 1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS…………………………………………………………….11 1: 2 Hydrocarbons on Liberia`s continental shelf…………………………………………...11 1: 3 Exclusive Economic Zones and the Continental Shelf Regime………………………...14 1: 4 Impact of Pollution……………………………………………………………………..15 1: 5 Materials and how they are used for this study…………………………………………16 1: 6 Description of the study………………………………………………………………...17 1: 7 Delimitations………………………………………………………………………........18 2: 0 CHAPTER TWO - LIBERIA`S OBLIGATONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW……………………………………………………19 2: 1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….19 2: 2 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ………………...19 2: 3 Duty under UNCLOS to cooperate…………

2: 4 Duty to protect the marine environment……………………………………………......21 2: 5 Obligations of Liberia to protect the marine environment from pollution……………..22 2: 6 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and Its Protocol MARPOL 73/7819……………………………………………………………………………23 2: 7 MARPOL 73/78 definition of “vessel” and “discharge”……………………………….23 2: 8 The Contents of Regulations……………………………………………………………24 2: 9 International Convention on Oil Pollution and Preparedness, Response and Co-Operation (OPRC)………………………………………………………………………………………..25 2: 10 Prevention of pollution by oil of the marine environment…………………………….25 2: 11 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)…………………………………………..27 2: 12 Liberia has obligation to protect the marine environment……………………….........27 2: 13 Measures for the management of environmental impact of the marine environment...28 2: 14 Abidjan Convention…………………………………………………………………...29 2: 15 Obligations to protect the marine environment……………………………………….29 2: 16 Pollution from hydrocarbon activities on the sea-bed………………………………...30 2: 17 Liberia shall assess the impact of pollution…………………………………………...30 5 2: 18 Measures to prevent transboundary pollution arising from activities taking place on Liberia`s continental shelf…………………………………………………………………….31 2: 19 Liberia has obligation to prevent transboundary pollution…………………………...33 2: 20 Transboundary pollution……………………………………………………………....34 2: 21 Cooperation for the prevention of marine pollution…………………………………..34 2: 22 Transboundary pollution of the marine environment……………………………………36 2: 23 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………...37 3: 0 CHAPTER THREE - NATIONAL LAW OF LIBERIA……………..39 3: 1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..39 3: 2 Relationship between National and International Law: Liberia as a dualist State……...39 3: 3 Relationship between Liberia`s Law and International law……………………….........40 3: 4 The 1986 Constitution of Liberia……………………………………………………….41 3: 5 The Petroleum Act of Liberia…………………………………………………………..42 3: 6 Obligations for the protection of marine environment………………………………….43 3: 7 An Act for Environmental Protection…………………………………………………..44 3: 8 Obligations under the Environmental Protection Act…………………………………..44 3: 9 Control of pollution of the marine environment………………………………………..45 3: 10 The Environmental Protection and Management Act…………………………………46 3: 11 Obligations under the Environmental Protection and Management Act…………….. 46 3: 12 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….........48

4: 0 CHAPTER FOUR - ASSEMENT OF LIBERIA`S EFFORTS UNDER





NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONA LAW………………………………...50 4: 1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..50 4: 2 General duty to cooperate ……………………………………………………………...51 4: 3 General duty to adopt law for the protection of the marine environment within Liberia`s national boundaries…………………………………………………………………………...51 4: 4 Duty to Conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)……………………………52 4: 5: Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………..53 5: 0 CHAPTER FIVE - RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION...54 5: 1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..54 5: 2 Recommendations………………………………………………………

5: 3 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...56 6 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………...57 A1. Literature list……………………………………………………………….57 A2. Internet websites…………………………………………………………...59 B. International Conventions, Multi- and Bilateral Agreements and other International Legal Guidelines………………………………………………....60 C. Protocol……………………………………………………………………...61 D. Annexes……………………………………………………………………..61 E. Case Law…………………………………………………………………….61 F. National Law of Liberia……………………………………………………..62 G. National Petroleum Policy…………………………………………………..62 7 8 List of Abbreviations UNCLOS…………………………………..1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea LMA……………………………........Liberia Maritime Authority MARPOL…………………………………..International Convention on Marine Pollution OPRC……………………………………....International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, and Response and Co-operation AC…………………………………………..Abidjan Convention CBD………………………………...............Convention on Biological Diversity EEZ…………………………………………Exclusive Economic Zone EHS…………………………………………Environmental Health and Safety EPL…………………………………………Environmental Protection Law EPAA……………………………………….Environmental Protection Agency Act EPA…………………………………………Environmental Impact Assessment IEL………………………………………….International Environmental Law ICJ…………………………………………..International Court of Justice ITLOS………………………………………International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea NLL…………………………………………National Law of Liberia NPLL………………………………………..New Petroleum Law of Liberia IOC…....…………………………………….International Oil Companies HTC………………………………………....Hydrocarbons Technical Committee NPP………………………………………….National Petroleum Policy MLME………………………………………Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy LMA…………………………………………Liberia Maritime Authority VCLC……………………………………… Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties UN…………………………………………...United Nations ECOWAS…………………………………...Economic Community of West African States GOL………………………………………....Government of Liberia List of Figures/Maritime Zones Fig 1 Location of Petroleum activities (page 13) Fig 2 Continental Shelf of Liberia and other maritime zones (page 14)

–  –  –

Table of Conventions

1. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

2. International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, and Response and Cooperation (OPRC)

3. Abidjan Convention (AC)

4. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as Modified by Protocol of 1973 Relating Thereto (MARPOL 73/78)

5. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT)

6. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 10 1: 0 CHAPTER ONE –INTRODUCTION 1: 1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS The purpose of this introductory part is to provide clarification of the two (2) research questions that the thesis will address subsequently herein. The first question is to find out as to what international conventions targeting marine pollution from hydrocarbons activities is Liberia a party to? The second question is: How and to what extent has Liberia implemented and operationalized in its national legislation obligations assumed under those conventions?

objective of the study is to determine whether or not Liberia is capable of mitigating pollution from hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities on Liberia`s Continental Shelf (CS).

If there is any imminent danger due to pollution in the Marine Environment (ME) can Liberia meet its obligations as a sovereign State to deal with such threat resulting from offshore activities on the sea-bed of Liberia`s continental shelf? These are the questions the thesis will provide answer for. This paper will provide some legal recommendations where there are weaknesses and shortcomings to assist Liberia in meeting its national and international obligations for the protection of the marine environment from pollution as a result of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities on Liberia`s continental shelf.

1: 2 Hydrocarbons on Liberia`s Continental Shelf Liberia`s quest for oil and gas back dates to the early parts of 1940s. Exploration activities first began in Liberia between 1960 and 1972. Liberia and the United States conducted aeromagnetic survey. The survey demonstrated the presence of sedimentary basins on Liberia`s continental shelf. Up to 600 meters depth upon the data from the survey conducted between 1960 and 1972. Blocks for explorations were awarded to some companies. However, the blocks did not produce any commercial quantity and this discouraged potential investors.



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