Oman submits application to UN to extend its continental shelf

Muscat - 

Oman has submitted a formal application to extend its continental shelf to the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea.

A successful submission will give the sultanate exclusive rights over a large area of seabed in the Arabian Sea beyond its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the right to explore for oil and gas and other resources.

The sultanate’s permanent representative to the United Nations, H E Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al Harthy, submitted the application on October 26.

The process requires a detailed science-based submission to be compiled and then presented to the United Nations demonstrating the link between Oman’s landmass and its offshore continental shelf area beyond 200 nautical miles from its coastline.

Oman had embarked on procedures to extend the continental shelf in 2009 and contracted with the best international companies to assist in the preparation of this file. According to the UN, a coastal country, which proves its right as per the requirements of the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, may extend its continental shelf up to a maximum of 350 nautical miles from the base point.

With a successful submission, sultanate will get the right to explore the non-living resources (oil, gas and minerals), in addition to conducting scientific research and creating a database for the benefit of its economy.

Oman’s Continental Shelf Boundaries Extension Committee was formed in 2008 following a decision of the Council of Ministers to follow up on the issue.

In 2013, Oman had signed a consultancy and supervision services contract with New Zealand-based GNS for extending the outer limits of its continental shelf.

In 2015, Oman had awarded a contract to Singapore-based company Gardline CGG to help provide survey vessels for the continental shelf extension project. EEZ is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.

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