ICJ Sets Black Sea Maritime Boundary Between Romania and Ukraine; Resolves Significant Oil and Natural Gas Claims

by Chris Borgen

The ICJ has issued a judgment in the case Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine). At first glance the issue may seem relatively dry: whether Serpents’ Island in the Black Sea is an inhabited island or just a rocky outcropping. But the answer to this question affects maritime delimitation lines, which in turn resolves which country has the right to exploit oil and natural gas deposits found near Serpents’ Island,  which may total about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 100 million metric tons of crude oil.  According to the Reuters report in the previous link, the ICJ decision awards Romania about four-fifths of its original claim.  You can see the Ukrainian and Romanian claims in the maps at the end of this press release, followed by a map showing the ICJ’s delimitation.

Depending on the actual amounts of gas and oil that are found, this delimitation may affect the energy politics of the region (and may increase the energy security of Romania, in particular).


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