10611 - Brazil and its continental shelf: new projects, legal challenges

The paper takes on new questions about the expansion of the Brazilian continental shelf beyond the nowadays 200 nautical miles from its coastal baselines establishes by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the questions about oil and gas exploration from the seabed and the pre-salt region on the offshore coast. The huge new oil reserves discovered in very deep waters off Brazilian coast could turn the country into one of the biggest oil producers in the world and transform Brazil into a sizable exporter and win it a seat at the table of the world’s oil cartel. The UNCLOS, the international sea treaty, stipulates that continental shelf could be extended to a maximum 350 nautical miles, which would allow Brazil exploring and exploiting natural resources, oil and gas, in the outer continental shelf. For this to become reality some important steps have to be given and be study. First the Brazilian submission to the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), using as a criteria for determining the outer continental shelf, Article 76 and Annex II of UNCLOS. The CLCS can make recommendations regarding the information on an outer limit delineation required to be submitted to it by a coastal state. Besides that, it is important to analyze the effects of Article 82 of UNCLOS, that coastal states with shelf areas beyond 200 nautical miles would “make payments or contributions in kind in respect of the exploitation of non-living resources of the continental shelf” beyond 200 nm. These payments or contributions are made to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is to distribute the revenues to the developing, the least developed and land-locked countries. Therefore, there are important questions on the expansion on Brazilian continental shelf over sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting natural resources in this area and in relation with international community.

Keywords: International law; Law of the sea; Outer continental shelf; Brazilian submission



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