Resolving the un-delimited Arctic boundary between Canada and the United States in the Beaufort Sea using a law-and-science approach

Robert van de Poll, Pieter Bekker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The paper discusses the Canada-US boundary dispute in the Beaufort Sea from a combined legal and geo-scientific perspective and by reference to the latest boundary delimitation jurisprudence and 4D-technology.

Fewer than half of the 500 or so potential maritime boundaries in the world have been agreed, creating uncertainty not only for the coastal States involved but also for their investors active in the offshore oil and gas industry. The complex process of agreeing and fixing boundaries or of making provisional arrangements can be time-consuming and expensive but once agreed can significantly contribute to the economic wealth of the affected countries. Disputes over maritime boundaries regularly flare up around the world and sometimes result in skirmishes. Coastal States with competing claims to maritime areas routinely offer and award oil concessions in disputed waters without the investors taking blocks being fully aware of the underlying inter-State dispute and the risks presented by an un-delimited boundary, especially one featuring straddling deposits. Indeed, maritime boundary disputes form a misunderstood and frequently overlooked area of investment risk management in the energy sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOTC Arctic Technology Conference, 5-7 November, Houston, Texas, USA
PublisherOffshore Technology Conference
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-61399-621-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-61399-621-8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018
EventArctic Technology Conference - Houston, United States
Duration: 5 Nov 20187 Nov 2018


ConferenceArctic Technology Conference
Abbreviated titleATC-OTC
CountryUnited States


  • Legal & Scientific
  • Law of the Sea
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Maritime Boundary Dispute
  • Future Resources

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