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Illegal American oil exploration coming up

The American oil company Kosmos Energy writes in a recent presentation that they plan to drill for oil on behalf of the Moroccan government in the occupied areas in 2009. According to the UN, that would be illegal.
Published: 04.06 - 2007 18:37Printer version    
Last week, Kosmos Energy published on its homepages a presentation of the company's plans in occupied Western Sahara. Kosmos is the only foreign company working for Morocco offshore the occupied territory.

In the presentation, Kosmos explains that they plan drilling in Western Sahara in 2009. According to the presentation, they have budgeted a total 2 million dollars to buy and process seismic data for the so-called Boujdour bloc.

The bulk of this money, will probably end up in Norwegian hands. A large part of the seismic data that Kosmos use, were collected by the Norwegian company TGS-Nopec through a highly controversial deal with the Moroccan state oil company ONHYM in 2002-2003.

"If further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories."

The UN Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, in a letter to the Security Council, January 29,  2002.
When TGS-Nopec first received criticism for the assignment in 2002 - not least becase they called the area "Southern Morocco" - the Norwegians published a regretting and a tentatively explanatory press release, wherby they underlined that the are was not covering Morocco after all, but ”Boujdour and Dakhla in Northwest Africa”.

TGS-Nopec emphasized that they were not going to earn any money on future drilling or oil exploitation in the area. After more than 20 Norwegian shareholders in TGS-Nopec had divested from the company in protest, and after the Norwegian Minister of foreign affairs had critisized the company in the parliament, TGS-Nopec finally withdrew from further engagement in Western Sahara.

But now, TGS-Nopec are after all, earning money on the future drilling. The data that TGS-Nopec are now selling to Kosmos facilitates an oil exploitation that the UN clearly deems illegal.

The other company that Kosmos is buying data from, is the Dutch seismic company Fugro.




Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.

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