Kosmos Energy asked by OECD contact point to quote correctly

The US oil company Kosmos Energy, operating offshore occupied Western Sahara, is requested by an OECD national contact point to "refrain from positioning interpretations as facts". The company refuses to remove lies about a civil society association from its website and refuse to answer questions from WSRW.
Published: 25.12 - 2016 22:13Printer version    
The US oil company Kosmos Energy is severely and publicly misrepresenting a joint-declaration signed between the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara (NSCWS) and the fishing company Sjøvik AS, mediated by the OECD National Contact Point in Norway in 2013.

Kosmos Energy, which is awarded an offshore licence by the Moroccan government in the occupied territory, does that misuse in an effort to try to legitimise its own controversial operations vis-à-vis concerned third parties.

The oil company's misrepresentations appear in a letter sent from Kosmos to the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund on 14 January 2016, available on the company's website. The Council on Ethics had shortly before recommended that the Norwegian government pension fund exclude Kosmos from its portfolios for violating fundamental ethical norms in Western Sahara.

Kosmos Energy claims in its letter:
  • that the declaration between the Norwegian NGO and the fishing company constitutes an argument for carrying out oil search in Western Sahara, in the way that it "affirms that Sjovik was providing benefits to the people of the Western Sahara", "was was not in violation of applicable law or norms" and that the company "would continue its operations in a transparent manner".
  • that the OECD contact point in Norway has made a decision on the matter, giving advise on how businesses should operate in Western Sahara.

    "We kindly ask that you [...] quote us correctly and refrain from positioning your interpretations as facts"

    OECD National Contact Point in Norway, in letter to Kosmos Energy, 17 Nov 2016.
    Both are incorrect.

    In a letter sent from the OECD National Contact Point in Norway to Kosmos Energy, dated 17 November 2016, the contact point underlines the following:

    "It is important for the National Contact Point of Norway, amongst other things to maintain trust in our work, that parties in a specific instance and third parties refer truthfully to our statements. We therefore take this opportunity to reiterate what we said in our Final Statement:
    "As the parties have agreed on a mediated solution, the NCP has not examined the merits of the claim. It is therefore sufficient to underscore on a general basis that there is heightened due diligence requirement for business in relation to human rights violations when operation in or from areas in conflict, in this case the disputed Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara [...]
    We kindly ask that you in future references to our Final Statement quote us correctly and refrain from positioning your interpretations as facts."

    The letter is published on the website of the OECD National Contact Point [or download].

    Also the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has sent a letter to Kosmos Energy to make them stop the false and defamatory representations. In a reply, sent to NSCWS on 7 Sept 2016, Kosmos refuses having done anything wrong, and refuses to remove the offensive and false statements from its website.

    "Under no circumstance would our association sign a declaration with a company regarding the management of natural resources in occupied Western Sahara. We are not in a position to do that, just as little as Morocco, Sjøvik or Kosmos are. Only the Saharawi people can decide on their own resources", stated chair of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Magnhild Bøgseth.

    No part of the declaration which NSCWS signed with Sjøvik address the company's operations in Western Sahara, apart from an introductory paragraph where it states that the two parties to the declaration fundamentally disagree on the company's presence in the territory:

    The Norwegian Support Committee underlined in the joint statement that "the activities of Sjøvik AS are in violation of the Saharawis’ right to control their own natural resources, and must therefore be discontinued", while Sjøvik, on the other hand "supports and respects the protection of internationally recognised human rights. The company has not taken a position on the views expressed by NSCWS, as this would be incompatible with its presence in the territory".

    The joint-declaration furthermore contains, and that is the most important, an advice to the Norwegian government (which urges Norwegian companies to stay away from the territory), as well as tools that the fishing company should implement regarding its own overall human rights performance.

    In the controversial letter Kosmos initially sent to the Norwegian Council on Ethics regarding the company's exclusion from the Norwegian pension fund over lack of ethics, the company also raises a series of political arguments that deserve to be challenged. Under the heading «The decision to divest is based on an outdated geopolitical and local understanding», Kosmos emphasizes that «The Council remains fixed on a position it adopted in 2005 and appears unwilling to change its view, despite the many positive developments since then concerning Western Sahara. The Council’s decision fails to recognize that people in Western Sahara – whom we have met in hundreds of face-to-face conversations – want the economic opportunities that come from increased foreign investment. In our experience, this desire cuts across demographics and political affiliations.»

    WSRW challenged what Kosmos really meant with this in a letter on 12 July 2016. In a reply to WSRW on 7 September 2016, Kosmos, however, failed to reply to all five questions asked.

    The misuse of sources echoes the consistent false representation of a UN Legal Opinion on such exploration by the same company.



    29.04 - 2017 / 24.03 - 2017Domino of Spanish regions urge for no Western Sahara trade
    27.04 - 2017 / 27.04 - 2017Cargo of salt from occupied Western Sahara arrived in the Netherlands
    26.04 - 2017 / 26.04 - 2017Unemployed Saharawis set up protest camp in occupied Western Sahara
    26.04 - 2017 / 25.04 - 2017San Leon blames security for pause in occupied Western Sahara
    25.04 - 2017 / 24.04 - 2017New report on global phosphate trade from occupied Western Sahara
    23.04 - 2017 / 19.04 - 2017Vigeo Eiris asserts Saharawi consent unnecessary
    15.04 - 2017 / 15.04 - 2017Kosmos/Cairn oil study in occupied waters has ended
    11.04 - 2017 / 31.03 - 2017Agrium looks to other sources than Western Sahara
    11.04 - 2017 / 11.04 - 2017Self-immolation by Moroccan sea captain in Dakhla
    31.03 - 2017 / 31.03 - 2017Polisario protests Kosmos/Cairn exploration in occupied waters
    30.03 - 2017 / 30.03 - 2017FMC Corp confirms it is no longer into Western Sahara phosphates
    28.03 - 2017 / 28.03 - 2017Here is Kosmos Energy's supply vessel in occupied Western Sahara
    28.03 - 2017 / 28.03 - 2017Unemployed Saharawi youth hi-jacked OCP bus
    24.03 - 2017 / 24.03 - 2017Morocco's P for Politics in Africa
    23.03 - 2017 / 07.03 - 2017Kosmos with extensive seismic studies off occupied Western Sahara
    23.03 - 2017 / 23.03 - 2017African Union asks Morocco not to sign Western Sahara deals
    20.03 - 2017 / 20.03 - 2017French government dilutes Court of Justice conclusion
    17.03 - 2017 / 17.03 - 2017Spain confirms: EU-Morocco trade deal not for Western Sahara goods
    17.03 - 2017 / 02.03 - 2017New controversial energy infrastructure to be built in Western Sahara
    16.03 - 2017 / 16.03 - 2017New publication on the EU and Western Sahara


    Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
    Report: COP22 controversy - Moroccan green energy used for plunder


    At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
    Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


    Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
    The Western Sahara oil curse


    Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.
    Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


    On 17 February 2013, in a mockery of justice, a Moroccan military court condemned 25 Saharawi citizens to shockingly tough prison sentences. Help us to release the Gdeim Izik 25.

    WSRW.org News Archive 2016
    WSRW.org News Archive 2015
    WSRW.org News Archive 2014
    WSRW.org News Archive 2013
    WSRW.org News Archive 2012
    WSRW.org News Archive 2011
    WSRW.org News Archive 2010
    WSRW.org News Archive 2009
    WSRW.org News Archive 2008
    WSRW.org News Archive 2007
    WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006

    Register for our English newsletter:

    These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy