Kosmos Energy is the only company in the world who holds a licence for oil exploration offshore occupied Western Sahara.
A legal analysis by the UN in 2002 stated that proceeding with exploration activities in Western Sahara would be in violation of international law.
"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 opinion concludes.
The Kosmos Energy agreement with Morocco for oil reconnaissance in neighbouring country Western Sahara is highly unethical. Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975, and a majority of the indigenous population, the Sahrawis, has had to flee the country. Still over 500 Sahrawis are reported missing since the occupation began. The oil deals with Morocco in the occupied territories is considered a very unethical support to the occupation
"In recognizing the inalienable rights of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories to the natural resources in their territories, the General Assembly has consistently condemned the exploitation and plundering of natural resources and any economic activities which are detrimental to the interests of the peoples of those Territories and deprive them of their legitimate rights over their natural resources." United Nations Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, in letter to the Security Council, on 29th of January 2002. But this seems to have passed unnoticed by Petroleum Africa. The magazine on July 4th 2008, awarded 3 prices to Kosmos.
Among them, Kosmos has been chosen as Operator of the Year. "Kosmos has clearly demonstrated its pioneering spirit operating in high risk, high reward frontier areas.", they state rather ironically.
Petroleum Africa has furthermore missed the point that Kosmos has a deal in occupied Western Sahara - and not in Morocco. "The company holds operated assets in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Morocco, and non-operated assets in Cameroon, Ghana, and Benin", Petroleum Africa states.
No states in the world have recognised the 1975 occupation of Western Sahara, which was condemned by the UN General Assembly.
Here are the awards that the US company won:
Mid-sized Independent Kosmos Energy and Verenex Energy share the Mid-sized Independent award for their pioneering spirit, agility, and successes over the year as young operators. Despite the youth of both of these companies, they came on very strong over 2007 and their achievements over a short time are notable. [...] Kosmos, with its first Ghana well hit pay with what looks to be a world class discovery in a previously unexplored deepwater province. This discovery has major implications for Ghana, as well as neighboring countries and the wider West Africa region.
Discovery of the Year Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil share this award as they are partnered on what can only be termed as Africa’s two most exciting discoveries of 2007 in Ghana’s virgin deepwater acreage: the Mahogany-1 on the Kosmos-operated West Cape Three Points license and the Hyedua-1 on the Tullow-operated Deepwater Tano license.
Operator of the Year The deepwater Mahogany-1 discovery is just one of the reasons Kosmos is deserving of this year’s Operator of the Year award. Not only did the company drill this well, but also undertook exploration in Nigeria and Benin, as well as ran a seismic campaign in Cameroon. Kosmos has clearly demonstrated its pioneering spirit operating in high risk, high reward frontier areas.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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.