The two UK companies San Leon Energy and Longreach Oil and Gas are planning to drill an exploration well on the Zag block during first half of 2014. This is mentioned in a company presentation published 10 January 2013.
The well will most probably be drilled in occupied Western Sahara, where the two companies have carried out most of their studies on the block. The Zag block extends to the north-eastern zone of Western Sahara, and could potentially contain gas, according to the companies with the licence.
Western Sahara Resource Watch has sent numerous letters to the companies, asking why they would undertake such explorations in the occupied Western Sahara, considering the UN stating further oil exploration there is in violation of international law. The industry is seen to directly contribute to undermining the UN peace process. WSRW awaits replies to all the letters.
The programme on Zag has been postponed a few times over the last years. A similar Longreach company presentation from May 2011 showed they intended to do a 1 million USD worth seismic in Q3 and Q4 of 2011, and a 2.7 million USD drill exploration well on the Zag block on third and fourth quarter of 2012.
For the Tarfaya block, according to the same document, an exploration well has been now planned for first quarter of 2014. Taking into consideration where the companies have done most research so far, this well would most probably be done in Morocco proper, just north of the border to Western Sahara. It could be that well has already been done in that section. In a company report from 29 June 2011, the company stated that “Drilling of two wells at our Moroccan Tarfaya Oil Shale pilot project began in Q2 2011 and a third well is currently being planned”.
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.
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.
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.