The new block, labelled Foum Ognit Offshore is loced just south west of the capital city of Western Sahara, El Aaiun.
By mid January 2013, the block was labelled as "open acreage" on the maps of Morocco's state oil company ONHYM. However, as of beginning of April 2013, the block had changed status on ONHYM's maps, and is currently labelled "under negotiation". The block is 8013 sq.kilometers large.
Further oil exploration Western Sahara is according to the UN in violation of international law as long as the Saharawis don't benefit and if they do not consent. Several companies have pulled out from the territory after being made aware of the controversies involved.
Morocco occupies a part of the territory, and has no rights to negotate such deals for the territory which is not theirs.
See the status change and size adjustment of the Foum Ognit block below. The western boundary of the block is moved westwards, to the median line between the Saharawi seacoast and Spainís Canary Islands.
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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.