According to Upstream Online, Kosmos regional director Ragnar Fredsted said the company will look to sink Gargaa-1 — the first probe off the non-self-governed territory of Western Sahara — in October or November, targeting Lower Cretaceous fans in about 2000 metres of water.
“The size of this (Cap Boujdour block) is incredible. It has the possibility for multiple working petroleum systems, different play concepts and nothing has ever been discovered,” said Fredsted at the Energy Institute’s International Petroleum Week conference this week.
The United Nations have clearly stated that any further exploration or exploitation of oil in Western Sahara is in violation of international law.
However, completely misreading the UN legal opinion on the matter, Fredsted claims that there is no problem, as he believes that the Moroccan government has the legal right to issue exploration licences but, in the event of any production, the people of Western Sahara must benefit.
Western Sahara Resource Watch is deeply concerned over Kosmos' plans.
"Kosmos Energy's support to Morocco in developing a future oil production in the occupied territory constitutes a serious blow to the UN peace efforts, directly disturbing the difficult peace talks. Kosmos' management should consider how their company contributes to the continued sufferings of the Saharawi people, and immediately halt its plans", stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
The UN legal opinion says that any such activity should happen in accordance to the wishes and the interests of the people of Western Sahara, the Saharawi. Nor Kosmos, nor its partners Cairn Energy and the Moroccan state-owned ONHYM, have ever consulted the Saharawi people.
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.