Kosmos and Atwood: obstacles to peace in Western Sahara

The US company Kosmos Energy is going to drill in Western Sahara for the first time since the Moroccan occupation. In six months time, it might be too late to stop the company.
Published: 10.03 - 2014 18:20Printer version    
Photo above: Saharawis on the Canary Islands protesting against Kosmos Energy's oil programme, here in front of a vessel the company used.

If Morocco finds oil in Western Sahara, the chances are small that the UN will have any success in negotiating peace between Moroccan government and the people of the territory. It will constitute a serious blow to the UN peace efforts.

In April 2014 – in one month from now – Kosmos Energy will do its last surveys offshore Boujdour. In October 2014, Kosmos Energy will start drilling for oil. It will be the first drilling operation in Western Sahara since the Moroccan invasion.

“The process of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara can be sealed within the next six months. Morocco will never accept any solution whatsoever if they find the oil they look for. Defenders of principles of international law, defenders of the rights of the Saharawi people and engaged stakeholders of Kosmos and Atwood must immediately speak out to protest during the next months”, stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch, underlining that no oil industry should take place in Western Sahara as long as the conflict has not been solved.

The drilling will be carried out by a rig vessel that Kosmos has chartered. The rig is right now being built in South Korea. The rig is called Atwood Achiever, owned by the US company Atwood Oceanics. It is not known which company Kosmos has partnered with to do the final studies from April onwards.

Kosmos has lately claimed that the people of Western Sahara want this drilling to take place and that they even agree to it. However, no Saharawis that WSRW has been in contact with have ever been consulted on the matter.

Saharawis are welcome to contact Kosmos at this address in Dallas:

Atwood Oceanics can be contacted on the address in Houston:



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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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


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.
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