New Norwegian seismic study offshore occupied Western Sahara
harriet_explorer_30.11.2014.jpg

The vessel "Harrier Explorer" is currently shooting 2D images of the seabed in the El Aaiun-Tarfaya basis offshore occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 08.12 - 2014 15:25Printer version    
The owner of the MV Harrier Explorer, the Norwegian company SeaBird Exploration Plc, has been contracted for the operation in November, and has received approximately US $ 2 million to survey a minimum of 2,000 kilometers in the area. The operation will take an estimated 20 days to complete and has kicked off about 10 days ago.

The story made headlines in one of Norway's biggest newspapers, Dagbladet, today. Former Legal Counsel of the UN, Mr. Hans Corell, is highly critical to the operation. He stated to Dagbladet that seismic studies in Western Sahara would be in violation of international law, as described in the Legal Opinion he wrote for the UN Security Council in 2002. He stated to the newspaper that the "UN Security Council should act more resolutely on the issue".

"SeaBird's actions are completely contrary to international law", says WSRW's Chairman Erik Hagen in the paper, "the company is playing a crucial role in facilitating illegal oil production in the areas of Western Sahara that Morocco so brutally occupies".

Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and continues to occupy three quarters of the territory to this very day. The United Nations consider Western Sahara to be a colony, and have labelled economic activities in the territory to be illegal if they do not respect the wishes and the interests of the people of Western Sahara, the Saharawis.

SeaBird's CEO Dag Reynolds, has not yet commented to Dagbladet.  

The Norwegian government urges Norwegian companies to stay clear from Western Sahara, as Norway does not recognise Morocco's annexation of parts of the territory, as described for instance by Norway's deputy minister for foreign affairs earlier this year.

The above map shows the position of the Harrier Explorer in the early hours of 30 November 2014.

According to IHS, the areas that are being surveyed are the so-called Foum Ognit I-IV Blocks, held by New Age 56.25%, Glencore18.75% and Moroccan state oil agency ONHYM 25%. The map below details the location of the Blocks under revision (blue area). However, the actual location of the vessel indicates that it is currently a few miles to the north of the Glencore block. WSRW estimates that it is likely that the vessel does indeed work for Glencore on the Foum Ognit.

In October this year, WSRW revealed that Glencore had an 18,75% interest in the Foum Ognit blocks.

Norway-based SeaBird is a global provider of marine acquisition for 2D/3D and 4D seismic data, and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry. SeaBird is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

This is the fourth Norwegian seismic involvement in Western Sahara. All the 3 previous companies involved have abandoned such projects due to the controversies involved:

  • "TGS-NOPEC appreciates the complexity of the political issues in the area and respects the views stated by Norwegian authorities. As a result, the Company has decided not to undertake any new projects in Western Sahara without a change in political developments. Further, the Company is committed to improve its procedures for risk evaluation on potential projects in disputed areas of the world and will actively seek advice from Norwegian authorities when in doubt. TGS-NOPEC has maintained a constructive dialogue with a number of its large Norwegian institutional shareholders including Folketrygdfondet and Storebrand throughout this process.", TGS Nopec press release, 18.03.2003.
  • "Fugro-Geoteam has decided to abstain from any further involvement in Western sahara until the political situation has been resolved". Fugro-Geoteam, letter 23.04.2014, as no consultation with the people of the territory had taken place, according to the company.
  • "We do not want to take assignments in Western Sahara. I have no problem to see, now in retrospect, that it might have been a bad idea to take on this assignment". Spectrum ASA, 2011.

    Lastly, PGS, a seismic study company which SeaBird founders originate from, has stated that it has avoided participating in tenders in Western Sahara due the conflict.

    foum_ognit_blocks_el_aaiun_tarfaya.jpg


  •     

    Top
    News:

    28.07 - 2020 / 22.07 - 2020Will Deutsche Post's AGM provide clarity on Western Sahara operations?
    27.07 - 2020 / 01.07 - 2020New Indian construction company in occupied Western Sahara
    27.07 - 2020 / 20.07 - 2020Continental still unclear about future supplies to Western Sahara
    22.07 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Conflict Bitcoin miner keeps silent on Dakhla wind farm plans
    16.07 - 2020 / 29.06 - 2020Namibia slams Spain for failing to respect Saharawi rights
    03.07 - 2020 / 02.07 - 2020Swiss supermarkets ban produce from occupied Western Sahara
    03.07 - 2020 / 11.06 - 2020HeidelbergCement cites local benefits, ignores consent
    02.07 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Fishmeal: German government data confirms import controversy
    26.06 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Turkey: biggest funder of occupation of Western Sahara
    25.06 - 2020 / 05.05 - 2020These are the vessels that provide fuel for the occupation
    23.06 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Protesters set up roadblock to stop conflict minerals in New Zealand
    13.06 - 2020 / 13.06 - 2020WSRW urges shareholders to challenge Continental
    06.06 - 2020 / 06.06 - 2020Norwegian gas transport avoids Western Sahara at last minute
    28.05 - 2020 / 28.05 - 2020World Bank removed erroneous maps
    27.05 - 2020 / 27.04 - 2020Russia-Morocco controversial fisheries deal on the horizon
    26.05 - 2020 / 26.05 - 2020Austrian chemical giant says no to Western Sahara trade
    13.05 - 2020 / 11.05 - 2020Germany thumbs down OCP credit in Western Sahara  
    11.05 - 2020 / 09.05 - 2020HeidelbergCement expands in occupied Western Sahara
    10.05 - 2020 / 08.05 - 2020Equinor will no longer export gas to occupied Western Sahara
    09.05 - 2020 / 08.05 - 2020Kiwi importers ignore government advice on Western Sahara




    EN ES FR DE AR

    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

    tn_law_hammer.jpg

    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.
    Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

    tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

    Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.

    WSRW.org News Archive 2020
    WSRW.org News Archive 2019
    WSRW.org News Archive 2018
    WSRW.org News Archive 2017
    WSRW.org News Archive 2016
    WSRW.org News Archive 2015
    WSRW.org News Archive 2014
    WSRW.org News Archive 2013
    WSRW.org News Archive 2012
    WSRW.org News Archive 2011
    WSRW.org News Archive 2010
    WSRW.org News Archive 2009
    WSRW.org News Archive 2008
    WSRW.org News Archive 2007
    WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


    Register for our English newsletter:









    These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy