Kosmos continues despite non-commercial find in Western Sahara
Kosmos Energy today announced that it had “encountered hydrocarbons” offshore occupied Western Sahara, though not in commercial quantities. Nevertheless, the find appears to be sufficient to proceed with a second drilling later on. WSRW condemns the drilling.
Kosmos CEO Andrew Inglis states in a release 2 March that “this first well in the basin has significantly de-risked further exploration by demonstrating a working petroleum system, including the presence of a hydrocarbon charge, as well as effective trap and seal. The well results confirm the substantial exploration potential of our 22,000 square kilometer Cap Boujdour block, which includes a diverse range of independent plays and fairways with multiple prospects. Going forward, the key exploration challenge is finding reservoirs of commercial size and quality. We will analyze the information gathered from CB-1 and integrate it with the additional 3D seismic data we recently acquired to refine our exploration plan, including deciding on the location and timing of a potential second well.”
In the meantime, the CB-1 exploration well located in the Cap Boujdour permit area offshore Western Sahara, will be plugged and abandoned.
Over the past weeks, the people of Western Sahara have intensified their protest against Kosmos Energy's presence in their occupied land. Large parts of Western Sahara, including the coastline, have been illegally occupied by Morocco since the latter invaded the territory in 1975, in blatant disrespect of the International Court of Justice's refute of Morocco's sovereignty claims to the territory. No country in the world recognizes Morocco's claim over Western Sahara, and the UN continues to treat Western Sahara as a case of unfinished decolonization.
WSRW condemns Kosmos Energy's drilling operation.
"Western Sahara Resource Watch notes the lack of commercially viable finding, and urges Kosmos to immediately abandon all further oil exploration in Western Sahara until the conflict has been solved", stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
"The company has not lifted a finger to seek the consent of the people of Western Sahara. As long as Saharawis are against Kosmos Energy's drilling, the company has no right to drill in the territory. Any drilling in Western Sahara undermines the UN peace efforts", Hagen stated.
The Saharawi people state that Kosmos Energy's partnership with the Moroccan government in their occupied land only serves to entrench Morocco's occupation and its intransigent attitude in the UN-led peace talks. They feel that their internationally recognized right to self-determination is being side-tracked by oil firms signing deals with the Moroccan government, ignoring their right to determine the future status of the land and its resources. A UN legal opinion of 2002 confirmed that any oil exploration or exploitation cannot proceed unless in accordance to the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people. None of the oil companies that are currently exploring in occupied Western Sahara, nor the Moroccan government, have ever sought the Saharawi people’s consent.
The author of the UN Legal Opinion, Ambassador Hans Corell, just last week published an Op-Ed in the International Judicial Monitor, in which he repeated that the Western Saharan oil exploration is illegal. “I can see from the web that the two companies maintain that this contract is in conformity with my 2002 legal opinion. Regrettably, it is not. Already signing an agreement in which Morocco refers to Western Sahara as “the southern provinces of the Kingdom of Morocco” is at variance with Corporate Social Responsibility and the principles Protect, Respect and Remedy"; Corell noted.
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.