Irish firms
Published: 16.09 - 2007 19:29Printer version    
San Leon Energy

Today, the Irish company San Leon is leading the way in the onshore exploration of oil and gas in occupied Western Sahara.  

On 13 December 2006, ONHYM (the Moroccan Government-owned entity) gave a licence to the Irish oil company Island Oil and Gas, for an area in the north-eastern parts of Western Sahara. The licence was actually given to a group consisting of the two Irish firms Island Oil and Gas and San Leon Energy Ltd - and the UK firm LongReach Oil & Gas Ventures (previously GB Oil & Gas Ventures). Island was, however, the engine behind the deal.

WSRW sent Island Oil a letter urging them to immediately terminate the agreement and asking for a meeting in Dublin. WSRW never received a reply to that letter. Island’s oil reconnaissance contract expired on the 24th of December 2008. WSRW sent them a letter the same day demanding the non-renewal of their engagement.

In October 2010, San Leon Energy acquired Island Oil and Gas. Together they will hold “70 percent gross interest, before the participation of ONYHM, in the onshore Zag and Tarfaya interests in Morocco,“ according to San Leon’s press release. Both these two blocks are mainly not in Morocco, however, but in Western Sahara. None of the letters sent to San Leon have so far been answered.

San Leon works against the policy of the Irish government.

“The Government has consistently made clear its view that any exploration and exploitation activities that proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to natural resource activities in non-self governing territories. The Government would expect that any Irish company operating abroad would have due regard to the principles of international law and the rights of the inhabitants of the territory”, stated Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brain Cowen on 25 January 2011, in response to questions regarding illegal business practice by Irish companies in Western Sahara.

Further reading:
San Leon: Irish alliance with the oppressors
Demonstration against San Leon in Ireland

More information about San Leon Energy can be achieved by sending a mail to




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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 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