Conflict platform still not in Western Sahara

The oil platform Atwood Achiever has still not left Senegalese waters on its way to occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 21.11 - 2014 15:03Printer version    
On 12 November, WSRW wrote that the oil platform Atwood Achiever was only a few days away from arriving in Western Sahara. The vessel had then anchored off the Senegalese city of Saint Louis, with presumably the single purpose of resupplying, as could be deduced by the presence of two supply vessels.

Nearly 10 days later, the Atwood Achiever has still not left Saint Louis and a third supply vessel has joined the ranks; the C Empress (IMO number 9203825). C Empress came from Agadir, where it has spent the last week. As is the case with two other supply vessels, the C Empress is owned by US company Edison Chouest Offshore LLC.

The Atwood Achiever's long stay-over in Senegal could indicate that the vessel is being outfitted for drilling. The oil rig is expected to commence test well drilling before the end of this year off the coast of Boujdour, in the part of Western Sahara that is illegally occupied by Morocco. Here, the rig will engage in ultra deepwater drilling at a depth of 2,135 meters - making it one of the deepest drillings in the world.

Kosmos Energy has chartered the drillship Atwood Achiever from Atwood Oceanics Inc for an initial period of three years at a day rate of approximately $0.6 million, with an option to extend for an additional three-year term, accordingly to Kosmos' quarterly report to the US authorities. In 2015, the rig would undertake an estimated 90 days of test well drilling, and an additional 70 days in 2016, according to Atwood Oceanics' quarterly report to the US Securities & Exchange Commission.

In 2002, the UN Security Council commissioned a Legal Opinion on oil exploration and development in occupied Western Sahara. That Opinion concluded that any such activity is illegal if not in accordance with the wishes and interests of the Saharawi people, as the sole and original people of Western Sahara. Kosmos never consulted with the Saharawis, nor has it acted upon their numerous protests against the company's plans. Instead, Kosmos chose to partner with the occupier, Morocco, thereby further obstructing an already difficult UN peace process.




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.
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