US oil firm Kosmos Energy plans to start exploration drilling in occupied Western Sahara in October or November this year, writes Upstream Online today
[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invites Kosmos Energy to respond. Kosmos referred us to their position statement - provided]. Kosmos regional director Ragnar Fredsted said the company will look to sink Gargaa-1 — the first probe off the non-self-governed territory of Western Sahara — in October or November...The United Nations have clearly stated that any further exploration or exploitation of oil in Western Sahara is in violation of international law. However, completely misreading the UN legal opinion on the matter, Fredsted claims that there is no problem, as he believes that the Moroccan government has the legal right to issue exploration licences but, in the event of any production, the people of Western Sahara must benefit. Western Sahara Resource Watch is deeply concerned over Kosmos' plans. "Kosmos Energy's support to Morocco in developing a future oil production in the occupied territory constitutes a serious blow to the UN peace efforts, directly disturbing the difficult peace talks. Kosmos' management should consider how their company contributes to the continued sufferings of the Saharawi people, and immediately halt its plans", stated Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch. The UN legal opinion says that any such activity should happen in accordance to the wishes and the interests of the people of Western Sahara, the Saharawi. Nor Kosmos, nor its partners Cairn Energy and the Moroccan state-owned ONHYM, have ever consulted the Saharawi people.