NGO concerned that Kosmos Energy's planned exploration in Western Sahara goes against UN legal opinion, does not have local population's consent

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Article
21 February 2014

US oil firm Kosmos Energy plans to start exploration drilling in occupied Western Sahara in October or November this year, writes Upstream Online today

Author: Western Sahara Resource Watch

[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.

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Article
1 February 2014

Kosmos Energy: On Hydrocarbon Exploration Offshore Western Sahara

Author: Kosmos Energy

Kosmos Energy holds a petroleum agreement over an area offshore Western Sahara...On December 19, 2013, ONHYM and Kosmos Energy signed a Joint Declaration of Principles. This sets out our joint commitments regarding our exploration activities...in accordance with international standards, including those in the United Nations Charter, and those referred to in the 2002 United Nations Legal Opinion on resource development in Western Sahara...[W]e are committed to putting as much emphasis on the management of our societal impacts as we do on the management of our operational, technical and financial risks...The Joint Declaration of Principles...states that local populations will benefit efficiently, effectively and transparently from production of hydrocarbons, if commercially viable reserves were to be discovered...We are keenly interested in the human rights situation in Western Sahara and will continue to carefully evaluate the potential impact of our activities on it, consistent with our own corporate human rights commitments...We will strive to ensure that our operations in the region are conducted in accordance with key international standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights...

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Company response
1 February 2014

Response by Kosmos Energy: Allegations that US energy company will begin illegal drilling operations in Western Sahara

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Article
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Author: Kosmos Energy

Le 19 décembre 2013, l’ONHYM et Kosmos Energy ont signé une Déclaration commune de principes...conformité aux normes internationales, notamment celles contenues dans la Charte des Nations Unies, et celles mentionnées dans l’Avis juridique des Nations Unies de 2002 sur le développement des ressources au Sahara occidental...Nous sommes convaincus que si l’exploration est couronnée de succès, l’exploitation responsable du Sahara occidental peut créer des avantages sociaux et économiques importants à long terme pour la population du territoire...La Déclaration commune de principes, signée entre Kosmos et l’ONHYM, indique que la population locale bénéficiera de la production d’hydrocarbures de façon efficiente, efficace et transparente si des gisements rentables sont découverts...Nous portons un grand intérêt à la situation des droits de l’homme au Sahara occidental et nous continuerons à évaluer soigneusement l’impact potentiel de nos activités dans ce domaine conformément à nos propres engagements d’entreprise en matière de droits de l’homme...Nous nous efforcerons de faire en sorte que nos activités dans la région soient menées en conformité avec les principales normes internationales, notamment les Principes directeurs des Nations Unies relatifs aux entreprises et aux droits de l’homme, et les Principes volontaires sur la sécurité et les droits de l’homme.

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Article
19 December 2013

[PDF] Declaration Conjointe de Principes de l'Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) et Kosmos Energy

Author: Kosmos Energy et l'Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (Maroc)

L'Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) et Kosmos Energy déclarent, par la présente, que leur volonté commune de concourir à l'exploration et l'exploitation de ressources naturelles d'hydrocarbures...L'exploration et l'exploitation des ressources naturelles d'hydrocarbures se feront conformement aux principes enonces dans la Constitution du Royaume du Maroc et aux normes internationales, notamment celles découlant de la Charte des Nations Unies...L'exploration et l'exploitation des ressources naturelles d'hydrocarbures contribueront d'une manière transparente au développement des regions concemees...Kosmos Energy s'engage a veiller a la protection de l'environnement et au respect des exigences du developpement durable...

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Article
19 December 2013

[PDF] Joint Declaration of Principles of l'Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) and Kosmos Energy

Author: Kosmos Energy &

L’Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) and Kosmos Energy hereby declare their common determination to contribute to the exploration and production of hydrocarbon natural resources in the zones of interest or activity onshore and offshore, including the Sahara region... The exploration and production of hydrocarbon natural resources will be in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Kingdom of Morocco Constitution and international standards, including those from the United Nations Charter stipulated in letter S/2002/161 dated January 29, 2002, addressed to the President of the UN Security Council, signed by the Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, and guidelines recommended by the "New model of development " of the Conseil Economique, Social et Environnemental (CESE), from November 2013, namely that local populations and their representatives are involved and consulted and that they will benefit equitably and effectively therefrom. The exploration and production of hydrocarbon natural resources will contribute in a transparent manner to the development of the regions concerned. Kosmos Energy is committed to ensuring the protection of the environment and compliance with the sustainable development requirements.

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