Havoc inks oil deal with Saharawi government for Kosmos drill site
Australian investment fund Havoc Partners has signed a 50% operating stake in four oil blocks in occupied Western Sahara with the territory's government in exile. One of those blocks contains the Gargaa site, where American oil firm Kosmos Energy will soon start to drill in collaboration with the Moroccan government.
The deal puts Kosmos Energy and Havoc Partners head to head. Both now hold an exploration licence for the site of the Gargaa well, that is contained in the Haouza Block. Kosmos holds the agreement with the occupying power Morocco, Havoc with the exile government. Komsos is keen to commence its drilling operations in Gargaa before the end of this year.
The founding partners of Havoc have been involved in Western Sahara for over 15 years. They were behind Fusion Oil & Gas when it signed a technical cooperation pact with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Shortly after leaving Fusion in 2003, they founded Ophir Energy plc. in 2004 but then left the firm in 2012. During this entire period the Havoc partners have developed a strong relationship with the SADR Government. The SADR, or Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, is a member state of the African Union.
Large parts of Western Sahara have been occupied by Morocco since 1975. Morocco's self-proclaimed sovereignty over Western Sahara has been refuted by the International Court of Justice, and no State in the world recognises Morocco's unfounded claim. The United Nations treat Western Sahara as a case of unfinished decolonisation.
A 2002 UN Legal Opinion concluded that any oil exploration or development in the territory is contrary to international law if not in accordance with the wishes and the interests of the people of Western Sahara - the Saharawis. The Opinion was formulated at the request of the UN Security Council on the back of Morocco's licensing of oil exploration contracts in Western Sahara in 2001.
In spite of the crystal clear UN Opinion, Morocco has proceeded to sign oil deals with a multitude of firms from around the globe. WSRW is at present aware of seven oil reconaissance contracts that have been awarded by the Moroccan government for oil programs in the territory under its occupation.
The Saharawi government and people have repeatedly voiced their opposition to Morocco's oil plans in their occupied homeland. Faced with the UN's failure to act in the face of Morocco's actions, the Saharawi government kicked off its own oil program.
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.
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.
Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.