The Texas based company Kosmos Energy is today the only oil company working for Morocco offshore occupied Western Sahara. The exploration agreement is in violation of international law.
was first engaged in Western Sahara on 29th of October 2004
, when they purchased 30% of the rights in the so-called Boujdour block, where US oil company Kerr-McGee was operator. After Kerr-McGee left the area, Kosmos on 3rd of May 2006
signed an extensive agreement with the Moroccan state oil company ONHYM. The same month, they opened an office in Morocco, without having any other engagement in the region than the Boujour agreement. The first agreement was valid for a period of 18 months, but have since been renewed on a number of occasions
Today, they hold a 75% interest
in the Boujdour block, while ONHYM holds the remainder 25%.
May 2011, the Kosmos Energy Ltd. was registered at the New York Stock Exchange, and shares were traded from 11 May 2011
. Until then, the firm has been privately owned. This made it impossible to get any information from the company. "We do not need to talk with you", the Kosmos management has told to representatives of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
Morocco plans to speed up the oil hunt in Western Sahara. In its 2005-2009 strategy
ONHYM states that Western Sahara "still remains under-explored, and shall be the object of an intensive exploration programme, with the objective of prove the petroleum potential in the territory".
Kosmos plays a central part of this strategy. On a map from ONHYM,
Kosmos' blocks are clearly marked offshore Boujdour.
According to a presentation in South Africa, that the company held in 2005,
Kosmos planned to drill in Western Sahara before the end of 2007. In a presentation May 2007, the plans were postponed till 2009
. As of December 2010, no drilling have yet taken place.
28th of March 2008
ONHYM announced that Kosmos' initial petroleum agreement had been prolonged for a year.According to the UN,
drilling in Western Sahara such as Kosmos is planning, would be in violation of international law.
See also a Kosmos presentation from 2006.
Kosmos has made a big oil find offshore Ghana. In 2010, WSRW asked the financial supporters of Kosmos
to make sure that the firm establishes and follows a credible CSR policy.
Notice also: More than two years after Kerr-McGee withdraw from Western Sahara, and Kosmos signed their deal with ONHYM all alone, it still appears that they operate the Boujdour block together with other companies. This is how the Kosmos Energy homesite (www.kosmosnergy.com/assets.html) appeared on 9th of August 2008.
The fact that Kosmos and Kerr-McGee's new owners, Anadarko, cooperates closely, and have a "joint development team" is confirmed by this presentation
. Anadarko has denied
that this cooperation extends to Western Sahara. The
reference to Kerr-McGee on Kosmos' homesite disappeared September 2008, after the company launched new homepages.
Kerr-McGee was internationally known for their deal with ONHYM in the occupied Western Sahara. A number of owners of Kerr-McGee divested from the company over ethical reasons.
One of the investors to divest from Kerr-McGee, was the Norwegian Government's Pension Fund (also called The Petroleum Fund) that for the first time in history sold all its stocks in a company, due to business ethics. This decision was made after a formal complaint from one of the WSRW's members."A particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms e.g. because it may strengthen Morocco's sovereignty claims and thus contribute to undermining the UN peace process".
Norwegian Ministry of Finance, 6 June 2005, regarding Kerr-McGee's oil exploration Western Sahara.
Read the thorough opinion of the Pension Fund's board of ethics here
and press release of from the Norwegian Ministry of Finance here
When total divestiture were around nearly 70 million dollars, Kerr-McGee finally withdrew from Western Sahara. After Kerr-McGee announced their withdrawal, they were reincluded in the portfolios they had already been excluded from.
Also some of the companies that have taken part in the seismic surveys in Western Sahara (such as TGS-Nopec, Fugro, Thor Offshore) have pulled out after WSRW contact with their shareholders and media. Kosmos uses the seismic data sets elaborated by these three firms.More information on Kosmos Energy and their operations in Western Sahara can be achieved by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.