Indie risks Boujdour backlash

KERR-McGee this week kicked off a massive 5000-kilometre 2D seismic sweep of its controversial Boujdour permit off Western Sahara, a territory claimed by Morocco, writes Barry Morgan. Upstream, 6 May 2004

Published 06 May 04

Upstream Online, 
06.05.2004

KERR-McGee this week kicked off a massive 5000-kilometre 2D seismic sweep of its controversial Boujdour permit off Western Sahara, a territory claimed by Morocco, writes Barry Morgan

The move is bound to prompt an outcry from activists who blasted the US explorer for signing up acreage with Rabat just when the United Nations was engaged in trying to organise a long-delayed referendum on the territory's sovereignty.

French oil giant Total was involved in an initial round of seismic work off Western Sahara but said last July that it was not going to participate "in any second phase" a stance that is unaltered.

Morocco's National Office of Hydrocarbons & Mines (ONYHM) managing director Amina Benkhadra said that the seismic was being prepared for Western Sahara "and we hope to drill soon since the time for exploration has come".

TGS-Nopec's stock suffered when activists campaigned against the seismic company for taking on the survey two years ago.

This time the work is being carried out by the Dutch-based Fugro Group, which has agreed to shoot infill to tighten the grid already mapped out.

The UN Legal Office last year maintained that, pending a resolution of the dispute, it was legitimate for Rabat to contract companies to undertake reconnaissance but not drilling.

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