The planned drilling of a well on the Zag block in - most probably - occupied Western Sahara has now been set to first half of 2014.
The two UK companies San Leon Energy and Longreach Oil and Gas are planning to drill an exploration well on the Zag block during first half of 2014. This is mentioned in a company presentation published 10 January 2013.
The well will most probably be drilled in occupied Western Sahara, where the two companies have carried out most of their studies on the block. The Zag block extends to the north-eastern zone of Western Sahara, and could potentially contain gas, according to the companies with the licence.
Western Sahara Resource Watch has sent numerous letters to the companies, asking why they would undertake such explorations in the occupied Western Sahara, considering the UN stating further oil exploration there is in violation of international law. The industry is seen to directly contribute to undermining the UN peace process. WSRW awaits replies to all the letters.
The programme on Zag has been postponed a few times over the last years. A similar Longreach company presentation from May 2011 showed they intended to do a 1 million USD worth seismic in Q3 and Q4 of 2011, and a 2.7 million USD drill exploration well on the Zag block on third and fourth quarter of 2012.
For the Tarfaya block, according to the same document, an exploration well has been now planned for first quarter of 2014. Taking into consideration where the companies have done most research so far, this well would most probably be done in Morocco proper, just north of the border to Western Sahara. It could be that well has already been done in that section. In a company report from 29 June 2011, the company stated that “Drilling of two wells at our Moroccan Tarfaya Oil Shale pilot project began in Q2 2011 and a third well is currently being planned”.
See also company presentation by Longreach, November 2012, stating that first drilling and 3D seismic is planned for first half of 2014 (without specifying where) and company profile by VSA Capital, dated 19 March 2012, working as adviser to Longreach.
"I have no problem in stating, in retrospect, that it might have been a bad idea to take this assignment”, CEO of seismic services firm Spectrum ASA told media today. Now, Irish oil minor San Leon has to find another subcontractor to process the geological data they collect from the occupied territory in violation of international law.
UK-Irish oil minors will start seismic surveys in occupied Western Sahara in June 2011.
The Irish/British companies illegally exploring for oil in occupied Western Sahara had planned seismic studies for Fourth Quarter this year. They have still not started, but the plans to carry out the programme remains.