French oil multinational Total, with the biggest licence offshore occupied Western Sahara, says it will only disclose in mid-January whether it has renewed or not its licence in the territory.
Above: Total finished a 12 months seismic survey programme offshore occupied Western Sahara in July 2013. Image shows their contracted seismic survey vessels.
On 2 December 2013, Total's 12 month licence offshore Western Sahara expired. The press department of Total stated to a Swedish organisation today that it does not yet wish to clarify whether it has renewed its licence.
The agreement is highly controversial: Morocco illegally occupies the territory, and refuses to cooperate with the UN for a referendum on independence for the people of Western Sahara. The International Court of Justice has stated that Morocco's claims are unfounded, while the UN legal department has stated that Total's oil programme will be in violation of international law if the people of the territory do not consent and benefit.
As the 2013 WSRW report Totally Wrong
documents, basically all Saharawi groups have denounced Total's plans in the territory.
According to one of the shareholders that have divested from Total
over ethical reasons in Western Sahara, Total's licence had an option of 6 months prolongation associated to it.
Total's press department told the Swedish organisation Emmaus Stockholm today that information about a renewal of the licence will only be released mid-January, as "we are following up some procedures and are still discussing with Morocco".