Kosmos Energy disagrees with UN legal office
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The US oil company Kosmos Energy in a statement this week that it has the right to drill in Western Sahara - opposing the opinion of the UN legal office.
Published 28 June 2014

In 2002, as the Boujdour licence offshore Western Sahara was issued to an oil company, the UN legal office stated that any further exploration would be in violation of international law if it is to the contrary of the wishes of the people of the territory.

In 2006, that licence was tranferred to Kosmos Energy, which is now planning to drill later this year. Kosmos Energy is currently undertaking seismic studies offshore Western Sahara - the last seismic round before the driling in the occupied territory will begin.

In a rare statement to the media, Kosmos opposes the UN legal opinion:

"Even though it’s a complicated situation, we think there is a right course here and that we are on it…. Morocco has the right to issue these [drilling] licenses", Kosmos Energy’s senior vice president William Hayes stated.

“We are not a bunch of guys in Dallas going rogue into the Western Sahara and hoping that everything works out, [...] We feel good about the knowledge base we’ve got, we understand the other side of the position, and we honest to God feel like we are doing the right thing in partnering with Morocco”, he said.

The statement was given to Foreign Policy.

Numerous demonstrations have been taking place against Kosmos over the last months. Some have been injured by Moroccan police upon trying to protest against the company. Exile government has on numerous occasions protested the exploitation plans, both to the UN and to the company itself.

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