San Leon admits working for the interest of Morocco
San Leon Energy "has the long-term interest of Morocco in mind", company chairman Oisin Fanning stated to Irish media today. The company plans drilling in the territory under illegal Moroccan occupation.
Published 23 July 2015

Irish Independent today confronted the chairman of San Leon Energy with the operation they are undertaking in Western Sahara.

No states in the world, nor the UN, recognises the territory as part of Morocco. Yet, San Leon is of a different opinion.

"The company has the long-term interest of Morocco in mind, and we are fortunate to be working in a country known for toleration and moderation", Oisin Fanning stated.

All associations in Western Sahara have to this date protested the Moroccan oil drilling and their partners in Western Sahara.

"San Leon refutes any implication that the company is somehow acting as a rogue actor. We believe the stridency of our critics comes from their knowledge that their position is not shared by the local community", the chairman stated.

A company representative has also stated to Irish media in the past that it does not intend to listen to the people of Western Sahara, that they do not have a contact with them as they are 'not a representative people' and that the Saharawis 'would not speak to us'.

"We are not the first western company to operate in the Southern Provinces (of Morocco) under the United Nations process. San Leon is proud to act in unison with other major oil and gas companies in the region [...] "We wish to state strongly that we take our obligations under international law, and principles of ethical commercial conduct, seriously", Fanning stated.

Several investors have in the past excluded oil companies from having exploration agreements in Western Sahara, such as the Norwegian Government Pension Fund which stated in 2005 that such activities constitute "'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.

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