Following Cairn Energy's departure from Western Sahara, it has toned down the pro-Moroccan statements that it used to reproduce.
6 April 2018, Cairn Energy published its corporate responsibility report for 2017
, in which it presented the progress on its ownership of the oil exploration in Western Sahara.
The report states the following:
"During 2017, our assets included a 20% non-operated interest in Boujdour Maritime block in offshore Western Sahara. Western Sahara has been classified as a ‘NonSelf-Governing Territory’ by the United Nations since 1961. Both Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic claim Western Sahara as their sovereign territory. Following withdrawal of the operating partner, Cairn decided not to continue to pursue this opportunity and subsequently also relinquished this block at the year end. We continued to fulfil our commitment by completing the 3D seismic programme initiated in 2017."
This is a softening of the highly pro-Moroccan statements it had presented while the company still had ownership in a licence offshore the occupied territory, given by the Moroccan government. Throughout its presence in the occupied territory, Cairn consistently presented a political position to the conflict that are not in line with the UN position
Grave errors from Cairn's previous responsibility reports are deleted from the 2017 version, for instance that the UN has claimed that Morocco is the administering power of Western Sahara. All Cairn Energy's references to the position of the UN Legal Counsel were erroneous in the responsibility report for 2016
. See the UN opinion here
The UN Legal Counsel in 2002 stated that any further oil exploration in Western Sahara must be in line with the wishes and interests of the people of Western Sahara. Yet, Cairn Energy and their partner Kosmos Energy, made no effort to seek the consent of the people of the territory.
Kosmos and Cairn announced their departure from the oil exploration offshore Western Sahara in February 2018
. Several international investors had blacklisted the two firms from their portfolios, for operating in breach of fundamental ethical norms.
The territory has been under illegal Moroccan occupation since 1975.