Upstream Online: RMBloan for Sahara is queried
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Pressure group Western Sahara Resource Watch has picked another target in its campaign to stop companies participating in oil exploration on Moroccan licences in and off Western Sahara, writes Barry Morgan. Upstream Online, 4 April 2008
Published 05 April 2008

Upstream Online
4 April 2008
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Last week, international co-ordinator Javier Garcia Lachica urged Rand Merchant Bank chief executive Michael Pfaff to clarify whether RMB Resources a UK subsidiary of the First Rand Group has given loans to Dublin-registered Island Oil&Gas, to help it pursue a recconnaisance contract with Moroccan state oil company ONHYM onshore the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

SADR, through its military arm Polisario, has maintained a ceasefire for several years under United Nations' auspices, amid diplomatic efforts to organise a referendum on the sovereignty.

Lachica said RMB's readiness to finance exploration "undermines the principles of international law."

In an open letter to Pfaff, Lachica asked RMB to "make sure that capital from RMB will not be used for any petroleum exploration purposes in occupied Western Sahara [and will] not provide loans or any other support to Island Oil&Gas or their partners for these specific purposes".

RMB declined comment but was said to have told the SADR its cash wuld not be used in Western Sahara.

Island, together with Rabat-registered San Leon and Jersey-registered GB Oil&Gas Ventures, renewed its reconnaissance licence for the Zag Basin in December for another 12 months.

San Leon is operator with 50%, alongside GB Oil&Gas on 30% and Island with 20%.

Lachica argued that, since Pretoria recognised the SADR government-in- exile, it would not want its banks to finance deals that undermined the territory's quest for sovereignty.

Island said it had reached a deal with RMB to extend its existing $24 million loan facility for another 60 days from the end of March, and that RMB would consider a further extension after that.

AEI: RMB in Gun Sights

The Norwegian NGO Western Sahara Resources Watch (WSRW) has written to the chief executive of the Rand Merchant Bank to ask that RMB refuse to bankroll the Irish company Island Oil & Gas which recently acquired a block in Western Sahara from Morocco's Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM). Africa Energy Intelligence, N° 46102/04/2008

05 April 2008

South African bank no longer funding WS oil explorer

The South African bank RMB has written to WSRW that they do no longer finance the operations of Island Oil and Gas. The Irish oil company Island has an agreement for oil exploration in occupied Western Sahara in violation of international law.
09 July 2008

WSRW demands South African bank to prevent oil hunt in Western Sahara

A South African Bank called RMB is the main financial backer of the Irish oil company Island Oil & Gas. Island is exploring for oil in the occupied Western Sahara in violation of international law. Today, Western Sahara Resource Watch sent a letter to RMB asking them to stop the flow of money to the Irishmen. Read the letter here.
27 March 2008

Norwegian pension fund blacklists San Leon over Western Sahara

Today, the Norwegian government pension fund excluded San Leon Energy Plc from its investment portfolios.

04 March 2016