MAN Diesel & Turbo to aid Morocco in electrification of occupied land
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German powerhouse MAN Diesel & Turbo has been contracted by the Moroccan government to extend the diesel generators in El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara.

Published 25 June 2015

The existing diesel plant will be extended with four additional diesel generators that have a combined power of 72 MW. The project is expected to be finished by August 2016. The generators will run on heavy fuel N°2 as base fuel, and diesel oil as backup fuel. 

Morocco's national office for electricity (ONEE) announces on its website that MAN Diesel has been awarded the design, supply, engineering, transport, assembly, testing and commissioning of the plant in El Aaiun. MAN Diesel is a subsidiary of the German multinational MAN SE corporation, based in Augsburg.

"MAN Diesel & Turbo can do without the association to Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara. Such a partnership is highly unfortunate in view of conflict resolution. We call upon MAN to immediately reconsider its engagement and abstain from installing the equipment in the occupied territory", WSRW wrote in a letter to the company today.

The envisioned type of electricity generating power station is known to produce greenhouse gases that severely pollute the environment and is a human health risk. Because of the sulphur and nitrogen compounds in them, and their greater particulate matter, heavy fuel oils are not used in Europe in generating stations. It is also the reason why the world community is requiring ships to use cleaner fuels in the coming years. Heavy fuels pose a demonstrated human health risk to local populations. 

Two previous attempts of the Moroccan government to install diesel power stations in Morocco proper, in Tiznit and Ait Melloul, were nipped in the bud, as civil protests broke out and concerns for environment and public health came to the fore. Now, the Moroccan government has decided to build the very same type of power station outside of Morocco, and inside of the territory it holds under military occupation since 1975; Western Sahara. 

WSRW maintains that the electrification of Western Sahara is advancing or entrenching Morocco's illegal occupation of the territory. Just one year ago, WSRW published the "Fuelling the Occupation" report, documenting transports and volumes of petroleum products into occupied Western Sahara. The findings revealed a heavy involvement of the Swedish shipping company Wisby Tankers AB. Though Saharawis in Western Sahara also need petroleum products for civilian life-sustaining purposes, the petroleum is mostly used by the Moroccan administration, army, settlers and for plunder of the territory’s rich natural resources. Without the oil imports the illegal occupation would be practically impossible to maintain. 

ONEE website article can also be downloaded here (retrieved 23.06.2015)

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