Western Sahara: Hydrocarbons With Conflict Potential

Exploration will soon commence offshore Western Sahara, a region under Moroccan control since 1975. If discoveries are made, tapping the disputed territory’s oil and gas resources could be a legal minefield.

By the end of the year, a solitary well plunged into unexplored waters off the coast of Africa threatens to bring to the surface simmering tension in what has been described the continent’s last colony.

Kosmos Energy, a US independent with a focus on frontier acreage, is on track to spud its first exploration well in the Cap Boujdour block offshore the Western Sahara, a territory largely occupied by neighboring Morocco. The company is one of the very few that has braved the reputational risk of operating in disputed waters; its partner Cairn Energy and France’s Total are the other.


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