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The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara filed a complaint against Fugro Geoteam for failing to consult with the local Sahrawi inhabitants prior to, during, or after conducting seismic surveys off the coast of Western Sahara, which it did on behalf of US based oil company Cosmos Energy.
The complaint also alleges the company repeatedly failed to respect the basic human rights and the right to self determination of the Sahrawi people.
The complainants claim Morocco does not have the right to conduct or permit petroleum exploration in Western Sahara. The UN considers Western Sahara a non-autonomous territory in which natural resources should be managed in accordance with international law. If such activity takes place, it must be in accordance with the needs and interests of the nonautonomous population.
Relevant OECD Guidelines: Part 1 Chapter II Paragraph II.2
In 2009, Norway-based Fugro Geoteam AS carried out seismic surveying of the coast of Western Sahara, contracted on behalf of an oil company. The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara alleges that Fugro has failed to account for whether it has consulted with the Sahrawi people of the region prior to, during, or after the assignment. The Support Committee for Western Sahara alleges that the company’s repeated actions in Western Sahara fail to respect the basic human rights and the right to self determination of the Sahrawi people because Morocco does not have the right to conduct petroleum exploration in Western Sahara.
The United Nations considers Western Sahara a non-autonomous territory, therefore, the natural resources in such areas shall be managed in accordance to international law. Furthermore, if such activity takes place, it must be in accordance with the wishes and interests of the non-autonomous population.
After an initial assessment, the Norwegian NCP accepted the complaint.
In response to the allegations, Fugro Geoteam stated in April 2010 that it had ceased operations in the area until the political situation is resolved and that all raw seismic data had been transferred to Cosmos Energy.
Fugro-Geoteam’s Dutch parent company, Fugro NV endorsed its subsidiary’s statement and announced that it would terminate its involvement in Western Sahara.
The complainants welcomed Fugro Geoteam’s decision and have subsequently ended their campaign on the case. The NCP has not yet issued a final statement, and it is unclear if it will do so.
Additional Info: http://oecdwatch.org/cases/Case_182