The unethical, illegal and politically irresponsible activities of a US company in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara


Information collected and systematized


The International Coalition for the Protection of the Natural Resources of Western Sahara.


January 13th, 2005

[Letter to screening agencies] - [Press Release, 13.01.05] - [Background information] - [Media]  

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Kerr-McGee Corporation

  • One of the largest US oil and gas companies
  • A familiar face to international legal dispute and nuclear spills scandals


What’s the scandal about?

  • Contracting with an illegal occupying power
  • Active in an occupied territory in total disrespect of international law and of the wishes and interest of the indigenous Saharawi people
  • Total lack of transparency of its activities


Latest developments

  • Subcontracted reputable companies, which under moral pressure from global civil society groups ended their co-operation with KMG
  • Continues investing in illegality
  • Continues violating international rules


KMG public statements

  • Blatant lies
  • Disrespect for UN rules and opinions
  • Lack of transparency


KMG corporate ir-responsibility

  • Window-dressing CSR: KMG totally disregards its CSR policy


The Saharawi liberation movement-the Polisario, and the oil licenses

  • KMG threatens the UN peace process
  • KMG denies the UN-recognised legitimacy of the Saharawi representatives


Background on Western Sahara and hydrocarbon exploration


Western Sahara

  • An occupied territory since 1975
  • The last African territory to be decolonised
  • 2/3rd of a nation in refugee camps for nearly 30 years
  • A daily reality of heavy-handed military occupation, large-scale human rights violations, mass corruption and plundering of natural resources
  • Occupation to be financed by oil exploitation


The United Nations and the Western Sahara

  • A territory to be de-colonised under a UN-sponsored resolution process
  • An occupation recognised by not one singly State
  • Efforts of a UN Mission in WS since 1991 stymied since 1991


International case law and the Corell opinion

  • Morocco has no legitimate sovereignty over Western Sahara
  • The Saharawi people has a universal and permanent right over the natural resources in their territory
  • KMG must respect the wishes and interest of the Saharawi people

1. Kerr-McGee website:


3. Note: French E &P Company TOTAL signed a similar contract in September 2001 for the "other half" of offshore WS (i.e. area of Daklha). Did not renew the licence in November 2004 officially because of "lack of oil".

4. Survey started in May 2003 and completed in January 2003. Data handed over to KMG, Total and Rabat in March 2003.

5. Contracted by KMG to carry out 2nd phase of seismic exploration in spring 2004. Survey completed in June 2004. In cooperation with UK based subsidiary Fugro SL Limited/Svitzer and Robertson Research International

6. IHS Energy report, 25 June 2004.

7. Kerr-McGee website

8. PESA April/May 2003.

9. KMG notes that "each employee receives the code of conduct and ethics upon joining the company, and compliance is a condition of employment

10. PESA April/May 2003.

11. Upstream Online, 27 May 2002.

12. Afrol News, 27 May 2002.

13. Upstream Online, 29 April 2004.

14. Legal Opinion (S/2002/161).

15. UNGA resolutions 52/72 of 10/12/97; 53/61 of 03/12/98; 54/84 of 05/12/99; 55/38 of 08/12/00; 56/66 of 10/12/01.

16. E.g. Resolution 3201 (S VI) of 01/05/74 containing the "Declaration on the establishment of a new international economic order"; Resolution 3281 (XXIX) containing the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.

17. Legal Opinion, paragraph 25.

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