Kosmos starts drilling in Western Sahara

23 December 2014

First well in disputed territory is expected to take between 60 and 90 days to drill

US-based exploration firm Kosmos Energy has started to drill in the Western Sahara, becoming the first company to drill in the disputed territory since the mid-1970s.

Drilling began on 19 December and is expected to take between 60 and 90 days, according to an emailed statement sent to MEED.

“As we have said previously, we believe exploration and, if successful, production can bring real benefits to the people of the Western Sahara,” said Thomas Golembeski, a spokesperson for the company.

“Understanding whether oil and gas resources exist offshore is the first step toward realising those potential benefits.”

The Western Sahara is claimed by both the government of Morocco and the Algeria-backed indigenous Saharawi group, the Polisario Front. While most of the region is controlled by Morocco, neither entity’s sovereignty is recognised by the UN.

Due to the disputed nature of the territory, oil companies have been wary of drilling in its waters, which hold the last unexplored cretaceous basin in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kosmos Energy has previously said it believes the basin could hold as much as a billion barrels of oil.

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