Western Sahara Resource Watch - Spectrum, San Leon, Longreach - 2011
On 22 Sep 2011, Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) published the article "Oil subcontractor pulls out of Western Sahara" about Spectrum ASA, San Leon and Longreach:
"'I have no problem in stating, in retrospect, that it might have been a bad idea to take this assignment', CEO of seismic services firm Spectrum ASA [said]. Now, Irish oil minor San Leon has to find another subcontractor...San Leon and their UK partner Longreach are continuing their illegal oil search in Western Sahara. The UN has stated that such activities are in violation of international law...Spectrum ASA stated in Norway's...newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that it was wrong of them to get engaged in Western Sahara...'We expect San Leon to immediately follow the example of their subcontractor and pull out of the area...San Leon is directly contributing to uphold the conflict in the territory...The Saharawi people has never given San Leon the green light to work on their land', Maiju Kaipiainen of Western Sahara Resource Watch stated. WSRW has sent numerous letters to San Leon, none of which have been replied to. Several oil companies and oil services firms have left Western Sahara over the last years, after being made aware of the nature of the conflict."
San Leon had previously responded to questions about its relations with the Sahrawi people on the Prime Time programme on RTÉ (Radio and Television of Ireland), 8 Aug 2011:
"[San Leon:] We knew that there was a dispute. And we knew that there were problems in the area. We take international obligations seriously...
[RTE:] Do you have any line of communication to the Saharawi people?
[San Leon:] We don’t, no we don’t.
[RTE:] Why not?
[San Leon:] Because they’re not…from our point of view, and certainly from the point of view of the organisation and the government that issues our licence, they are not a representative people.
[RTE:] Why not consult with them directly, say “are you benefiting”?
[San Leon:] I don’t think they would actually speak to us, to be honest, that’s just kind of the way that things go, in this dispute..."
In regards to Longreach, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara stated to Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, "On 8 July 2011, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara sent an email inquiry to Longreach on this matter, followed by a phone call to the firm. The Longreach directors did not want to identify themselves over the phone, and refused to discuss the Western Sahara issue or to meet with the Committee. They referred all communication to the operator [of the project], San Leon."