French oil giant Total will halt preliminary offshore oil survey work in disputed Western Sahara, a region controlled by Morocco, due to disappointing results of the first seismic data analysis, iAfrica.com informed.
“The results of the geological surveys conducted in the Anzarane block were not encouraging and the reconnaissance authorization will not be transformed into an exploration license,” a Total spokesman said.
Total was contracted to conduct geological survey in a vast block off Western Sahara in December 2011, and the agreement was later extended to December 2015. The company has now informed the Moroccan authorities that it will not seek further extension.
The announcement comes amid a global trend of slashing investments due to oil prices slump, making offshore projects no longer financially attractive.
Total’s exploration off Western Sahara had been controversial as the territory had been disputed since Morocco took control in November 1975 after the end of Spanish colonization, unleashing a war for independence that lasted until 1991.
Total’s decision is a second cancellation of investments to Morocco after its farm trade deal with the European Union was annulled by the EU’s top court, because it illegally involved the disputed region of Western Sahara, ArabNews published.