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High-risk race for Western Sahara's contested subsea riches

The underexplored waters of Morocco are attracting scores of oil companies, lured by a benign fiscal regime, political stability that some Arab countries can only dream of and the hope of commercial oil discoveries similar to those made elsewhere in the Atlantic basin

As interest in the region intensifies, a growing number of firms are now setting their sights on Western Sahara, the bitterly disputed former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in the 1970s in a move that the international community never recognised. Glencore, the Swiss-based mining and trading giant, is the latest to acquire offshore acreage there under controversial contracts awarded by Morocco, the de facto administering authority. It follows others, including France's Total and Texas firm Kosmos Energy, which plans to drill the first exploration well in the territory's waters in December, in what analysts say will be an important test case. Any significant find could have pivotal implica

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