Falklands, Malvinas, Oil

That ol’ timey empire dies hard, then oil arrives to reinvigorate the corpse, it’s Carbon Zombie Imperialism!

It does not look like much: a jumble of pipes, containers and drilling equipment sitting on a windswept jetty at Port Stanley. The hardware, however, signals an imminent search for oil and gas that could turn the Falkland Islanders into south Atlantic oil barons, a prospect that has already triggered a dispute between Britain and Argentina.

A rig, the Ocean Guardian, is due to arrive by mid-February and will almost immediately begin drilling for hydrocarbon deposits 100 miles north of the archipelago. Geological surveys suggest there could be up to 60bn barrels beneath the seabed around the British territory, a bonanza that would transform islands famed for sheep, fish and remoteness.

“The rig won’t come into sight of Port Stanley unfortunately, it’ll be out too far,” said Phyll Rendell, the islands’ director of mineral resources. “But everyone knows it’s coming.” A British company, Desire Petroleum, has hired the rig to drill prospects in the North Falkland basin and will later lease it to three other British companies – Rockhopper, BHP Billiton and Falklands Oil and Gas – which also have exploration contracts. They will use the rig in rotation throughout 2010. It will be the first drilling in Falkland waters since Shell suspended exploration in 1998 after oil prices slumped to $12 a barrel.

“With the rise in oil prices and the worldwide search for new oil and gas services, it has now become more than commercially viable for this work to begin,” said Ben Romney, a Desire Petroleum spokesman. “We should know by the end of the year whether or not a major extraction programme will go ahead.”

Argentina is not waiting that long to voice its anger. It lost the 1982 war with Britain over the islands, which it calls the Islas Malvinas, but still claims sovereignty and terms British control an occupation.

“What they are doing is illegitimate,” said Jorge Taiana, the foreign minister. “It’s a violation of our sovereignty. We will do everything possible to defend and preserve our rights.”

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11th And all That

Spinwatch on Robert Newman’s History of Oil– Firstly, he traces the history of nearly a century of Iraq policy. He tells the astonishing statistic that in the 95 years since oil was discovered in Iraq and a telegram was sent to the Glasgow office of Burma Oil saying “see psalm 104 verse 15 line 3” (“that He may bring forth out of the earth, oil, to make a cheerful countenance”) the United Kingdom has been at war with or occupying that particular country for 45 of them.

His contention that World War 1 should be taught in our schools as an invasion of Iraq seems outlandish at first but he is extremely convincing.

“I am sure many of you, like me, have never been entirely satisfied with the standard explanation we were given at secondary school for the causes and origins of WW1… the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand…I mean, NO ONE is that popular…The war breaks out, and remember it’s a war to defend plucky Belgian neutrality while the Belgians are pluckily defending Congolese rubber and ivory. The FIRST British regiment to be deployed in the First World War, the Dorset regiment, goes to….Basra, 1914, where it is joined by 51 other British divisions.

“Therefore I think we can conclude that had Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon fought by the Tigris or the Euphrates instead of the Somme we would never have heard of them.

‘They could have sent truckloads to the front, full of nothing but poets, if they had fought in Iraq during the first world war we would not know of a single man jack of them. There could even have been a First special poets battalion but had it fought in Iraq we would never have known of its existence, although…one can’t help feeling that the first special poets battalion would have been wiped out quite early on in the hostilities.”

One of the possible reasons for this was that just before WW1 the Germans were constructing the Berlin-Baghdad railway (part of which is now known as the Orient Express). This was at a time that the British and German Navies were switching from coal to oil. The British Navy at that time was probably the most powerful military force in the world so access (and denying access) to the newly discovered oil fields was vital. Also, the British government knew that people would simply not accept the Sarajevo to Basra replacement bus service.

It’s all over the web to watch if you haven’t seen it but in many versions the a/v sync is out, this one seems ok (Real Player link).

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Like Washington Needed Another Reason To Plot Against Cuba

The state-owned Cuban oil company says the country may have more than 20bn barrels of oil in its offshore fields – more than double the previous estimate. Cubapetroleo’s exploration manager said drilling in the offshore wells would begin as early as the middle of 2009. Such reserves would place Cuba among the top 20 oil producing nations.

If correct, Cuba’s oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US – 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal – and nearly twice the size of Mexico’s – 11.7bn barrels. It could generate unprecedented wealth for the Communist-run state. Mr Tenreyro said he expected the first production well to be drilled before the middle of next year by a consortium led by the Spanish oil company, Repsol, and that more wells could be started before 2010. Cuba currently produces 60,000 barrels of oil a day. It depends on Venezuela for an additional 93,000 barrels a day, which it receives at preferential rates in exchange for the services of thousands of Cuban doctors working in Venezuela.

Bin Laden spotted in Havana coming to a corporate news outlet near you soon.

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Shockingly Corporations Ignore Voluntary Ethical Practices

Also woods found to be full of bear shit-

(IPS) – The intersection of human rights, the environment and corporate responsibility was highlighted today at a Capitol Hill hearing featuring activists from Burma and Nigeria who underlined the failure to date of “voluntary” controls over major oil companies operating in their countries.

The Voluntary Principles (VPs) were developed in hopes of calming the waters in countries where multinational companies extract oil, gas and other minerals at great profit, but at a terrible cost to human rights and local environments.

Through the VPs, corporations are offered guidance about local communities where they will be working, and are expected to ensure that their rights are not violated as a result of the activities they undertake.

However, after the launch of the VPs in 2000, under the George W. Bush administration, the process “drifted without clear direction”, Freeman said.

No really, do try to be surprised, hmm now Bush is fond of appearing publicly to blame China for supporting the Burmese junta and act as a staunch supporter of the human rights of the Burmese yet has never done anything about Chevron, his Secretary of State’s former employer and beneficiary of an administration reluctant to prosecute…(although some slightly good news on Shell in Nigeria)

The U.S.-owned Chevron Corporation has a contract with Burma’s military junta to provide security for its operations along the vast Yadama pipeline area, which carries Burmese oil through neighboring Thailand for export to the US.

Ka Hsaw Wa, founder and director of Earth Rights International and recipient of several prestigious awards for his work, detailed gross violations of human rights documented when he and his team spoke to dozens of villagers along the pipeline.

Rape, even of young children, is not uncommon, the activist said. Local people are used as forced labour, and are prohibited from farming their own land without “permission” from the military, usually tied to a financial or material contribution, such as a chicken, Ka Hsaw Wa said.

“It is amazing to me that a U.S. company is allowed to contract with an army that commits these kinds of abuses with impunity,” he testified.

“In countries like Burma, they just don’t care,” about protecting rights or respecting “voluntary principles”, the young activist declared.

A booklet prepared by his organization, “The Human Cost of Energy”, points out that Chevron has yet to say a word about the beating and shooting of Buddhist monks demonstrating against the military regime this time last year, despite the serious violation of human rights involved.

“The principles have yet to take root in Nigeria,” agreed Nnimmo, who heads up the country’s Environmental Rights Action group, allied with Friends of the Earth International.

Since oil began to be extracted in the Niger Delta 50 years ago, the police and military, acting on behalf of the government and Shell Oil, have consistently ignored or violated the rights of local communities, he said.

The first documented massacre of 80 people took place in 1990. During the mid-1990s the military killed hundreds of Ogoni people and nine Ogoni leaders, including internationally known Ken Saro-Wiwa, who had been protesting environmental damage by oil companies and demanding compensation.

In 1998, the Ilaje people began to protest the destruction of their environment by Chevron’s oil exploration, which had killed the fish the remote community relied on for food. The incursion of salt water into rivers also destroyed vegetation and drinking water supplies. The custom of gas flaring creates health hazards and burns homes.

When a group of unarmed protestors occupied an oil platform to demand compensation, as well as jobs and medical assistance, Chevron called in the military, which came in shooting and arrested and tortured village leaders.

“After 50 years, these companies are still not willing to sit down and enter into dialogue with communities,” Nnimmo argued.

A court case for damages against Chevron by Nigerian Larry Bowoto and other Ilaje victims is still ongoing in U.S. federal court and in California state courts, where the plaintiffs seek an injunction to prevent Chevron from further “complicity’ in abuse by the Nigerian military.

Discouraged by the picture painted during the hearing, Sen. Durbin declared that the government must take stronger measures to ensure that US companies are not engaging human rights abuses and promoting the “devastating” environmental impacts described by the witnesses.

He more than once noted the coincidence of human rights abuses and environmental impact, since in both Burma and Nigeria, U.S. corporations not only ignore, or are complicit in, standard forms of human rights abuse, but at the same time are responsible for environmental damage that causes people to lose their health and livelihoods.

Empire’s Creditor Gets Their Cut

Iraq will sign a $1.2 billion oil service contract with China to replace a production-sharing deal agreed under Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi newspaper quoted oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani as saying on Tuesday.

The oil minister is travelling to China at the end of this month to discuss the deal, which was orginally signed in 1997 between Iraq and the China National Petrolium Company (CNPC). (ht2 Blairwatch)

Although another contract signed under Saddam won’t be revived-

Shahristani also repudiated a Saddam Hussein-era deal with Russia’s largest private oil company LUKOIL , saying the contract was political and its terms “totally unfair”.

“Relating to the Russian contract, it was signed with the former regime for political reasons and scrapped by the former regime also for political reasons,” he said. “It is a totally unfair contract.”

Dumb Ruskies, don’t you know it pays to own debts.

The War on Penguins

(AFP) — Argentina’s military is to take on protecting the environment and interests in Antarctica under a shake-up being proposed by President Cristina Kirchner. The reform aims to assert Argentina’s sovereignty over its natural resources, but could also create friction as competition intensifies between countries looking to establish claims on the South Pole, where large oil deposits may lie.

Although Antarctica is protected under a 1959 treaty allowing only scientific research, moves are being made by Argentina, Australia, Britain, China, France, New Zealand and Norway to boost their presence there and lay claim to territorial waters that could yield oil. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is considering requests by some of those countries to extend ownership around territories close to Antarctica based on continental shelf surveys.

Britain, for instance, is seeking to increase its claim on waters around the Falkland Islands off Argentina, over which the two countries went to war in 1982. Up to 60 billion barrels of oil are estimated to possibly lie under the seabed there. The rivalry in the region is especially keen right now, given that a UN convention defining territorial sea limits has a deadline of May 2009 for countries to argue for expansion.

Islas Malvinas! My favourite book about the Antarctic- At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, full text here for free! Best film might well be Carpenter’s The Thing, so is that my tastes or does the continent inspire horror? Not in me, I love it! So I might have to enter the fray and lay territorial claim to some bit, not big, just enough for an ice base and a penguin playground. Maybe I’ll borrow ‘Falkland islanders rights’ from HM Govt. as a pretext, then once the base is built and they come round to borrow some sugar, fuck ’em, the inbred simpletons and their sheep friendly ways.

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Don’t Panic

Canadian study: Oil prices to double by 2012

Ok, panic.

Hilariously this story has been headlined for American consumption as Gas to Hit $7 a gallon!!!! Oh for the love of cats, it is £1.20 a litre here, a US liquid gallon is 3.785 litres so that’s-

£1.20 x 3.785 litres = £4.54 which in US dollars is…. $8.96 and that is now! Basically nine bucks. We’re all going to be in trouble but economies predicated on cheap gasoline…oh dear.

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