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The following is from an
emailed newsletter received by Culture Change July 1, 2004.
this edition of Resistance, we review how oil companies work, who
benefits and who promotes the petroleum model.
also include information on the discovery of important sources of
gas in the area of Arakan in Birmania and the geopolitical role
that the islands of Comores and Cuba could play.
the history of those of us who resist we share with you the
resolutions taken by various Nigerian democratic organizations.
THE OIL INDUSTRIES INSTITUTIONAL ARQUITECTURE
HOW THE OIL INDUSTRY WORKS
NAVAL TRANSPORT COMPANIES
STORAGE OF CRUDE OIL
OIL INFASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES
THE PRIVATE BANKS
EXPORT CREDIT AGENCIES (ECAs)
OTHER COMPANIES LINKED TO THE OIL SECTOR
WHO PROMOTES THE OIL MODEL
OIL IN THE TROPICS
OUT OF THE TROPICS
STORIES OF THOSE WHO RESIST
THE OIL INDUSTRIES INSTITUTIONAL ARQUITECTURE
to the analysis carried out by the oil industry itself, the period
when companies could count on large oil reserves concessioned by
national States is over. For
this reason, oil companies have established various strategies to
survive the XXI century, among them technological specialization.
these recent years, technology has allowed the oil industry access
to oil and gas reserves which were previously not possible.
One example of this is extraction from deep oceans,
technology initiated by Petrobras.
Currently, only considering Angola there have been 12
important oil discoveries in deep water blocks, making Angola the
3rd oil producer in Africa with possibilities of
reaching first place.
innovation that has taken place in recent years is the
exploitation of heavy and ultraheavy crude oil.
During the decade of the 1930`s, Shell carried out a
process of intensive prospection in various areas of the
Ecuadorian Amazon. There
it identified important reserves of heavy crude but did not have
the technology to exploit them.
decades later, has the technology to access these oil fields
developed and now these areas are either in the process of
exploitation or licitation. In
Venezuela, Ameriven(ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips and PdVSA) will
exploit heavy crude oil from 250 -500 well in the so called
the oil sector there are some companies that have specialized in
access to set reserves that imply a certain level of risk.
Some companies have specialized in exploiting in areas of
high political risk. Among
these is Unocal that exploits gas in the Yadana Sea of Birmania,
whose government faces international comdenation for violations
against human rights and attempting to construct a gas pipeline
that crossed Afghanistan during the Tabilan regime.
They are also present in some conflict zones in Indonesia.
Others specialize in incursions into remote areas.
Arco (currently BP) is an example of this; it accepted
concessions in Iran Jaya and in the most remote areas of the
Ecuadorian and Peruvian jungle and in the Alaskan Artic.
Russian companies have occupied the niche left by other
companies that fear damage to their reputation, for example the
presence of Slavenft in Sudan.
strategies at a regional level is also important for the oil
industry. For example
Occidental, United States bases company changed all its interests
in Southeast Asia with Shell, to concentrate in Latin America, and
later started to sell these to concentrate on the Middle East.
Repsol operates preferentially in Latin America, whilst
French and British industries concentrate on their ex-colonies.
companies influence imposed State politics of restructural
economic programs, such as deregulation of labor laws and the
privatization of state companies hydrocarbon reserves.
This has allowed companies to reduce costs and not have any
type of responsibility over labor as well as having access to
state reserves. In
Latin America, the industry wishes in invest in large companies
such as PdVSA (Venezuela), Pemex (Mexico) and Braspetro (Brasil),
however it has been state companies from East Europe that have
claimed the greatest interest from oil transnationals in these
recent years, due to the violent processes of deregulation which
they have entered.
HOW THE OIL INDUSTRY WORKS
ever smaller group of transnational co operations invest in
hydrocarbon exploitation, of which the oil companies are the major
behind them exists many other companies or institutions such as
transport, insurance and financial companies among others.
largest private oil companies are:
ExxonMobile(United Status), Shell (UK-NL), BP (UK),
ChevronTexaco (United Status), AGIP (Italy), TotalFinaElf (France)
Respsol YPF (Spain).
companies are the result of megamergers which they have had to
result to in order to survive the world energy market, for
example, BP is the result of the merger of
Amoco and Arco.
least 4 state oil companies compete with large private industries
and in some way act as transnational companies.
The difference with the first, apart from exploitation
activities of hydrocarbon resources, is that they have to act as
regulators in the energy sector, and at least theoretically their
earnings are redistributed in society.
are: ARAMCO (Saudia Arabia), Braspetro (Brasil), National Iranian
Oil Co, PdVSA (Venezuela) and PEMEX (Mexico).
companies with the greatest participation in the market in 2001
where: BP, ExxonMobil, National Iraina Oil, Royal Dutch/Shell and
country with the greatest capacity for refinery is the United
States (16.510 thousand barrels a day in 1999), followed by Japan
(5.110 thousand barrels a day in 1999), China (5.020 thousand
barrels a day in 1999) Germany (2240 thousand barrels a day in
insular States have a large refining capacity in relation to their
territorial area and their energy requirements.
Singapore enters into this group of countries.
In the past, the two largest world refineries were in Aruba
and Curacao both Dutch colonies.
has frequently been identified that the location of refineries has
an environmental racism characteristic, and it is for this reason
that many of the groups that work in the field of environmental
justice dedicate themselves to refineries.
companies with the greatest earnings in the refinery sector are
the Japanese companies Cosmo Oil Company Ltd, Nippon Oil Corp,
Showa Shell Sekiku KK and Teon General Sekiku KK and the United
States company Valero Energy Corp.
NAVAL TRANSPORT COMPANIES
transport of crude oil is dominated by private owners, but there
exists a consolidation process of this sector in a few companies.
In fact currently, 25% of the world fleet is in the hands
of 10 owners.
strategy of the oil industry is to develop its own transport
fleet. For example BP
has invested 3 thousand million dollars in the business of crude
oil transport. Other companies are following this example as in
the case of the Korean companies Hyundai, Samsung; and the
Japanese Tsuneishi and Mitsubishi, as well as Denme of Holland and
NSSCO North American company that operates in Alaska.
STORAGE OF CRUDE OIL
countries with the largest storage capacity in the world are
Liberia that concentrates 21% of world capacity followed by
Panama, where 12% is stored.
These countries are important naval routes for large oil
tankers. Other large
storage terminals are found in insular states of the third world,
transforming them in tank states.
An example of this is the Marshall Islands, the Bahamas and
the Virgin Islands.
is a growing concentration for the crude oil storage sector to be
held in few hands. In
the United Kingdom, the storage of crude oil is in the hands of
three operators: Vopak, Simon Storage and ST Services and the oil
terminal of Simon belongs to Vopak, Simon Storage.
fundadimentalism has forced countries to apply flexible labor
norms. That is why
currently the majority of activities that were previously carried
out by traditional companies today are carried out by service
industries, who do this work in situ.
importance that these service companies have acquired is so great
that last year we were witness to the first war carried out in
favor of an oil service company, who was the primary beneficiary
in the invasion against Iraq.
businesses such as Halliburton provide oil services as well as
military services, existing a close relationship between the two
companies with the greatest earnings are: Baker Hughes
Incorporated, FMC Corporation, Halliburton, Schlumberger and
Weatherford International, the majority of them United States
OIL INFASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES
every oil operation there exists a complicated infrastructure
which gives way to a market for construction companies.
countries have emerged with dominate force in this sector,
especially Korean companies among them Hyundai.
the European companies are Aker McNulty and Amec Offshore Services
of the United Kingdom, Grootint of Holland, Aker Stord and
Grootint of Holand, Aker Strod and ABB of Norway, Belleli
Offshore, Belgium Bluewater.
companies that are in the oil construction business have
diversified to include engineering projects, construction of and
installation of infrastructure as well as civil engineering jobs.
THE PRIVATE BANKS
private bank has identified some elements in the oil industry to
extend its business such as the deregulation of the state energy
sector, mergers and acquisitions of oil companies and the
development of new oilfields, oil and gas pipelines, refineries,
etc. There is a
specialization in the financial sector linked to the oil industry.
The banks act as advisers and design financial structural
programs, the arrangers collect funds for the operation.
Added to this are the insurance companies and commercial
banks that sometimes act as lending syndicates.
banks who have investments in the oil sector are US Ex Im
Bank, FleetBoston Finantial, Citigroup of the United States.
From spain BBVA and Caja Madrid, from Germany WestLB and
Dresdner Kleinwot Wasserstein, form Italy Banca Nazionale del
Lavoro and from England Barclays.
EXPORT CREDIT AGENCIES (ECAs)
are public agencies that provide refundable loans, guaranties and
insurance to its corporations that look to do foreign business (in
developing and emerging countries).
The majority of industrialized nations have at least one
credit agency for exports. These
back risky and controversial projects in the mining, forestry,
oil, gas and carbon industry.
A very high percentage of these energy projects are backed
by ECAs. As a result,
these projects often affect the natural environment and are a
threat to the survival and integrity of the people in the affected
participation is greatest in the World Bank in risky projects.
example, between 1995 and 1999 the World Bank provided 5,95
thousand million dollars in loans to the fossil fuel and mining
sector, compared to Credit Agencias which provided 40,5 thousand
million dollars for exploration.
(Multilateral Guaranty and Investment Agencies)
is a World Bank specialized agency that guarantees multilateral
offers guarantees for projects financed by the World Bank that are
considered politically risky for the investors and loaners,
through backing these countries receptors of retainer loans and
investment. The MIGA
intervenes in the energy sector.
example MIGA has provided a guarantee for 15 years to the company
Sasol of South Africa for $27 million to cover an investment of
$30 million via Sasol Petroleum Temane Ltd (SPT) in
Mozambique and $45 million to cover a $50 million investment for
the construction of an 850Km gas pipeline that transports gas from
Mozambique to South Africa.
guarantees risks related to expropriations, war, civil uprising
OTHER COMPANIES LINKED TO THE OIL SECTOR
from the credit sector, there are a series of advisor and
financial service companies that benefit from the oil industry.
In the service sector of legal consultancy and financial
accounting for the oil industry, a few firms dominate the world
market. The fall of
Enron produced various changes in the oil financial sector, and
increased the risk of the sector.
Some of the large banks could be involved in the Enron
main job of the legal firms is to facilitate the company profits
by minimizing regulatory, legal or environmental impediments that
still exist in the energy sector.
Morgan (incorporada con Chase Manhattan)
WHO PROMOTES THE OIL MODEL
prescribed oil model that favors above all transnational oil
companies, is promoted and sometimes imposed upon by some
international institutions that are at the service of the
corporations, within these the World Bank is highlighted, through
financing and imposes its structural adjustment programs. It
backs countries (indebting them) so that they implement fiscal
programs to comply with IMF impositions in relation to policies
and OMC requirements in relation to energy.
World Bank backs countries in design of adjustment policies.
Among the adjust policies are those that forces countries
to overexploit their oil resources.
directly the World Bank finances development oil projects,
construction of oil pipelines, etc.
International Monetary Fund imposes macro economic policies
related to the reduction of the role of the State and in public
spending weakening state industry.
It forces countries to privatize its energy sector via
conseciones and deregulation of the oil sector.
It promotes free competition of the energy state sector
with the private sector and forces countries to do away with
subsidies in the energy sector (electricity, domestic gas, fuel)
IMF was created to offer its members loans to overcome short term
difficulties in their balance payments; it later took on the role
of fiscalizer of countries and institutions in debt.
loans are destined to the payment of interest and political
reforms. The United
States has 18% of the votes in the IMF, 5 countries control 40% of
the deregulation policies on labor laws, via programs of
structural adjustment imposed by the IMF, oil companies can find a
disposable work force in the countries which they have access to
without having to taken on any form of labour responsibilities and
at low costs.
companies take advantage of privatization policies or
privatization covered up as concessions, tercerization of
services, etc to have access to the resources which were
previously under state control.
THE UNITED NATIONS
United Nations programs for the environment, under the name of
sustainable development, is promoting the so called public private
associations that are societies between Northern and Southern
governments, businesses and NGO´s that has changed the way the
United Nations functions.
to this scheme, States act as intermediaries so that transnational
businesses comply with the objectives set in the Plan of Action,
via Public Private associations.
already exists proposal for associations to intervene in renewable
energy, such as the GA renewable energies initiative, in with
Shell participates as leader in sustainable development.
Public Private Associations, the use of natural gas is promoted
and nuclear energy as sources of clean energy.
Included are also highly questionable projects such as the
West African Pipeline.
non governmental conservation organizations function for the
interests of oil companies. These
enter in various types of societies with oil companies and they
help them develop a green image.
In some cases they receive money to buy lands destined for
conservation, whilst at the same time they destroy other areas
of this strategy involves the energy and biodiversity initiative
or EBI, in which the oil companies ChevronTexaco, BP, Shell and
Statoil participate. In
the conservation sector there is Conservation International, TNC,
Smithsonian Institute, Flora and Fauna International and UICN.
tendency is strengthened by the XI session of the UNCTAD that took
place in mid June of 2004 in Sao Paulo, in which it an alliance
between oil companies and sustainable development programs was
business partners are North American company Occidental Petroleum
who backs projects of biocomerce to Ecuadorian organizations that
promote exports. The
project will take place within an area of 200.000 Ha concessioned
to the company where 28 indigenous communities live.
SAO PAULO, Jun 16 (IPS). An
Unlikely Alliance to Pursue Biotrade.
OIL IN THE TROPICS
recent position of the United Status against Cuba that comes from
the Presidential report of the Commission to help for a Free
Cuba (leaded by Collin Powell) should be seen as a flagrant step
in the violation of the sovereignty of the national Island and
with that, the resolution 2625 of the General Asembly of the UN of
October of 1970, but more so, as the
pre- scene that points towards a United States insurgence
over Cuban territory, its resources and its population; all as
Washington as protector.
case is no less and with difficultly passes unnoticed in the
context of the current pre-electoral period.
In February of this present year in an article a Cuban
invasion was being analyzed as a card in the reelection fight for
Bush and moment edition of the text the electoral situation in the
northern power was not so fought over.
Now the scenery is markedly complicated due to the addition
of Waren Buffet, the second most richest man in the world, to the
democratic campaign of John Kerry who has a position towards Cuba
that could be considered as even more reactionary that Bush`s; as
with the no less scandalous situation in Irak that increasingly is
getting out of their control (the Government of the USA and
its allies) given the intense civil massacre of Iraqis, the
increasing number of American soldiers causalities and recently
due to the public denouncements for the torture and presumed
assassination of prisoners of war on behalf of American and
British military personnel.
the report for a Free Cuba presented officially by Powell
the 6th of May 2004 various readings and implications
can be interpreted. Here
it is important to make note of 2 points.
On the one hand, the document clearly looks to profile
itself as the key to gain the political-business summit of the
Cuban dissidents of Florida.
On the other hand, if the text is reviewed it can be noted
that it is a well orquestriated plan for the anexion of Cuba as
protector in which the dissidents would play the role of (cepayos)
of the US on the island. The
considered measures go from supporting dissidence (financially and
logistically and in the form of counterrevolutionary groups) and
in the process of transition to a post Castro Cuba in which the
succession plans of the regime fail until the economic,
political and military take over on behalf of Washington.
It concerns a scenario that is made clearer if it is
reviewed from a the geopolitical perspective of oil imperialism of
the Gulf of Mexico within the context that new oil reserves and
potential oil reserves were confirmed in the zone, particularly in
what is known as the hoyos de dona geological formations
that are located within the geographical zone that boarders the
judicial marine boundaries of the US, Mexico and Cuba.
though in effect it concerns a region in which many oil
prospecciones have been carried out, only recently has the
information and necessary technology been available to conclude
that it concerns an area of high hydrocarbon concentrations
characterized by being located at great depths.
It is no coincidence that in the last years multinational
oil companies have shown great interest in exploration and
eventual exploitation of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
The speed in which the oil marine exploitation fields
are being concessioned is of importance since it is considered
that the first to carry out extraction of crude in important
quantities will benefit from the effect known as popote,
understood not so much as horizontal perforation but more as a
phenomena that is produced from drainage by the gravitational
pull. Due to this is
that Barbosa Cano, specialist in this issue from the Institute for
Economic Investigation of UNAM, considers that there is a very
real risk that North American companies will appropriate the
oil which in the Gulf could reach 100 thousand million barrels,
brings to attention that the USA has for some years now obtained
licenses to a growing number of oil fields in the region of the
Golf of Mexico. Johnnie
Burton from the Administration Services for Minerals (MMS) of USA,
institution in charge of this activity (together with the
Department for internal affairs) indicated that from March of the
present year United States is now its ninth year of sustained
expansion of developing domestic exploitation of oil and gas at
depths in the Gulf of Mexico and there are no signs of this
also adds the potential this resource provides for the nation
increases with each new discovery at ultra deep water depths.
the perforation wells discovered, only between 2001 to 2003 are:
the Discoverer Deep Seas de Chevron/Transocean in Block AC 818,
the Deepware Millenium of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation/Trasnocean
in Block AT 349, el Jack Ryan of Shell Offshore/Global Santa Fe in
Block AC 943, in Deepwater Nautilus of Shell Offshore/Transocean
in block MC 657, the Deepwater Pathfinder of Chevron/Transocean in
Block MC 696, the Explorer of BHP Billiton/Global Santa Fe in
Block AT 618, the Discoverer Enterprise of BP Exploration/Transocean
in Block MC 778, the Cajun Express and the Marianas of Dominion
Exploration/Transocean in Block MC 734 and MC
772 respectivamente, the 1503 of Dominion Exploration/Pride
in Block MC 773, el Discoverer Spirit of Union Oil Co/Transocean
Block GC 943, o the
Ocean Confidence of BP Exploration/Diamond Offshore in Block GC
above means that the potential production of the Gulf signifies
almost 30% of the domestic production of oil and 23% of gas for
the USA, according to the MMS(10);
figures that could increase as the potential oil reserves
are confirmed and new ones are discovered in other areas, in this
way hydrocarbons of this exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Mexico
and Cuba fall into the hands of the USA under the
popote effect. Take
note that this phenomena can be very soon in process, since from
1995 to 2002 US extraction of oil from deep waters from the Gulf
increased by 535% whilst those of gas increased by 620%.
this scenario, the reserves of the Gulf of Mexico are hoped to be
larger than those of the USA.
These are calculated to be around 15 thousand million
barrel of oil and 47 thousand cubic meters of gas (considering
proven and expected reserves), the Mexican reserves could reach 22
thousand million barrels of oil, but they could increase as the
more than 170 probable projects are confirmed, according to
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) after having carried out more than 800
explorations in the Deep waters of the Gulf (here the reason why
Barbosa Cano said that the potential oil reserves of the region of
the Gulf of Mexico could reach up to 100 thousand million
figures for the cuban EEZ of 112 thousand Km2 are not at all
clear, nor the type of crude oil that could be found.
As is known Cuba has source of oil with a high sulphur
content, which makes the oil very heavy.
However it is believed that the north and northeast of the
Island there could be deep geological structures of light crude
reasons of prospeccion (something which was impossible during the
decade of the 1950´s when for example Standard Oil carried out
its explorations), the island has divided its EEZ which extends in
the shape of a triangle in 59 block of 2 thousand Km each and
which have started to be licienced (10 up until now) by oil
companies such as Petrobras (Brasil), Repsol YPF (Spain) or
Sherrit International (Canada).
cuban reserves do not seem to be at all despreciables.
Repsol YPF announced that the potential reserves correspond
only to Block of Yamagua could be of around 1,600 million barrels
or equivalent to 30% of the proven reserves of the current
estimates of the 6 block north of Cuba, according to Repsol YPF
could contain up to 6 thousand million barrels.
Consequently the multinational considers Cuba as one of
the priority areas of growth.
But note that the potential reserves could be even larger,
which can only be confirmed at the moment of perforation.
fact that the Cuban embargo does not permit multinationals of the
USA to sign contracts with the island has been an obstacle, in
this case, for the exploitation of Cuban oil, which presumably was
intended to be negotiated as part of USA reserves since the first
Bush administration left Cuban negotiations out, mentioning only
two zones (USA and Mexican) and in no occasion was a third
talked about corresponding to the Dona Oriental over which
Cuba has unquestionable rights.
situation it would seem could be resolved under the
post-Castro scenario under the charge of the servants of the
USA in Cuba, issue which is pointedly considered in the report for
a Free Cuba. Within
the indications in this presumed scenario, the servants of the USA
in Cuban would have to consider, as part of the programs for
economic liberalization the total privatization of Cuban
businesses under charge of the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank- the celebration of a Commercial Trade agreement
with the USA and in a second instance, the launching of the
country as another of the members of the Area of Free Trade of the
Americas. In such
scenario the USA has set its sights on the Cuban mineral reserves
such as nickel and cobalt and of course oil.
directly quoted from the report in medium terms, the US
Geological Service should be ready to provide assistance and help
in the modernization of critical governmental institutions such as
geological exploration, ministries of mining and related
should include the development and implementation of prospection
programs for mining and the modernization of geochemical and
geophysical explorations and the production of geological maps.
In which of course the precise localization of potential
terrestrial and particularly marine oil reserves have to be
the USA auto proposes itself as the candidate to guarantee the
growth in offer of crude required by the Cuban economy and to
modernize and maintain the adequate functioning the capacity of
refining it. For such
purpose the opening of Cuba to foreign direct investment is
central, according to the report.
In this way the USA oil companies the exercising of
contracts with Cuba would be resolved, and at the same time such
northern power for negotiation that in principle, seen from an
imperialist point of view, should belong to the US but that
however for the moment is being consolidated by European
the report it is not made clear how the process towards a Free
Cuba according to the US would be, but it is worth considering
the possibility of a military invasion, especially if it is taken
into account that the northern power is being controlled by a
group of maddened criminals that has not doubted in using terror
of the State throughout, at the same time as it has acted
unilaterally and has systematically violated international rights
(and lets not mention human rights).
The justification could be used are well know and over
used: the war against terrorism (faced with a clandestine
operation or auto attack chemical-biological against the
civil US population (or Cuban) which would be claimed without
question to the Castro regime) and as part of an effort to
take democracy to the Cuban people and free it from the Castro
is as Saxe-Fernandez warns it is necessary to add to the
equation the geostrategic factor the Cuban oil resources
of the Golf of Mexico represents and its impact on the
action plan of the Bush administration and the interests that
it represents to Cuba and its hydrocarbon riches in the Dona
Oriental. We could
state that the danger of an operation against the island has
increased as a result of new oil geography of the Golf of
Mexico, of the unmeasured ambition and greed for Cuban and Mexican
oil and the dangerous tendency towards unilateralism that
currently dominates decisions from the Oval Office.
ever way, in the interim, the report proposes studying the
possibility of the application of the III Title of the
Helms-Burton Law (16) that evokes the possibility of authorizing
the taking place of court cases in North American courts of law
against business men of third party countries that negotiate with
..lets say some oil companies that operate in the Gulf of
Mexico; process under which, at least the presence of such
multinationals would be boxed in and subordinated in the island,
and at the same time the capacity of exploitation of crude oil on
behalf of the USA benefiting itself by the popote effect
would increase. The
first is already a worry that Repsol YPF has expressed when it
said it hopes that the political tension will not affect
the previously mentioned it is worth adding the consideration of
the report to elevate efforts in involve governments of third
party government in campaigns against the Cuban Revolution.
final analysis it is worth being precise over the implications of
the new oil geography for the three countries involved of which
without doubt are of major consideration.
Mexico, the subordinate behaviour of the Mexican elite is leading
to the privatization of the oil-electric and gas complex of the
country (just as Saxe-Fernandes analyzed in detail in his book
The buying and Sellling of Mexico. Plaza and Janes, 2002).
The enthusiasm which Mexico has provide Multiple Service
contracts to foreign business (particularly those of the USA)
which include oil field licenses in the exclusive economic zone of
the Golf of Mexico ( among others those of the Cuenca de Burgos)
is a case for urgent discussion that should be subject to public
Cuba, the annoyance for the USA is that the oil reserves of this
carabean country being the object of negotiations between non-US
multinationals a sore point for Washington, in the words of Saxe-Fernandez,
because it is an unacceptable example for Washington since if a
small island with 11 million inhabitants, only 90 miles from its
shores, has been capable of dissuading the major hemispheric power
from a military invasion, even after the collapse of the soviet
union and all its international structure, what will happen if in
the future a governments reaches power which is decided in
defending the right to an economic development, industrialization,
sovereignty and independence of for example Brazil, country with
more than 8 million square Km, with 20% of the world water
reserves, with the primary biodiversity reserve and important
sources of minerals; or Mexico with 100 million inhabitants and
important natural resources reserves, of Venezuela with nearly 70%
of the proven crude oil reserves of the hemisphere, or nations of
medium size but of enormous strategic importance such as Colombia,
Peru, Bolivia, etcetc? The
imperialist oil geopolitics in the Golf of Mexico is just one
factor that gives a new angle to the projections of USA interests
over the region, affected not only Mexico and Cuba but the rest of
Latin America. The
consequences over sovereignty and national security are of great
importance and in especially note worthy for the Cuban case for
the previously mentioned reasons.
or without invasion, it is clear that the interventionist scale of
the USA towards Cuba is a point of action for both Bush as well as
the democratic candidate John Kerry.
But, to execute this military operation against the island
for a change in regime before or after the elections would be a
grave error, as it would generate as Saxe-Fernandez has indicated
condemnation regionally and internationally and a Cuban resistance
of unsuspected dimensions. The
political cost for the USA in Latin America could be considerable.
Cuba, to resist a highly costly economic and political scenario,
but above all social/human, product of the growing of controlling
manipulation of the United States or of a military operation,
clearly requires a strong unity and social resistance (before and
after such scenarios) but also of a growing job of denouncing
within the international context.
As a Cuban colleague was telling me, better to spill a drop
of sweat now rather than a drop of blood later.
CUBA Y LA GEOPOLÍTICA PETROLERA IMPERIAL EN EL GOLFO DE MÉXICO.
Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos
small island republic of Comoros has no oil or gas production,
either onshore or offshore. Its downstream oil industry is wholly
dependent on refined petroleum products imported from Tanzania and
other mainland African countries.
The industry is regulated by the Comoros Ministry of
Planning. Distribution and marketing of fuels products is carried
out by the state owned oil company, Societe Comorienne des
Hydrocarbures (SCH), the only oil company in the Comoros. The
company owns 2 products storage depots.
a population of 585,000 people and an economy based largely on
fishing and tourism, its consumption of petroleum products is
small. Oil-derived products supply 91.5% of the islands'
commercial energy needs.
seized power in a coup. Limited democratic progress has being made
in terms of an all-party agreement signed in February 2001.
President of the Comoran Union Azali Assoumani, is at
loggerheads with the three autonomous leaders, Abdout Soule Elbak
of Grande Comore, Mohamed Bacar of Anjouan and Mohamed Said Fazul
of Moheli, who accuse him of hogging the power and more
importantly the slim pickings, mainly from customs revenues.
Africans is interested to get influence in this geopolitical zone.
The Comores still owes South Africa $50-million of a soft loan for
hotel building during the apartheid era. Mired in debt, Comores
has no chance of repaying the South African loan, which
constitutes half of its annual repayments to other creditors. The
South African embassy closed nine years ago but there are plans to
reopen a mission later this year.
has always been the leader in this region.
is also showing an increased interest in these volcanic islands
that eke out an existence from exports of vanilla cloves, ylang
ylang and perfume oil.
which has a thriving cottage industry in farming out the troops
that King Mohamed VI is too scared to keep at home, is preparing
to deploy a group here as presidential guard to Assoumani.
new interest in the Comores and the Indian Ocean islands is that
of Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi. Gadaffi is determined to make
his influence felt in new fields. Libyan and other interest here
fuels growing speculation that there is oil in the Mozambique
July 2003 17:51
information & strategies to support African oil struggles
world-class commercial-scale gas deposit found at A-1 block
offshore Rakhine coast in the Arakan region of Burma.
deposit can hold gas from 4.2 trillion to 5.8 trillion cubic feet.
According to calculations, A-1 block may yield up to 14 trillion
cubic feet of gas
The Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise reached an agreement with the
Daewoo International Corporation of the Republic of Korea to
explore and exploit oil and gas at A-1 block offshore Rakhine
coast on 4 August 2000 under production sharing contract. Seismic
survey was conducted up to 3,552.75 line kilometres in the area in
2001. Follow-up measures were then taken. The offshore drilling
machine Energy Searcher started drilling at Shwe-1 test well in
the block on 21 November 2003 and struck the gas deposit on 26
December 2003 at the G-5 sand layer 10,588 feet below the seabed.
to the geological condition, the deposit may yield from 4.2
trillion to 5.8 trillion cubic feet of gas. Serving as the
operator, the Daewoo International Corporation has a 60 per cent
stake in the business, while Korea Gas Corporation, another ROK
enterprise is holding 10 per cent of the share; ONGC Videsh Ltd of
the Republic of India, 20 per cent; and GAIL (India) Ltd, 10 per
to the calculations, the whole A-1 block may yield up to 14
trillion cubic feet of gas.
development of this field is generating local resistance.
OUT OF THE TROPICS
PIPELINE OF TROUBLE IN GEORGIA
oil corridor through the Caucasus set to open next year, angers
villagers and environmentalists.
The 130 dirt-farming families in this Caucasus village
barely manage to scrape a living from the stony pastures they
collectively own. And so when a big oil company wanted to lay a
pipeline through this hard patch of earth, it was, as one local
leader put it, like "a bolt of good luck from heaven".
what looked like a boon is now clouded in discord.
residents are threatening to halt the project's advance by sitting
in front of the bulldozers when construction teams begin work in
Khaishi in May. "We'll put our babies down in their cradles,
if necessary, and we'll stay there as long as it takes to make BP
listen to us," says Natia Gulidani, reflecting the view of
dozens of her neighbors.
two-thirds of Khaishi's families claim they were cheated out of
their share of about $ 330,000 - a fortune here when their
former village headman and his relatives allegedly absconded with
the money BP and its partners paid to use the community's lands.
wending its way through local courts, the Khaishi case is but one
of a host of woes besetting the strategically crucial
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline - the only significant economic
development project in impoverished Georgia in a decade. The BTC
project, which will cost nearly $ 3 billion and snake 1,000 miles
through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, is slated to begin
pumping crude from newly opened Caspian oilfields to world markets
in April 2005. The US has strongly backed the project as part of
its effort to diversify petroleum sources away from the Persian
Russia, on the other hand, sees BTC as a direct threat to its own
existing pipeline network, which currently carries most of the
Caspian oil to export markets.
blame Georgian crime, corruption, and inept government oversight
for the escalating social tensions over the unequal division of
BP's generous land compensation payments.
"Our society is poor and traditional, and was
completely unprepared for this," says Manana Kochladze,
regional coordinator for Bankwatch, a Western-funded
nongovernmental organization that studies the environmental and
social impact of the pipeline. "Now, suddenly, a big
multinational company comes in, handing out jobs and big sums of
money to a few people, and all kinds of new problems seem to grow
out of thin air."
are not the only ones upset. Local environmentalists say they are
outraged by the decision to run the pipeline through the Borjomi
gorge, an alpine resort and the source of Georgia's most famous
brand of mineral water.
pipeline company, a consortium headed by BP, denies responsibility
for troubles cited by critics. BP spokeswoman Rusudan
Medsmariashvili says the company scrupulously follows Georgian
law, and lets the courts decide who is entitled to cash
compensation payments. In the case of Khaishi, she says, local
authorities and courts identified the owners of the land the
pipeline was to cross, and BP paid those people. "[The
company] relies entirely on the state authorities for the veracity
and timely provision of such information," she says.
the newly elected village headman in Khaishi, Guladi Umpriani,
says it's not that simple. Georgia's post-Soviet laws on land
ownership are imprecise, proper inventories nonexistent, and local
courts are corrupt, he says. News that BP wanted these lands for
the pipeline hit the destitute community like "a bolt of good
luck from heaven," Mr. Umpriani says. "We trusted our
(former) headman to draw up the necessary documents, and he
promised to get the best price and distribute it equally to the
whole village," he says. "Without our knowledge, he
registered his own friends and relatives as the owners, and they
got everything. The situation in this village is now very tense,
and could turn violent at any moment."
Umpriani says villagers don't actually blame BP for what happened,
but are angry that the company never sent anyone to talk to them,
to look into their problems, or to help them in their struggle for
justice. Experts say
that former President Eduard Shevardnadze is partly to blame for
fostering unrealistic expectations about the benefits BTC would
bring to Georgia's population of 4.5 million, more than half
living on less than $ 30 per month. "The government told
people the pipeline would create 60,000 jobs, and make everybody
rich," says Georgia's environment minister, Nino Chkhobadze.
says that only about 2,000 jobs will be created for
during peak construction; afterward, only 100 permanent jobs will
remain. The BTC pipeline will also generate about $ 50 million in
transit fees annually, or 7 percent of bankrupt Georgia's current
GDP, during its projected 40-year life span. But critics point out
that Georgia will be responsible for the security costs of its
154-mile portion of the pipeline, which could eat up to half of
Medsmariashvili says BP has launched a $ 5 million
Investment Program to improve local infrastructure and stimulate
economic development along the route in Georgia. It will fund 53
local projects such as providing clean drinking water, repairing
roads, fixing schools, and installing new irrigation systems.
November's "rose revolution," in which Mr. Shevardnadze
was overthrown in street demonstrations led by US-educated reformer,
now President-elect Mikhail Saakashvili, may have roiled the waters
by inspiring some Georgians with real or perceived grievances to get
aggressive with BP, experts say.
the past month there have been dozens of protests by villagers over
compensation payments and other complaints against BP," says
Ms. Kochladze. "The company's own Georgian construction workers
have been striking repeatedly over wages and overtime issues. This
may have been stimulated to some extent by the political example set
last November. "BP says it is paying workers between $ 200 and
$ 550 per month far above the average wage.
problem raising hackles here is BP's decision to run the pipeline
through the pristine Borjomi mountain gorge, an area known for
landslide hazards, where an oil spill could undermine tourism and
destroy the reputation of Borjomi mineral water - Georgia's answer
to France's Perrier water, and the country's third-largest export.
the very least this pipeline will ruin the visual landscape, which
can't be good for our hopes to bring tourists back here," says
Natia Muladze at the Borjomi State Nature Reserve, home to several
unique bird and plant species.
to BP's Ms. Medsmariashvili, the company decided not to use what
critics describe as a more direct and
safer route through Georgia's southern Akhalkalaki region
"based on the insistence of the Georgian government which was
concerned with the security issues associated with the presence of a
Russian military base in the district."
main employer in Akhalkalaki region is the Russian base, one of two
remaining in Georgia after the USSR's collapse. Both the US and the
new Georgian government of President-elect Saakashvili have urged
Russia to withdraw its troops, but the issue remains a serious bone
of contention between Moscow and Tbilisi.
Minister of Environment of Georgia is the only government department
that has yet to sign off on the pipeline. Ms. Chkhobadze
says she wants BP to reexamine the Borjomi route; the company says
the question is closed.
Georgians appear to support the pipeline as necessary for the
country's economic development and hopes to integrate with the West.
But critics say more public debate about the social and
environmental issues is needed.
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)
30, 2004 DAILY DIGEST
STORIES OF THOSE WHO RESIST
COMUNIQUE OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON OIL
AND GAS SECTOR POLICY REVIEW
Tuesday, April 6 to Wednesday, April 7, 2004, representatives of
civil society organisations, oil-bearing communities, academia and
the media met in Lagos for a two-day consultative meeting on oil and
gas sector policy review. The meeting was organised by the
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
observed as follows:
That the government on April 25, 2000 inaugurated the Oil and Gas
Sector Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) with the Vice
President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as Chairman. The duties of the
Committee include 'legal and regulatory policy reform which entails
reviewing the body of extant petroleum laws and establishing a
statutory basis for comprehensive regulatory activity in the sector
and balancing the interest of consumers, the environment and
operators'. The OGIC is reportedly composed of 25 experts and has a
British firm, Nextant Limited, as consultants while the peoples of
the oil-bearing communities whose lives and livelihoods are at stake
and concerned civil society organisations are not represented on the
Committee. Nor have they been consulted so far in the process;
As yet, information about the work of the reform committee is scanty
and the process non-inclusive and non-transparent;
That the oil and gas sector policy review is private sector driven
and based on the philosophy of neo-liberalism which places profits
That the plethora of environmental laws in Nigeria are yet to be
in a single document and remain inhumane, undemocratic and non-justiceable;
That Nigeria does not have a record of its crude oil deposits, sales
That there is a lack of political will on the part of government to
put a decisive stop to the indiscriminate flaring of gas in the
That since the return of civilian rule in 1999, the government has
deliberately refused to appoint a substantive minister in charge of
That contrary to popular belief that the controversy surrounding the
onshore-offshore dichotomy in derivation revenue has been resolved,
the littoral states are still being denied their entitlement to the
continental shelf contiguous to them but are allowed a varying
offshore that reaches a maximum of 200 metres depth in this day and
age when most new offshore finds are in deep waters whose control
has been vested exclusively on the central government;
on the foregoing observations, the meeting resolved as follows:
That the ongoing oil and gas sector policy reform process remains
unacceptable until it meets the criteria of transparency,
inclusiveness and popular participation;
That there is need for a clear legislation on community
participation in the Nigerian oil and gas sector;
That we demand a moratorium on new oil field explorations and
That there is need for research into alternative sources of
renewable energy in Nigeria;
That we endorse the democratic resolutions of the people as
contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights, the Kaiama Declaration of the
Ijaw, the Aklaka Declaration of the Egi, and others affirming the
right of communities to control their resources;
That all unjust oil and gas laws like the Land Use Decree, the
Act and others be abrogated;
That a post-oil environmental security fund is desirable to ensure
the remediation of the damaged Niger Delta ecosystem;
That the controversy surrounding the offshore-onshore dichotomy be
democratically resolved in favour of the oil-bearing communities;
That the government should put an immediate end to gas flaring,
ascertain the damage done to the environment and carry out
That a substantive Petroleum Resources Minister be appointed without
That the capacity of the state to regulate business be strengthened
ERA/FoE N firstname.lastname@example.org
NETS OF RESISTANCE
resistance to the Thai Malaysian Gas Pipeline Project began in 1998,
local villages leading the movement have come under heavy pressure
from the project´s powerful proponents.
This pressure has taken many forms.
They have being the target of biased media campaigns,
lawsuits, economic isolation and even violent attacks by the Thai
military and police.
roots of resistance of the Chana people are based on the experiences
of communities across Thailand.
The decision to resist the project was made after careful
study of the experiences of communities in Map Ta Phut and others.
Like an enciclopedia of traditional wisdom, these stories
show the myriad of threats the pipeline project poses to their
health, well -being and traditional culture.
Janchitfan developed the Chana people´s case for nearly 6 years.
However, reading article to article it is easy to miss story´s
bigger picture. This
book´s purpose is to give a holistic approach.
Satha Anand said about the book:
This book is about people who live by the sea, using
their nets to harvest the treasures from nature to earn their
livelihood. They have
felt threatened by a new kind of creature coming to their shore and
fought back. In fighting back, they have suffered the fate of a
minority who dare to question the modern project, legitimized by
conventional wisdom in the name of public benefit, supported by a
popular government in a democratic context.
Nets of Resistance is an attempt to shed light on their marginal
positions so that others might be able to understand more about
the protesters´ struggle and its importance to the larger
Thai society. But the
understanding this book engenders
is unusual because it also reflects an existing legitimate
rage of the protesters as well as a sense of duty of the
Jesus, at the end of this book, which I offer You
a ciborium of sufferings
the beginning of the Great Year, in the sunlight
Your peace on the snowy roofs of Paris
Yet I know that my brothers' blood will once more redden
yellow Orient on the shores of the Pacific
by storms and hatred
know that this blood is the spring libation
Great Tax Collectors have used for seventy years
fatten the Empire's lands
at the foot of this cross - and it is no longer You
of sorrow but, above the Old and New Worlds,
her right arm stretches over my land
her left side shades America
her heart is precious Haiti, Haiti who dared
Man before the Tyrant
the feet of my Africa, crucified for four hundred years
me recite to You, Lord, her prayer of peace and pardon.
The following is
from an emailed newsletter received by Culture Change April 28, 2004.
If you want to contact OilWatch Network
please send a message to email@example.com
RESISTANCE Number 44 March 2004
In the first part of this bulletin we have included the joint declaration presented
during the meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kuala
Lumpur by Oilwatch, the WRM and other organisations.
We also include news of the resistance of the Achuar peoples in Peru, news on oil
activities in the South, and as an information resource, some conversion charts in
units frequently used for oil and gas issues.
INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT OILWATCH
1. MAIN SUBJECT
Joint declaration for the Seventh COP of the Convention on Biological Diversity
2. RESISTANCE STORIES
Achuar people in Peru say "no" to oil exploration
3. OIL IN THE TROPICS
3.3. Latin America:
4. OUTSIDE THE TROPICS: Qatar
5. CLIMATE CHANGE
7. ECHOES FROM THE PRESS
8. USEFUL INFORMATION: TABLE OF CONVERSIONS
9. POEM - from Costa Rica
1. MAIN SUBJECT
Oilwatch, together with the WRM and Friends of the Earth International presented the
following Statement during the 7th Conference of the Parties of the CBD in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, held in February of this year.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL -
WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT - OILWATCH
JOINT STATEMENT ON PROTECTED AREAS TO THE 7TH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES OF THE
CONVENTION ON BIODIVERSITY
The World Rainforest Movement, Oilwatch and Friends of the Earth International (a
federation of 68 non-governmental environmental organizations from 65 countries)
believe that sustainable management of protected areas is a key pillar to
biodiversity conservation. However, we have noticed with regret the alarming rate at
which protected areas are being lost and decimated, due to the process of planning,
establishment and management, and more importantly, due to large-scale mining, oil
extraction and commercial logging activities. Most government designated protected
areas world-wide have been established at the exclusion of the rightful owners -
local communities and Indigenous Peoples - in the planning, establishment and
management of these areas. This is a clear violation of their ownership and rights.
Where then lies the protection and encouragement of customary use of biological
resources (article 10(c) of the Convention on Biodiversity) when local communities
and Indigenous Peoples are denied the right of access, under the flag of protection,
to the very resources that belong to them, while these resources are given out
eventually to large foreign conservation organizations, or to multinational
corporations for large-scale mining, oil exploration and logging activities.
To achieve sustainable management of protected areas and for that matter
biodiversity conservation, we urge parties to the CBD to adopt a program of work on
protected areas that clearly includes and explicitly safeguards the rights and
interests of local communities and Indigenous Peoples throughout the process of
planning, establishment and management of protected areas. We do not and will not
believe in parks without people, and we do not believe in a protected area program
without explicit safeguards for Indigenous Peoples' rights and other aspects of
We also emphasize the need to include a clear reference to the rights, interests and
role of women regarding protected area planning, establishment and management.
Moreover, a work program on protected areas can only be considered credible if it
includes an explicit rejection of mining, oil exploration, and large-scale
commercial logging activities in and around protected areas.
Also in this light, it should be ensured that sufficient funds are allocated to
national conservation programmes, so that we don't need to sell out conservation to
private actors like foreign conservation organizations, and oil, mining and logging
corporations. We also support the call for Action of our Indonesian colleague
organizations in this regard "Conservation is not for Concession".
Kuala Lumpur, 11 February 2004
2. RESISTANCE STORIES
PERU: RESISTANCE OF THE ACHUAR PEOPLE MAKES BURLINGTON WITHDRAW FROM BLOCK 64
The US oil company Burlington Resources is awaiting the formal approval of the
Peruvian Ministry for Energy and Mines to withdraw from Block 64. The motives put
forward by the company include indigenous opposition to exploration activities.
Burlington reached an agreement with the US company Occidental Petroleum, operator
of the block, to withdraw from it and transfer its 25% participation to OXY.
The block is in found in "circumstances beyond control" due to the opposition of
Achuar indigenous groups. When it leaves Block 64, Burlington will still keep its
other participation within Peru, continuing its exploration work in Blocks 70 and
The North of the Peruvian Amazon constitutes a vast collection of rivers and
currents, lakes, marshes and forests, including the marsh named the Abanico wetland
complex of the Pastaza River. This area was declared to be a RAMSAR site two years
ago. Furthermore it is the habitat to nine animal species found in Appendix I of
CITES and 17 species registered in the Red List of the UICN. But above all, this
region is the territory of the indigenous Achuar people of Peru. Traditional Achuar
territory comprises the Morona, Pastaza and Corrientes basins and tributaries in the
Loreto Department. This bi-national indigenous people shares its territory with
Ecuador where they have also defended their forests and biological resources.
In Peru the Achuar population is made up of approximately 14,000 people, distributed
between 80 communities and organised through three federations: ATI, ORACH and
For a decade the Achuar have managed to resist the strong pressure of oil companies
who aim to enter Block 64, but they suffer the pressurising strategies of the
companies every day.
In spite of the persistent resistance of the Achuar people, the framework for
economic liberalisation in Peru legislation establishes the State's right to grant
concessions to use hydrocarbon resources, even if they are found in forests with
high biodiversity and extreme fragility, or in titled indigenous land. In this
context, Block 64 has been handed over on the basis of a 30-year old contract system
for oil deposits and a 40-year contract for natural gas, causing serious conflicts
in the imposition of rights and for the destruction of the Amazonian environment.
It was in such a way that in 1995 the Peruvian Government established Block 64, with
953,790 hectares in Achuar territory, and handed over the exploration concession to
the US company Arco.
The ILO Convention No. 169 is in effect in Peru, and prescribes due consultation by
the State of indigenous villages when activities to use natural resources are
planned within their territories, but neither the oil company nor the Government
took the presence of these peoples into account before deciding about their rights.
When the Achuar people were informed of the government decision to hand over oil
concessions, they manifested their disagreement, basing their stance on the previous
dramatic experience of oil exploitation in neighbouring blocks 1AB y 8-8X. This was
carried out in a highly irresponsible fashion by the OXY company (now in the hands
of Pluspetrol) and to this day, 33 years later, operations that cause high
contamination of rivers and ground, loss of forest resources, serious and
irreversible impact to ecosystems and the health of the indigenous population
continue in the intervention areas. According to the Achuar, lead and mercury
deposits left behind from past oil work has remained, filtering into underground
water supplies and killing the oldest members of the Achuar population; they warned
that they are willing to rise up in arms against the oil companies.
The Achuar maintain that they live in peace in their territory thanks to their
respect for nature, and express the commitment they must keep up with their
ancestors by offering permanent protection to their forests: their ancestors wanted
to leave their children with healthy land to live on, did not want damage caused to
the land, forests, their sacred places, animal shelters, the air and clean water,
did not want their social life to be interrupted by stopping them from using their
many intercommunication paths between families kept in the forest, did not want
customs to be lost, but rather wanted them to keep feeling proud of being Achuar.
The old Achuar warriors stated that they were determined to defend their land, if
necessary with their own lives.
The tenacious decision of the Achuar of Block 64 to defend and protect their
environment, their forests, their life and culture permanently was a very arduous
process. According to the Achuar, during the dictatorial government of Fujimori,
civil servants received funding from the oil company to organise strategies to
divide up and persuade the population to accept oil activities, with gifts and
investment in health, education and other community public services, carried out by
a Multi-sector Commission made up of officials from all the Ministries responsible
for public services and under the leadership of the Defence Ministry. Fujimori's
government also used more perverse resources, such as false accusations,
intimidation, telephone tapping, military investigations and threats to the Achuar
and staff of the Racimos de Ungurahui, a non-governmental organisation that supports
the Achuar in their struggle.
Thanks to the hard struggle of the Achuar, and their persistent resistance to
government pressures, Arco abandoned Block 64. Nevertheless, in 2001 the block was
transferred to the Occidental Petroleum Company (OXY), the operator with 50% of the
interests in Block 64. The remaining 50% is held jointly by North American partners
Burlington Resources (who announced its withdrawal) and Repsol-YPF from Spain.
Burlington is a company with great influence in the North American government, since
one of the main shareholders is linked to the people very close to President George
The extraction operations have still not been started, but OXY has begun with a plan
to divide up the organisation of the Achuar, and have achieved so in seven
communities found far away from most of the Achuar communities within the area of
Block 64; these communities have signed an agreement accepting a payment in exchange
for oil activities being carried out on their land. A scholarship programme in Lima
is also being developed jointly with the Ministry for Energy and Mines, to train
young indigenous people as facilitators and community relations representatives for
the company in their communities; these young people are already working on forming
links and offering benefits that the oil company will bring when it comes into the
Achuar organisations have decided to act with greater precision this time, and
strengthen their organisation for this new intensive stage of oil intervention with
OXY, for which reason they are planning a communication strategy with communities,
with permanent meetings to encourage conversation and follow up the problem, holding
training workshops on indigenous rights, principally aimed at leaders who will then
replicate them in their villages. There are plans to boost indigenous development
plans and to pay attention to problems in all aspects of indigenous life, identified
in the Achuar Life Plan and entrusted to the organisation.
These peoples are also working intensely to consolidate the unity of the Achuar
people between Ecuador and Peru. The territory of the Achuar was the scene of a war
between the two countries for over 50 years. Since the signing of the peace accord
between Ecuador and Peru in 1998, the Achuar have actively participated in meetings
oriented to planning actions to exercise the fundamental right of all people to live
united in peace.
The Achuar in Ecuador, who share the same problem of having oil blocks superimposed
on their land in Ecuador and Peru, have decided to maintain the permanent protection
of their forests and not accept the development of oil activities in their land.
Source: Reuters and Racimos de Ungurahui, Peru (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. OIL IN THE TROPICS
Exploration for oil in Tunisia started in 1966 in the El Borma plain. The peak in
production was reached in 1998 with 110000 barrels per day (bpd) and then descended
to 82000 bpd in 1999. On top of that, 675 Dcf of natural gas is extracted. During
the next years around $400 million will be invested in exploration, above all in the
Gabes Gulf where there are reserves estimated to reach over 1500 million barrels of
crude. Tunisia has a refinery with a processing capacity of 34000 bpd. Despite the
Tunisia's potential, compared to its neighbour Algeria, its production is small.
The main oil fields in Tunisia are El Borma, Ashtart and Sidi el Kilani, and the
most important gas fields are El Borma (associated gas) and the Miskar offshore
field. In El Borma and Ashtart Túnez heavy crude is also produced.
28 national and foreign companies are present in Tunisia, including: Agip, Anadarko,
EHT, British Gas, Centurion Oil, CMS Oil and Gas, Samedan Oil, Marathon Oil, Kuwait
Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec), TotalFinaElf, Neste Oy, Oranje
Nassau, Union Texas Petroleum, Petro-Canada, Phillips Petroleum, Pluspetrol, EGEP
and Walter Enserch.
Recently the US company New Energy acquired the permit to explore the Alyane field
and the bi-national company Tunisia-Libya will explore in the oilfields in
Currently Tunisia has disputes over maritime areas with Libya, and also with Malta
on the commercial exploitation of oilfields in the continental platform between the
Also Eurogas, as an operator, GHP Exploration y ETAP (Enterprise Tunisienne
d'Activites Petrolieres) have started exploration work in El Hamra, 175km south-east
of the Gabes port.
There are currently 13 blocks ready to tender and the most important of them are
found on the border with Algeria.
These include Galite (9000 Km2), Cap Serrat (7400 Km2) and Bechater (8600 Km2), to
the North. Among the central blocks are Bahloul (1500 Km2), Mezzouna (4700 Km2) and
South Tozeur (2800 Km2). The Eastern blocks include Kelibia (2600 Km2), Bargou (3400
Km2), Nabeul (4000 Km2), the offshore block Mahdia (5600 Km2), Kaboudia (4500 Km2),
Sidi Mansour (3700 Km2) and La Skhira (3900 Km2).
A few weeks ago the Tunisian subsidiary of ENI, Agip Tunisia BV, and its partner
Paladin Resources PLC, found crude in the Awá-1 well in the Borj el Khadra field in
the South of the country. AGIP claims that in this field there are reserves of more
than 46 million barrels and that they hold deposits similar to those of the Adam
producer oilfields discovered in the Borj el Khadra fields in 2002. It is hoped
that the field will be in production by the start of 2004.
If ETAP confirms its intention to participate in the field in development, the
interests will be shared out in the following way: Agip 35%, ETAP 30%, Pioneer
Natural Resources 28% y Paladin Resources 7%.
Sources: Oil and gas Journal
Kenya is a country that still does not produce oil, nevertheless its exploration
projects are greater and greater in number. As in Tanzania, the best prospects in
Kenya are offshore.
The two main exploration areas, offshore and onshore, are in the Lamu bay along the
Southern coast of the country. Exploration work started in the 60s and 70s. Around
30 exploratory wells have been drilled, the largest number by the BP-Shell
consortium. From this time onwards, new projects and exploration work are being
carried out by other smaller companies.
In 1997, the Canadian company Tornado obtained licences to explore in the Eastern
region of the country, in the Mandera block, previously property of Shell, and where
results were already obtained in 1993.
More recently, in August 2002, the government handed concessions to Afrex (a company
registered in the Virgin islands) and others to the Australian PanContinental Oil
and Gas for onshore and offshore operations in the Kwale and Kilifi districts on the
country's coast. In May 2003, Woodside bought 40% of the operations of Dana
Petroleum and Star (20%) in deep water in the Lamu marine basin (Blocks L5, L7, L10
and L11), just to the north of the Shell 9-12 blocks in neighbouring Tanzania. In
July of last year, Woodside started seismic exploration in a portion of these
blocks, but results are not expected until 2005.
The limited exploration in this region of Africa contrasts with the Western coasts
of the continent, which continue to attract the biggest oil companies of the world.
Nevertheless, since the election of Mwai Kibaki as President of Kenya at the end of
2002 it is hoped that new investments will be made in this country.
Although it seems that the country does not have abundant reserves, the Community of
East African States has been set up, in which Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are
present. This association has revived a lively interest in promoting private
investment in energy, after having once been dissolved in 1977.
This is confirmed by the fact that the Kenyan government has invested nearly $1.6
million in exploration to attract more investors, and that the State National Oil
Company of Kenya (NOCK) has put 17 blocks out to tender. These blocks are in Nakuru,
Anza Graben, Mandera basin and the Lamu Bay. The blocks are mainly onshore with the
exception of South Lamu, which offers offshore blocks.
Kenya has a refinery with a processing capacity of 90,000 barrels per day, and the
demand for fuels amounts to 54,000 bpd. The distribution system consists of roads,
train and an oil pipeline system whose main route is Mombasa-Nairobi, in terrible
conditions. There is a second oil pipeline from Eldoret to Kisumu in the west of the
The Kenyan and Ugandan governments have also announced that they will carry out
works to increase the capacity to transport fuels, from Eldoret in Kenya to Kampala
in Uganda, under the auspices of the EAC.
Sources: Petroleum Economist
PETRONAS, the Malaysian State company, is engaged in increasing exploration and
exploitation programmes within the country and other places in the world. It current
objective on a national level is the Peninsular offshore fields as well as Eastern
Malaysia. Currently PETRONAS has 47 oil fields already in production, five of which
possess crude of high quality. Malaysia currently extracts 600,000 bpd and 5 billion
cubic feet of gas.
It is calculated that the Malaysian reserves are around 3.2 billion barrels of crude
and nearly 87.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. With its activities outside the country,
PETRONAS has accumulated its international reserves of an equivalent to nearly 3.7
billion of petrol, including the offshore reserves of the Malaysia-Thailand Joint
Development Area in the Gulf of Thailand.
This area is divided up into several blocks:
- Block A-18 with PETRONAS Carigali (JDA) Sdn Bhd (subsidiary of PETRONAS
Carigali), and Triton Oil Company from Thailand
- Block B-17 and Block C-19 with PETRONAS Carigali (JDA) Sdn Bhd and
Carigali-PTTEP International Operating Company (CPOC).
The joint Trans-Thailand-Malaysia Oil Pipeline System project will transport gas
from the MTJDA project to Changlun in Malaysia. This will be one of the key projects
in the follow-up of the TransAsian system.
The majority of oil production is close to the Malaya Peninsula in the waters
bordering Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The Truong Son Joint Operating Co. (JOC) has made a new offshore discovery in Block
46/02 in the Malaysia-Vietnam Commercial Agreement Area. JOC is property of
PetroVietnam Exploration & Production Co., (40% of shares), Talisman Ltd. (a
subsidiary of Talisman Energy Inc with headquarters Calgary and 30%) and PETRONAS
Carigali Overseas Sdn. Bhd. (subsidiary of PETRONAS with the remaining 30%).
Furthermore Tiga (PETRONAS, Shell and Mitsubishi) is in the project with $1.5
billion of LNG.
After PETRONAS, Murphy is the company with the greatest success last year in
Malaysia. Murphy Oil discovered important deposits of crude in Kikeh, to the South
of Block K. It is hoped that this block will come into production in 2007.
Apart from PETRONAS and Murphy, other foreign firms dominating the oil scene in
Malaysia are ExxonMobil, Shell, Unocal, Total, Husky, Inpex, Santos, ENI, Amerada
Hess, ConocoPhillips and BHP.
Shell (operator and owner of 40%) is exploring in Blocks G and J, in Sabah, in deep
waters. Shell's partners are ConocoPhillips (40%) and PETRONAS Carigali (20%).
Due to industrial development, Malaysia will be a net importer of hydrocarbons in
2010. As a way of dealing with this the oil companies are increasing their
exploration work (in Sabah and Sarawak). This is also being done in other countries
in the region so as to take hydrocarbons to Malaysia. Fields are being developed in
Brunei, in the Peral river basin in China, in the basin at the northeast of Palawan
in the Philippines, and in the Kunei basin at Kalimantan in Indonesia.
Sources: Oil and gas Journal
In India, coal continues to be the main primary energy source, reaching nearly 56%
of the total. There are however 25 sedimentary basins in the country that cover an
area of 1.78 million Km2, almost 82% onshore and the rest offshore. The large part
of the oil industry in India is under State control.
The State company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) practically has a monopoly
on the upstream sector.
The total of proven reserves reaches nearly 5 billion barrels of crude and 660
billion cubic metres of gas. These reserves, according to current oil consumption
patterns, will last for the next 20 years and the gas for 30 years.
Currently India produces more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day and around 7
billion cubic feet.
The ONGC company has recently made six new discoveries, in West Vasai (crude and
gas), GS-49 (gas) and GS-KW (offshore oil and gas) in Krishna-Godavari, Chinnewala
Tibba (gas) in Rajasthan, and Laipling-gaon (oil and gas) and Banamali (oil), both
Indian state interests are also in other countries, such as Russia, Iran, Iraq,
Libya, Burma, Vietnam and others.
To see maps of the hydrocarbon sector in India, visit:
Annual oil production in Peru amounts to over 90,000 bpd of crude and 44,542
thousand cubic feet of gas per day.
The main companies operating in Peru are:
CURRENT EXPLOITATION CONTRACTS
PLUSPETROL NORTE PLC (55%) - REPSOL/YPF (SPAIN) OWN 66% OF PLUSPETROL SHARES
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) (45%)
G. M. P. S.A. (100%) - KOREA
RIO BRAVO PLC OIL COMPANY (50%) - MEXICO
PAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, PERUVIAN BRANCH (50%) -
MERCANTILE PERU OIL & GAS (100%)
UNIPETRO ABC PLC OIL COMPANY (100%) - BRAZIL
G. M. P. S.A. (100%) - KOREA
SAPET DEVELOPMENT PERU INC.
PERUVIAN BRANCH (100%) - UNITED STATES /CHINA
VII / VI
PETRO-TECH PERUANA PLC (100%) - UNITED STATES
THE MAPLE GAS Co. OF PERU, PERUVIAN BRANCH (100%) - UNITED STATES
31-B - 31-D
AGUAYTIA ENERGY OF PERU SRLtda (100%) - The shareholders Aguaytia Energy of
Peru S.R.L., are subsidiaries of: Duke Energy International Company; El Paso
Energy International Company; Dynegy (Illinova Generating Company); Scudder
Latin American Power Fund; Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L) Global, LLC and
The Maple Gas Corporation
PEREZ COMPANY OF PERU PLC (100%) - ARGENTINA
PLUSPETROL NORTE PLC (60%) REPSOL/YPF SPAIN OWNS 66% OF PLUSPETRO SHARES
KOREA NATIONAL OIL CORP, PERUVIAN BRANCH (20%) - KOREA
DAEWOO INTERNATIONAL CORP., PERUVIAN BRANCH (11 2/3 %) -- SK CORPORATION (8
1/3 %) - KOREA
PETROLERA MONTERRICO PLC (100%) - PERU
PETROLERA MONTERRICO PLC (100%) - PERU
PLUSPETROL PERU CORPORATION PLC (36%) / - REPSOL/YPF SPAIN OWN 66% OF
HUNT OIL COMPANY OF PERU L.L.C., PERU BRANCH (36%) - UNITED STATES
SK CORPORATION, PERUVIAN BRANCH (18%) - KOREA
TECPETROL DEL PERU PLC (10%) - ARGENTINA, OF TECHINT GROUP
CURRENT EXPLORATION CONTRACTS
OCCIDENTAL EXPLORADORA OF PERU, PERUVIAN BRANCH (50%) - UNITED STATES
BURLINGTON RESOURCES PERU LTD., PERUVIAN BRANCH (25%) - UNITED STATES,
WITHDRAWS AND LEAVES TO OCCIDENTAL
REPSOL EXPLORATION PERU, PERUVIAN BRANCH (25%) - SPAIN
BARRETT RESOURCES (PERU) CORP., PERUVIAN BRANCH (85%) - CANADA
ADVANTAGE RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL, PERUVIAN BRANCH (15%) - UNITED STATES
OLYMPIC PERU, INC., PERUVIAN BRANCH (100%) - UNITED STATES
GMP PLC (100%) - KOREA
REPSOL EXPLORATION PERU, PERUVIAN BRANCH (60%) - SPAIN
BARRETT RESOURCES (PERU) CORP., PERUVIAN BRANCH (40%) - CANADA
BURLINGTON RESOURCES PERU LIMITED, PERUVIAN BRANCH (70%) - UNITED STATES
ADVANTAGE RESOURCES SELVA, LLC, PERUVIAN BRANCH (30%) - UNITED STATES
MAPLE PRODUCTION OF PERU, PERUVIAN BRANCH (100%) - UNITED STATES
PEREZ COMPANY OF PERU PLC (100%) - ARGENTINA
SYNTROLEUM PERU HOLDINGS LIMITED, Peruvian Branch (95%) - UNITED STATES
BPZ ENERGY INC. PERUVIAN BRANCH (5%) - UNITED STATES
PETRO-TECH PERUANA PLC (100%) - UNITED STATES
BURLINGTON RESOURCES PERU LIMITED, PERUVIAN BRANCH (100%) - UNITED STATES
Not long ago new contracts were signed between the Peruvian government and the
Peruvian branch of REPSOL EXPLORATION PERU to explore Block 90 in the Southern
Jungle, and another with the Peruvian Branch of BPZ ENERGY INC to explore Block XIX
located in the Northeast. Petrobras ENERGY PERU PLC, which was exploring Block 99 in
the Central Jungle, ended its contract with the Peruvian government. As a
consequence of these changes, on 31 December 2003 Peru had 27 contracts, of which 15
are for exploitation and 12 for exploration.
Several of these contracts are found in indigenous Amazonian land:
QUECHUA DEL PASTAZA
THE MAPLE GAS
THE MAPLE GAS
QUECHUA DEL NAPO
Business News Americas
Racimos de Ungurahui - Peru
Peruvian Energy Ministry
To see the Oil Activities Map in Peru visit:
In Nicaragua oil production still does not exist although the first exploration
projects were started in the 30s. In the 70s activities were started once again by
different international oil companies who carried out exploration and drilling
programmes in the country's continental platforms.
The main exploration areas are the Miskito and Perlas basins on the outside Atlantic
coast and the Sandino basin on the Pacific outside coast, with an approximate total
area of 120,00 Km2. The results of these exploration programmes indicate that
commercial deposits could exist, as both basins have a depth surpassing 10,000
metres. Shell, Esso and Unocal were the main companies present during this decade.
The so-called Miskito basin is found on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast and here past
exploratory activities had the result of the production of 25,000 Km of seismic
lines and drilling of 24 exploratory wells offshore and two wells onshore. Oil
exploration activities were suspended in 1978 due to internal conflicts in the
Years later, in 1999, a new marine seismic survey was led by the Norwegian company
Fugro-Geoteam, allowing the identification of new structural and stratographic
elements that had not been identified previously, and as a consequence, a more
precise localisation for future drilling (Sub-basin of Wonta - Verolania - East Nica
Ridge and San Juan). Along the Caribbean coast, 22,918 Km of marine seismic were
carried out, with registers of 26 exploratory wells drilled offshore and 2 onshore.
In May 1999, another 3,097 Km of marine seismic lines were explored by French
The Pacific coast of Nicaragua comprises the so-called Sandino basin, located
opposite the Caribbean plate of Nicaragua, covers an area of more than 30,000 km2;
it includes the Pacific platform of Nicaragua and on land extends as far as the
Nicaragua Depression, which reaches the Northeast and Eastern border of the basin.
Different oil companies operate in this region, mainly on the marine platform. In
the 70s approximately 10,900 Km of marine seismic lines were surveyed and 6
exploratory wells drilled, 4 offshore and 2 onshore. The oil exploration campaign
was held in the 1970s. Statoil and Geco-Prakla were the main companies present at
Recently in the Pacific Coast, 7,713 Km of marine seismic lines were reprocessed.
There are registers of 4 exploratory wells drilled offshore and also 1,360 Km of
seismic marine line 2D explored in 1990.
In June 1998, new oil legislation was approved, to promote, regulate and establish
basic conditions that govern hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities in
the country, as well as transport, storage and sale.
The total area subject to the first tender comprises 150,907 square km, distributed
in the following way: 113.938 km² in the Caribbean offshore, 3,423 km² in the
Pacific offshore and 33.546 km² in the Pacific offshore. Exploration of the blocks
will start in April 2004. The depths of the Caribbean will be the main zones to be
explored. If oil is found, the operator would have a contract for at least 30 years.
The last technical investigations, carried out by Japanese scientists with cutting
edge technology, "determined the existence of oil in a bedrock located in a basin of
the Caribbean Sea in Nicaragua, with a potential equivalent to 50 years", according
to information from the Nicaraguan Energy Institute.
After the round of tendering, four US companies (Infinity, MKJ Exploraciones,
Oklanicsa and Hellen Greathouse) will advance this year towards the exploitation of
oil and natural gas in Nicaragua, after finishing negotiations with the government
on a sea and land concession for five years.
In the eventuality of there being successful results, preliminary calculations
foresee production of 50,000 barrels per day of 159 litres of oil, and some 83,200
litres per day of natural gas, which would provide the country with $300 million per
The exploration activities that will start in September and last eight months, will
characterise the prospection area, the way of life of communities, marine life forms
and fauna susceptible to extinction.
The concession covers zones that reach Nicaragua's marine limits in the Caribbean
(excluding Corn island as well as the Miskitos, Peras and other islets found in the
zone) and the Pacific (excluding beaches), an area of land on the Caribbean coast
and another between Managua and the Rivas department to the South of the country.
In the Caribbean there are 140 indigenous communities, with 70-80,000 people of
Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Garífuna ethnicity, as well as many mixed-race people; many
of these will be affected by oil activities.
Map of Oil Explorations in Nicaragua please visit:
4. OIL OUTSIDE THE TROPICS
In Qatar, a member of OPEC, oil amounts to more than 50% of the country's GDP and
over 85% of its exports. Its proven reserves amount to 15.2 billion barrels, which
means that according to the current rate of extraction, the reserves will only last
for 23 years. As for proven reserves of gas, there are around 18 trillion cubic
metres, representing more than 5% of the world total and is the third biggest
reserve in the world.
Currently it produces more than 860,000 bpd, since in January 2002 OPEC members
decided to reduce their production quota.
The Dukhan offshore field, located on the Western coast of the country is the
biggest oilfield; there are six more offshore fields: Bul Hanine, Maydan Mahzam, Id
al-Shargi North Dome, al-Shaheen, al-Rayyan, and al-Khalij. Crude from Qatar is of
high quality, between 24o and 41o API degrees. The main consumers of oil from Qatar
are in Asia.
Currently, transnational companies extract a third of crude produced in the country,
and these same companies are pressuring so that the daily production rise to over 1
For example, ChevronTexaco has a contract with the Qatar government to operate in an
area of 6,740 Km2, known as Block 2 (almost all of the territory), except for the
Dukhan field. This company also possesses the No.1 offshore field, along with the
Hungarian company MOL.
Another offshore field recently in operation is the al-Rayyan field, in the hands of
Anadarko, previously run by BP BG, Wintershall, and Gulfstream Petroleum.
In turn, the al-Khalij field started to produce in 1997, after five years of
exploration at a rate of 6,000 bbl/d. Al-Khalij is located in Block 6, along the
length of the maritime border with Iran. The development of this field was suspended
in 1991 by Elf Aquitaine Qatar, but in 2002 it reached production of 60,000 bpd and
this will be increased to 80,000 bpd. The crude is of 18% API degrees with only 1%
Other important fields are Maydan Mahzam (60,000 bpd), property of Qatar Petroleum;
Bul Hanine (75,000 bbl/d) with 700 million barrels of recoverable reserves;
al-Shaheen, operated by the Danish company Maersk Oil Qatar (110,000 bpd), located
in Block 5; al-Shargi North Dome (ISND), initially discovered by Shell and now
operated by Occidental Petroleum (12,000 bpd.) who hope to reach 90,000 bpd with new
As far as natural gas is concerned, Qatar has reserves of 509 trillion cubic feet
(Tcf), falling into third place behind Russia and Iran. The majority of gas is found
in the North of the country, which is the biggest associated gas field in the world.
Additionally, the Dukhan onshore field contains an estimated 5 Tcf of associated gas
and 0.5 Tcf of non-associated gas. Other reserves are in al-Shargi, Maydan Mahzam,
Bul Hanine, and al-Rayyan.
As for the downstream sector, ExxonMobil reached an agreement with the Qatar
government that allows the production and sending of 15.6 million tonnes of
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the United States. This project represents the
largest importation of LNG for US consumption.
The gas will come from the Ras Laffan LNG (RasGas) reserves in the North of Qatar,
which has proven reserves of over 900 trillion cubic feet, of which over 26 trillion
cubic feet are destined to this project. The project will be up and running in 2008.
RasGas, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, will build all the
installations for the LNG in the industrial city of Ras Laffan. Meanwhile,
Occidental will invest in better technology for discovering new oil deposits.
Oil and gas Journal
5. CLIMATE CHANGE
CHANGES IN WATER TEMPERATURE WILL CAUSE MASSIVE EXTINCTION OF ANIMALS
Oceans are reservoirs and redistributory agents of many important constituents of
the world's climatic system, among them: temperature, freshwater and carbon dioxide.
While these constituents are actively exchanged in the atmosphere, salt is a
composite that remains in the ocean in essence.
The measurement of salt levels in sea water allows us to diagnose the flows of
freshwater that pour into it.
In this investigation, the authors show us that the levels of salinity in the
Atlantic Ocean between the 1950s and 1990s have varied according to latitude.
Towards the poles the level of salinity has diminished, while at low latitudes it
These results are yet another consequence of climate change and show the changes in
hydrological systems and cycles in the world.
Nature Magazine 426, 18 December 2003
GAVORA, Dieter. URUCU. The social, ecological and economic impact of the "Urucu" oil
and gas project in the state of Amazonas. Curitiba. Brazil. 2003.
The Urucu project forms part of the opening up for oil in the heart of the Amazon,
in spite of the enormous questioning on behalf of the riverside communities, the
population of Coari (the central location of the project), ecologists and other
NGOs. The local riverside population in the Brazilian Amazon, with their traditional
and sustainable economies, are the main people affected by this project.
This investigation, carried out between 1998 and 2000, presents as preliminary
results the enormous social and environmental impact presented by the project along
its gas pipeline and secondary pipelines.
The content of the book includes detailed information on the affected population,
and about the city of Coarí. There is also a chapter with historical data about oil
in the Brazilian Amazon, and on the Urucu project. Finally, it includes information
with instruments for control and vigilance of the project, and alternative energy
More information on the Urucu project:
7. ECHOES FROM THE PRESS
INDIA: New oil discoveries in the Gulf
The Times of India, 15 January 2004
The new findings have been qualified as the biggest deposits in the world outside
the Arabic peninsular. They have been found in the region of Rajasthan. British Oil
and the British-owned Cairn Energy announced that initial estimates found in the
zone, to the South of the Saraswati river, are of approximately 500 million barrels
The finding is similar to that found in the Krishna Godavari basin in March of last
year, which was initially calculated to have reserves of 1.2 billion barrels.
Cairn has been involved in intense exploration along the 5000 km2 of the Rajasthan
Block, but has still not made a formal presentation of its discoveries.
Nevertheless, according to its manager in London, Bill Gammell, these findings will
be very important to the company's profile.
Cairn shares rose by 40% after this information leaked out, with the company's
current value around $1.4 billion. This is the biggest all-British company in
exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons.
The Indian Oil Minister, Ram Naik, said that the recent findings will make this
State into the third biggest fuel provider in the country, after Gujarat and Assam.
According to the manager of the State company ONGC, Subir Raha, the discovery was
medium-sized. The giant State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has the rights to
30% of any development and all commercial discoveries in this area.
Experts coincide in stating that the quality of the crude is similar to that of the
North Sea, or even to that of the Middle East, only that the reserves are much
Cairn has paid much attention to Bangladesh as well as India in recent years.
However it recently threatened to abandon its blocks in Bangladesh when the country
refused to sell its gas to India, the main market for oil and gas in the region.
The CAIRN ENERGY company, based in Edinburgh, has signed an agreement with the State
company India Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for the joint exploration of
two blocks in the country.
Cairn has 90% of interest in the KG-DWN-98/2 offshore block in the Krishna Godavari
marine basin, waters outside Andhra Pradesh. The results were encouraging, although
the discovery of an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by Reliance
Industries in the adjacent block won more attention from investors.
Cairn also maintains 15% of the interest for exploration in the CB/OS-2 block and
10% in the Lakshmi and Gauri areas of the CB/OS-2 block; and 30% in each of the
GV-ONN-97/1 (in the north of India) and CB-ONN-2001/1 (in Gujarat) blocks, both
belonging to ONGC.
8. USEFUL INFORMATION
CONVERSION TABLE FOR COMMON OLADE ENERGY UNITS
m3 Gas Nat.
pc Gas Nat.
m3 Gas Nat.
pc Gas Nat.
a.. 1bbl GLP = 0.6701 Bep
b.. 1bbl = 0.15898 m3 = 5.6143 pc
c.. 1m3 GLP = 552.4 kg
d.. 1pc = 0.028317 m3
Barriles / Barrels
Barriles equivalentes de petróleo
Barrels of oil equivalent
Unidad Térmica Británica / British Thermal Unit
Gigavatios / Gigawatts
Gigavatios-hora / Gigawatt-hour
Habitantes / Inhabitants
Kilogramo / Kilogram
Kilovatios-hora / Kilowatt-hour
Gas Licuado de Petróleo
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Metros cúbicos / Cubic meters
Megavatios / Megawatts
Megavatios-hora / Megawatt-hour
No aplicable / not applicable
Pies cúbicos / Cubic feet
Teracalorías / Teracalories
Toneladas equivalentes de carbón /
Tons of coal equivalent
Toneladas equivalentes de petróleo /
Tons of oil equivalent
Toneladas métricas / Metric tons
Teravatios-hora / Terawatt-hour
Source: OLADE, Energy-Economic Information System (SIEE)
barrel [for petroleum, 42 gallons (U.S.)] (bbl)
cubic meter (m3)
barrel [for petroleum, 42 gallons (U.S.)] (bbl)
cubic foot (ft3)
cubic meter (m3)
gallon [Canadian and U.K. (Imperial)] (gal)
cubic meter (m3)
gallon [Canadian and U.K. (Imperial)] (gal)
gallon (U.S.) (gal)
cubic meter (m3)
gallon (U.S.) (gal)
cubic meter (m3)
UK gallon = 1.201 US gallons
US gallon = 0.8327 UK gallons
UK bulk barrel = 36 UK gallons = 43.2342 US gallons = 0.1637 u.m.
Those who cut down life
who break off the air and kill the wind
make themselves deaf to the cry and sob
of the river, the plants and the flowers.
Those who see a Colón* signs in the mountains
feel happy when they see the desert.
Crossing its own path while crying with sorrow
the earth cracked open, the skin extremely dry,
the vultures flying around stones
the plants withered with faces of sadness
the rivers drowning of thirst and hope.
So life confronts death,
they fight a duel with many weapons,
the fight is horrible, the sun fades away
silence howls hidden in the shadows
while a cloud moves discreetly
looking to escape from such a struggle.
The brawl finishes, death sits up straight,
with laughter and cries the desert celebrates
life falls flat in the sand
sobs are heard crossing the mountain
the mourning sky hides itself in nothingness.
Walter Quesada Fernández, Costa Rican poet.
* Colón is the currency of Costa Rica
Resistanceen mailing list
The following is
from an emailed newsletter received by Culture Change October 9, 2003
RESISTANCE BULLETIN No. 41
OILWATCH RESISTANCE NETWORK TO OIL ACTIVITIES IN THE TROPICS
central theme of this issue of Resistance is oil refineries.
country with the largest capacity for oil refinery in the world is the United
States (16.510 thousand barrels a day in 1999), followed by Japan (5.110
thousand barrels a day in 1999), China (5.020 thousand barrels a day in 1999)
and Germany (2240 thousand barrels a day in 1999).
there are other countries, especially islands that have a high refinery capacity
compared with their territorial area and their energy needs.
This group of countries includes Singapore.
In the past two of the biggest refineries were in Aruba and Curacao, both
Dutch colonies. Today their
refinery capacity is relatively low related to world capacity, but in continues
to be an important factor in the internal economy, as well as factor regarding
environmental and social impacts that this activity generates.
first refinery in Aruba was built by Shell in 1928 (Eagle Oil Refinery).
In 1932, Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) built the Lago refinery.
Shell pulled out of Aruba in 1953, but it is still the seventh largest
refinery in the world and employs more than 16% of the islands population.
The refinery was closed in 1985 and reopened again in 1990 by the Texan
company Coastal Corporation. El
Paso Energy now operates it.
has been frequently identified that the refineries have a environmental
racism character, and because of this many groups that work in the area of
environmental justice have dedicated much time and energy to the theme of
IMPACTS OF OIL REFINERIES
TWO DEATHS IN REFINERY ACCIDENT IN VENEZUELA
REP CALLS FOR PROSECUTION OF REFINERY TAM CONTRACTORS
IN THE TROPICS
OF THE TROPICS
SOUTH AFRICA: SHELL/BPS
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF OIL REFINERIES
Contamination of superficial waters
refinery produces waste in different areas:
area, cemented areas, in the storage tanks, in the system for the treatment for
residual wasters and oil wastes.
sources of contamination are those that come from the polyduct and flow lines.
contamination of superficial waters can be aggravated with a bad drainage system
and the system of rain water collection that is used for the collection of waste
from the different processes, such as oil substances that come from the
separator, discharges from laboratories, cooling waters, and condensation.
systems consist of aeration of water in pools, which contain high levels of
contaminants, including phenol chromates, benzeno and others.
These pools can overflow and contaminate everything around them.
operations in the refineries produce solid and liquid waste, some of it routine
and some accidental, that infiltrates subsoil.
staid of permanent filtration pools for the collection of wastes, the pools can
be simple excavations in the ground with evacuation channels that lead to other
bodies of water.
refineries also produce particle emissions, volatile hydrocarbons and the
combustion of oil-based fuel generates particles of sulfur dioxide, nitrate
oxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
These emissions are released in the distinct phases of operation,
including the catalytic unit, the heating process of hydrosulfuration, burning
of gas, the storage of crude oil and refined products.
in the refinery is transformed into H2S04 when it comes in contact with clouds
and this produces acid rain.
can be smelt several kilometers from the refinery.
of the volatile and toxic chemicals released in the air can enter into the body
through breathing, or through the skin, and can produce irritation in the eyes.
Other contaminants include ammonium, methanol, hexane, the gas additive
MTBE and many others associated with cancer.
organic compounds that contain lead can be poisons, carcinogenic and affect
refinery operations also produce noise contamination.
The main sources of this type of contamination are the high velocity
compressors, control valves, the oil pipeline system, vapor turbines and the
chimneys where the gas is burned.
level of noise is typically between 60-110 dBA at a distance of one meter from
the source of the noise. It has
been registered that when a person is exposed to noise that is above 90 DBA for
8 hours non-stop, that there ear can be physically damaged, as well as stress is
majority of primary material and liquid additives of intermediary products in
the process of crude refinery are volatile.
are very weak security measures in the refinery to control temperatures,
inflammable material, explosives, corrosives and products that contain highly
transport operation and in the storage and manipulation of oil and its
derivatives, there is always the danger of fires from explosions, which
constitutes a constant danger for the plant, the local population and
and fires make the refinery a time bomb since at any moment it could blow up.
This provokes stress, fear and other psychological alternations,
manifested by loss of sleep, falling off horses, little attention given to
children in the home, and other psychological unbalances.
one of the products of the refinery, possesses great quantities of additives,
including lead, which is associated with cancer.
groups of human beings that are at risk include employees of the refinery,
including those that work win the distribution, storage and sale of products; as
well as the populations that live close to the refinery, service stations,
storage sites, and those who drink the contaminated water.
VENEZUELA: TWO DEATHS IN REFINERY ACCIDENT IN VENEZUELA
Two workers died and another two were hurt as the result of an accident in
the Refinery El Palito, in the state of Carabobo, 100 kilometers west of
Caracas, the state Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) informed. "Guillermo Pérez
(38) and Rafael Álvarez (29), both employees in the area of maintenance of the
Refinery El Palito, died from affixation when they were working on a routine
activity in the Alkyls plant of the complex, said a communiqué from
management of this refinery.
two injured employees were taken to a nearby hospital and are in stable
condition the statement said.
manager of the refinery, Asdrubal Chávez, said in a press conference that a
technical committee will establish the cause of the deaths.
dont have any explosions or fires, the plant is currently operating, he
said to reporters, and added that sabotage could be a possible cause of the
information: NETWORK FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE -
CALLS FOR PROSECUTION OF REFINERY TAM CONTRACTORS
.- Rep. Leo Ogor (Isoko, Delta
State) has called for the prosecution of all those involved in the failed Turn
Around Maintenance projects of the country's oil refineries estimated to have
gulped $700 million.
newsmen in Abuja Thursday, Mr. Ogor lamenting that the ensuing fuel crisis has
exposed the incompetence of the Nigerian nation warned that the N40 per liter
price of petrol would soon be jacked up unless the fundamental issues bedeviling
the sector were addressed.
that $700 million had been poured down the drain in the turn around maintenance
of the refineries, the legislator observed with disdain that the contractors and
agents of the companies that executed the rehabilitation were walking freely in
are we in this mess? The people that are supposed to be doing their jobs are not
doing their jobs those jobs were not done and these people are walking about as
free men probably around the corridors of power wanting to get more jobs from
Ogor asserted that the government approach to the issue through increasing
prices of petroleum products to check smuggling would in itself turn again to
hurt the economy warning that inflationary pressures would sooner or later upset
present government projections.
will lead to inflation which will again lead to depreciation of the naira which
will in turn lead to more smuggling and then new pressures to push up prices of
the petroleum products". He affirmed that the only way out was for the
government to look inwards and build more refineries warning that failure to do
so would lead to escalation of prices. "I can assure you that in the next
two years we will also be faced with another petrol increase because the main
issue has not been addressed."
idea of concentrating on imports should be stopped, so we have to come out with
policies on looking inwards, because if we do not look inwards we won't go
at all the oil producing countries, none of them is importing petrol.
to Mr. Ogor, the basic flaw in the oil sector was traceable to the import
orientation syndrome of the society which has made the citizenry to be subjected
to import as a way of life.
first refinery came in the sixties and that was the time that Indonesia,
Malaysia also built their first refinery. Forty years after, go to Indonesia you
will be amazed that their refineries are functioning effectively, they are able
to build their own refineries but today instead of addressing the main issue we
are talking about importation of petrol."
OIL REFINERY COMPANIES
five oil refinery companies with the largest income in 2002 were:
Oil Company Ltd (Japan)
Oil Corp (Japan)
Shell Sekiku KK (Japan)
General Sekiku KK (Japan)
Energy Corp. (USA)
TOP 25 OIL REFINING ABILITY PER CAPITA
421.11 barrels per day per 1000 people
379.19 barrels per day per 1000 people
291.96 barrels per day per 1000 people
United Arab Emirates
210.45 barrels per day per 1000 people
74.43 barrels per day per 1000 people
72.48 barrels per day per 1000 people
68.51 barrels per day per 1000 people
63.96 barrels per day per 1000 people
56.68 barrels per day per 1000 people
54.11 barrels per day per 1000 people
53.8 barrels per day per 1000 people
45.52 barrels per day per 1000 people
43.29 barrels per day per 1000 people
39.85 barrels per day per 1000 people
38.19 barrels per day per 1000 people
37.8 barrels per day per 1000 people
36.49 barrels per day per 1000 people
32.44 barrels per day per 1000 people
31.79 barrels per day per 1000 people
31.33 barrels per day per 1000 people
30.16 barrels per day per 1000 people
25.51 barrels per day per 1000 people
24.51 barrels per day per 1000 people
23.76 barrels per day per 1000 people
22.7 barrels per day per 1000 people
TOP 25 OIL REFINING ABILITY
6.6 million bbl/d (1/1/02E)
4.8 million bbl/d (1/1/02E)
4.5 million bbl/d (1/1/02E)
2.6 million bbl/d (1/1/02)
2.30 million bbl/d (12/1/02E)
2.1 million bbl/d (1/1/03E)
1.9 million bbl/d (1/1/03E)
1.8 million bbl/d (1/1/02)
1.75 million bbl/d (1/1/02)
1.7 million bbl/d (1/1/03E)
1.3 million bbl/d (1/1/02E)
1.3 million bbl/d (1/1/03E)
1,220,000 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
1.15 million bbl/d (1/1/02E)
992,745 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
889,200 bbl/d (1/1/03E)
846,250 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
726,250 bbl/d (1/1/03E)
719,275 bbl/d (1/1/03E)
681,750 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
United Arab Emirates
514,750 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
514,500 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
468,547 bbl/d (1/1/02E)
442,000 bbl/d (1/1/01E)
438,750 bbl/d (1/1/03E)
Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy, quoted in
This data exclude USA. According
with BP (June, 2003), the refinery capacity of this country is of 16,761
thousand barrels a day.
OIL IN THE TROPICS
GAS CONQUERS PARIA AND THE DELTANA PLATFORM
two projects will make possible the construction of the industrial complex
Mariscal de Ayacucho, similar to that of José in the State of Anzoátegui, in
which natural gas will be used coming from the off-shore exploitations as a
feeding source for a series of producer plants of fertilizers and petrochemical
energy promise of at least three years ago seems to finally be coming to a
close, after a long process of revisions, negotiations and fallbacks.
The development of natural gas reserves, a hydrocarbon that in the fast
was considered a nuisance to oil companies of the national industry, has
achieved popularity by the way of two large projects that will materialize in
the east of the country and just in the construction phase will provide directly
and indirectly about 250,000 employment opportunities.
the two plans, the most advanced is the Mariscal Sucre, substitute of the failed
Cristóbal Colón in the decade of the 80s, and whose objective is to exploit
natural gas reserves that exist in the north of the Paria peninsula and whose
nucleus is represented by a liquefaction gas plant whose production will go to
its main destination in the east coast of the United States.
other, which will be carried out in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Orinoco
Delta, is not only more ambitious, but also more complex, because it means
carrying out exploration and exploitation activities of natural gas at the
charge of a greater number of companies, and with a large territorial extension,
for which the Ministry of Energy and Mines will formulate a national oil policy
with oil companies of Venezuela, and will execute the project, for which it
needs to direct energy and force into the supervision and coordination among
until now Venezuela holds seventh place among the countries in the world with
the biggest reserves of natural gas, after Russia, Iran, Qatar, United Arab
Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
the case of Venezuela, the resources of this hydrocarbon -- the associates and
non-associates of oil production add up to approximately 227 billion cubic
feet. From this quantity, 146
billion cubic feet are tested reserves and at the same time 91% of these are
subject to the ups and downs of oil production.
who have defended the expansion of the natural gas industry in the country have
taken into consideration this reality, in other words, the dependency that is
currently presented in the production of this resource faced with oil activity.
This, without mentioning the existing deficit in the national market and
especially in the east, explains the great necessity to look for deposits with
the intention of increasing the tested reserves, attacking the growing markets
in the exterior and encouraging the consumption of fuel that is cleaner and
cheaper within national territory.
is important to mention that the work in Mariscal Sucre as well as in the
Deltana platform are only a small part within the universe represented by global
financial needs in this sector, requirements calculated to be more or less 100
million dollars, in order to carry forward the business of natural gas through
the exploitation of reserves that a nation possesses in its coastal area.
it could also be more, pointed out the director of Proyects and Plans of the
Direction of Hydrocarbons for the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Luis Vierma, who
has calculated that this quantity to be executed in 40 years is still very
start of operations in Mariscal Sucre, in Paria, will mean obtaining some 700
million dollars during 25 years. Approximately
1.5 million dollars will be destined for the purchase of national goods and
gas liquefaction project is a business in which the national Fisco, Venezuelan
Oil, Shell, Mitsubishi and the strategic partner Ejecutivo, hope to obtain more
than 14,52 million during the fourth cycle that the contract is supposed to
to calculations, once operations have begun in the agenda this is indicated
to be in 2007 the country will obtain approximately 700 million dollars a
year, thanks to the exportation of 4. million metric tones to markets on the
east coast of the United States and the commercialization of some 300 million
cubic feet internally.
the 14.52 million dollars, Venezuela would make 11.03, divided in the following
way: 5.24 for PDVSA, 4.44 for taxes
and 1.35 for royalty payments.
vice minister of Hydrocarbons, Bernardo Álvarez, explained that the selection
process of companies that will accompany PDVSA in this initiative, took into
account the following conditions with the intention of generating advantages for
Vertical integration of the business.
Guarantee of access and valuation of attractive markets.
Participation in re-gasification terminals that already exist.
Assured supply to internal market.
More locals and local material in the contracting of goods and services.
Application of programs on the formation of human capital and technology
Development of industrial gas complex similar to the already existing José,
Acceptation of legal and fiscal framework in the Republic of Venezuela.
Sucre will be born thanks to the construction of a train of liquefaction of
natural gas, fed with the reserves (some 10.3 trillion cubic feet of gas)
located in the north of the Paria Peninsula, Sucre state.
In this zone 34 wells will be dug distributed in 4 deposits: Río Caribe,
Patao, Mejillones and Dragón. During the execution of work, approximately 1.5
million dollars will be destined to the purchase of national goods and services.
the end of the first semester of this year the Minister of Energy and Mines
(then Álvaro Silva Calderón); the president of Petróleos de Venezuela, Alí
Rodríguez Araque; the executive president of Shell Gas and Power, Linda Cook,
and the director of Mitsubishi Corpotarion, James Brumm, made the commitment, in
the Salón Ayacucho at the Palace in Miraflores, to begin the necessary studies
in order to establish the economic reach of the exploitation of natural gas
fields not associated with the production of crude located in the north of the
process, which was supposed to have finished at the end of June 2003, should be
finalized with the subscription of the definitive contract that the parts will
take on. There is time then to
clear some questions related to the future of Mariscal Sucre.
project in the north of Paria represents an investment of an estimated 2.5
- 3 million dollars. In the
property of the State 60% has been reserved, which will be reduced if Ejecutivo
decides to include a new partner, in function of the actions that since months
ago the Ministry of the Energy and Mines is carrying out.
a decision will result in a series of important consequences with respect of
de-participation of the mentioned initiative.
In the first place, this would not be able to consider itself as the
fruit of a state company if the new partner can do it with at least 11% of this
portion, which the take the participation of the Venezuelan State to 49%, the
appropriate limit for, for example, accessing with greater facility capital
markets. Because as it is well
known, in these types of developments it could be that 70% of new money coming
from international banks is necessary under the figure of direct loans or the
placement of bonds.
FIRST IN FIVE
from Paria, the Deltana Platform consists of various actors.
But it is also a playing field, since the five areas that were initially
identified and total a little more than 6,000 thousand square kilometers,
compared with a total of 23,000 square kilometers.
framework agreement for the development of existing resources in this region has
already been signed by representatives of the companies and consortiums selected
by Ejecutivo for three of the five blocks.
Gas (BG) goes hand-in-hand with Chevron-Texaco in Block 2 (el Loran). While they
are waiting to see who will operate in Blocks 3 and 4 (Lau Lau and Cocuina),
they wait for the result of the competitive process between the consortium
integrated by the Norwegian state Statoil-Norks Hydro and the French-Belgium
strategies have been decided for Blocks 1 and 5.
in the first, the Ministry of Energy and Mines has decided to carry out a
direct negotiation with the multinational British Petroleum, which maintains
operations in natural gas exploitation in deposits that transcend Venezuelan and
Trinidadian borders. In terms of
Block 5, Bernardo Álvarez explained that because of its complexity, which
means deep wells, the development modality will be announced in the first
trimester of 2003.
managing director of the French-Belgium company, Jean Michel Gires, calculates
that for the development of a integrated vertical business which goes from
exploration activities to the commercialization of liquid gas -- it is necessary
to invest approximately 4 million dollars.
maintains interest in the country in the three projects in the hydrocarbon
sector. In the strategic
association Sincrudos de Oriente (Sincor) in which it has injected 4.2 million
dollars and whose goal is to produce 180,000 barrels daily of synthetic oil, it
maintains 47% of actions. This goes
hand in hand with Petróleos de Venezuela and the Norwegian state company
million dollars have been designated to the Jusepín and Cotoperí fields
where right now between 38,000 and 40,000 barrels daily are being produced of
light crude and whose capacity will be increased to 45,000 barrels daily in
2003. And in the natural gas field Yucal Placer, with a hoped initial production
of 100 million cubic feet for 2003, 69.7% in integrated association with the
Spanish Repsol and the Venezuelan Otepi and Inepetrol.
has offered to invest up to $3 million in the Deltana Platform, contribute 10
million dollars to a oil development fund destined to finance medium and long
term projects with the state company, and cooperate with Petróleos de Venezuela
in order for it to become a large offshore operator, through the
technology transfer and the formation of human resources.
president of Statoil Venezuela, Marcel Kramer, and the manager of the
development of new business in Venezuela, Gilberto Cárdenas, assure that they
are ready to start as son as the receive the word from Ejecutivo.
Dramfield, representative of BG, has been optimistic in terms of the high
prospective of gas in this area. Meanwhile,
Alirio Moshire, of Chevron-Texaco, commented that the aspiration of this
transnational is that the gas in this zone be sold in the United States.
of Friends for the defense of Gran Sabana-AMIGRANSA email@example.com
Oil is a company that is in clear process of expansion (in 1997 it occupied 36th
place in the world classification of oil companies, and in 2001 it was in 10th
place). With its base in Houston
(USA) and its interests in Equatorial Guinea, it has grown notably in the last
few years. At the end of 2001
(officially January 3, 2002) it acquired through 993 million dollars of Guinean
shares the company CMS Energy and on the 20th of June, 2002, for another 155
million, the other small company (Globex), in both cases located in the Alba
deposits, visible from Malabo, the capital of the country.
In September 2002, the Guinean government approved the expansion of
capacity (Phase 2A) of this field, whose work will be finished in the last
months of this year. Another phase,
2B, will be available at the end of 2004. This
has all converted Marathon Oil in one of the most important companies in
the moment is disposes of 63.33% of Block (Alba), 47% of Block D, 52.4% of a
condensing factory, 45% of a methanol factory (Atlantic Methanol Production) and
52.2% of a LPG factory (liquid petroleum gas that comes from refined brute oil;
it is formed from 80% propane and 20% butane; this fuel is considered
clean, and whose utilization, for example, in collective transport in big
cities will notably diminish pollution levels).
second phase of oil exploration and exploitation in Guinea (the first would be
in the colonial period and in the intents of Elf and Hispanoil and GEPSA in the
early 80s) began in 1990 with the work of Walter International.
In successive years, United Meridian Corporation obtained concessions
without much success. Both were
small North American companies, but in 1995 UMC associated with Mobil Oil.
Up until now, exploitation has centered in the Alba deposit, but in 1995
they also entered into Zafiro (to the west of Bioko Island) and Mobil Oil there
produced, in 1997, 40,000 barrels/day.
Mobil Oil, other large and medium companies have invested in the sector.
who presently have an interest in the country are: Marathon Oil, Amerada Hess,
Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, Vanco Energy, Ocean Energy, Energy Africa y
Petronas. The first six are American; Energy Africa has its central base in
Johannesburg and Petronas (the last to come in) in Malaysia.
at these thirteen years, from many points of view, the development of this
sector has had very few repercussions in the rest of the Guinean economy.
The oil sector is still isolated in an environment characterized by
misery and the idleness and control of the government.
The 2003 edition of Bilan du Monde, edited in Paris by the group Le
Monde, says of Guinea: "At the edge of the black gold, there is no other
economic sector of interest to the Guinean authorities.
Infant mortality is still higher than Sub-Saharan Africa (107,7 of infant
deaths in the first year related to infants born and survived). A study done in
1995 shows that 5% of the population (around 20,000 people) controlled 80% of
the national wealth. PNUD estimated
in 1996 that 60% of the population (some 240, 000 people) lived in absolute
poverty, which implicated levels of income inferior to 365 dollars/year, in
other words, less than 500 F CFA daily (125 pesetas).
companies have done nothing but act as allies and accomplices with the Guinean
close relations between Mobil Oil and the Guinean government began in 1995.
In this relationship, Pastor Micha, the current Minister of External
Relations, played an important part (at that moment he was recently named
ambassador in Washington and to the United Nations).
On May 18th, 1995, Micha publicly received instructions from
president Obiang to sensitize American economic operators so that they invest in
Guinea and so that "friendship and cooperation relations between Washington
and Malabo are more strongly ". These relations received a new formulation
during the trip made on the 25th of April and the first days of May by and
important Guinean delegation made up by Manuel Nguema, uncle of the dictator and
known torturer, and Juan Oló, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons and brother of
the Guinean first lady, Constancia Mangue. The delegation visited Houston and
few months later, after summer, a publicity campaign began to develop in the
United States in order to improve the image of the Guinean regime.
Its most relevant benchmark was the publication of one whole page in the
New York Times. The preparation of this campaign was led by the lobbying firm
Black, Maneforth, Stone & Kelly, who had also edited pamphlets destined at
possible American investors in which they tried to give an idyllic image to
Equatorial Guinea: a small paradise, free of tribal confrontation and with a
stable political regime. However,
between February and August 1995, the leader of the Democratic-Christian
Progressive Party, Severo Moto, was jailed in Malabo.
In this period he was tried twice, once by a military tribunal together
with a civil group and members of the armed forces, who belonged to his party.
The weakness of the accusation and the lack of guarantees in both
processes were evident. It was only
because of international pressure that he was not condemned to death.
February 1996 presidential elections were held after a campaign plagued with
irregularities. The official
results had Obiang winning 97.85% of the votes.
with this early political intervention, which was modified and more discreet
than in past years, oil exploitation presented from the beginning three
characteristics that, for the moment, it has not lost:
The benefits do not go beyond the circles closest to the dictator
Notable secrecy is produced
Conditions are especially favorable for oil companies.
from oil have been mortgaged, first in the short term and then in the long term,
contracts with foreign companies have been renegotiated in order to obtain
advances and management of income from hydrocarbons continues to be opaque and
without any previous evaluation.
Guineans, everything involving oil was, and continues to be, a mystery.
Fernando Abaga tells it like this: the
first thing that comes to attention is when they want to study oil exploitations
and everything that characterizes this activity is clandestine.
The government does not communicate any information such as data
regarding production or the income that it generates.
between the government and oil companies are carried out in a clandestine way.
The contacts that the government has with oil companies, which should be
public documents, are not and are not within reach of the public, and stay in
the dark: one only knows that the country is an oil exporter, but nothing else.
terms of the contracts, there are three conditions that are unfavorable for
Equatorial Guinea. The first is
regarding the late entry of a participation system in production, which is
planned for the year 2003, and after the amortization of the effected
investments of the oil companies. It
is hoped that this participation system will substitute the actual one of
royalties, which only ascends 10% of the exportations.
second place, the contracts permit a rise in the residual value of the oil
inversion of 30% at the end of every year, as well as the postponement of losses
registered by companies during their exploration operations.
This includes the costs incurred as a consequence of unsuccessful
drilling, and in this way they are recuperated in the productive wells.
In third place, the arbitrary exonerations that the companies are granted
in favor of imports.
April 1998 the government renegotiated a part of the contracts.
It is estimated that the conditions obtained are more favorable, since
the new conditions permit that the state obtain by way of a gradual royalty
system income that ascends 12-16% of the value of the exportations, 5% of the
capital participation, as well as the introduction of a scaled participation
mechanism in production, instead of rates of production.
A 25% utility tax will also be applied".
is evident that these new measures will improve conditions for Equatorial
Guinea, that income will rise especially through the utility tax and the
participation in production. However,
it is still unfavorable if it is compared with the rest of the countries in the
region whose utility taxes are between 48.7 and 50%.
in this sector passed 17,000 barrels/day at the end of 1996 to 83,000 in 1998
and 120,00 in 1999. In the period 1999- 2000 concessions were obtained, or
exploitations of new fields began by the companies Triton, Energy Africa, CMS
and Vanco Energy. At the beginning of 2000 the Guinean authorities finalized
their relation with the lobby company Black, Maneforth, Stone & Kelly (which
was called Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey) and signed a new contract with
Africa Global Partners.
its relations with the American administration it is noteworthy to take into
account the annual publication, by the State Department, of very critical
reports regarding the situation of human rights in Equatorial Guinea.
In March 2001 the Guinean dictator made a private visit to the
United States in order to, without a doubt, improve the image of his regime in
June 2001 a report was published entitled Equatorial Guinea: A Country
Profile for US Businesses in which it defines Guinea as the most important
destination for American investments in the African Sub-Sahara after Nigeria,
Angola and South Africa. Chevron
Texaco, Exxon- Mobil, Triton Energy, Vanco, Ocean Energy, Oceaneering
International and Africa Global Partners financed the report. The methanol
factory project built on Bioko Island by Atlantic Methanol Production (now
belonging to Marathon Oil) received all shorts of support from distinct American
instances: 173 million dollars from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
(OPIC), "one of the highest loans conceded by this support entity to
American investments overseas; another 200 million as a guarantee of
political risk and finally, it received the consideration of ecological
installation granted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of the
United States to companies that reduce environmental contamination.
the 8th and 9th of June, 2001, Reuters and the Financial Times printed
declarations that were made the day before by Obiang in Bata indicating that the
oil company contracts were not satisfactory and that they are not
positive for the country and should be modified.
The dictator announced the creation of a national oil company (then,
Petroguinea, now GEpetrol) that would be in charge of increasing the
percentage in the royalties, the percentage in the participation in crude,
the percentage in the participation in shares ".
he did not explain how these negotiations would proceed, he did say that his
intention was to increase the participation of the Guinean state to 50 or 51% of
shares, in other words that the State would be the owner of the companies.
until the date, it seems that the contracts with American companies have not
been modified, [and the participation of the Guinea in the production in the
exploited deposits is very reduced: 3% in the Alba deposit (Marathon Oil); 5% in
the Zafiro deposit (Exxon-Mobil) and 5% in Ceiba (Amerada Hess)], however, the
contract with the Malaysian company Petronas, signed February 2002, recognizes
that GEpetrol receive 15% of royalties.
was legally created in February 2001, but did not start working until 2002
REBELION, SPAIN 110603 - Asodegue
is the third largest refining center in the world. Its total refining capacity
is 1.2 million barrels per day. The development of the petrochemical industry in
Singapore is a natural progression given Singapore's strong base in petroleum
refining, which provides feedstock such as naphtha for the petrochemical
and petrochemicals were another base of Singapore's industrial and economic
life. In the late 1980s, Singapore was the world's third largest oil-trading
center and also the third largest center for petroleum refining. It was the
second largest builder of drilling rigs, and its facilities for repairing and
maintaining rigs and tankers were the most competitive in East Asia.
oil prices began eroding in 1981 and collapsing toward the end of 1985,
Singapore felt both negative and positive consequences. The collapse of oil
prices dealt a severe blow to oil exploration. The impact was felt widely and
immediately in everything from reduced orders for rig construction to lowered
occupancy of luxury apartments as foreign petroleum workers returned home. With
both of its immediate neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia, heavily dependent on
oil and gas exports for revenue, Singapore had a resulting loss of trade in both
goods and services.
benefited, however, from the availability of cheaper energy, which in 1986
amounted to a savings of about S$2.5 billion (US$1.12 billion). Furthermore,
Singaporean refineries invested in the equipment and technology necessary to
enable them to refine a wide variety of crude oils and obtain a greater
proportion of high valued products from the refining process. Petroleum refining
alone made up 28 percent of Singapore's manufacturing output in 1985, although
by 1988 it had dropped by half as a result of a decline in petroleum production
and growth in other industries. Singapore also benefited indirectly when large
oil importers such as Japan and the United States obtained higher real incomes
from lower oil prices, enabling them to increase their imports from Singapore
and other countries.
petroleum, petrochemical and chemical industries are experiencing rapid growth
in Asia. Singapore aims to create a competitive environment on Jurong Island to
house these industries
Jurong Island amalgamation project is one of the key initiatives under the
program M2000 to develop a world-class chemical industry cluster. The Jurong
Island project is implemented based on a total approach to industry development.
Jurong Island project will amalgamate a group of seven small islands off the
southwestern coast of Singapore into a single island. The island would house the
petroleum and petrochemical industries by reclaiming the channels between them
and extending into additional sea space. The seven southern islands are Pulau
Merlimau, Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Seraya, Pulau Sakra, Pulau
Pesek and Pulau Pesek Kecil. With an existing land area totaling a little less
than 1,000 hectares, the intention is to create an additional 1,790 hectares of
land through reclamation. This will form a land mass of about 2,790 hectares
which will be available for industries.
the 1960s, this group of seven small islands had been identified as the ideal
location for heavy industries. It became home to several large oil refineries
including Esso, Mobil and Singapore Refining Company (a joint venture between
Caltex, BP and Singapore Petroleum Company), located on Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau
Pesek and Pulau Merlimau respectively. In 1984, the first petrochemical complex
in Singapore was established on Pulau Ayer Merbau. Petrochemical Corporation of
Singapore, a joint venture between Shell and a Japanese consortium led by
Sumitomo Chemical, operates the cracker in this complex. The downstream players
in the complex include The Polyolefin Company, Phillips Petroleum, Ethylene
Glycols Singapore, Denka, and Kureha Chemicals.
these pioneers in place, it became logical that the surrounding islands, when
amalgamated, would be suitable for the development of a petroleum and
petrochemical hub. The physical clustering of related chemical industries
provides strong opportunities for industry integration and other benefits
arising from economies of scale.
1991, the government approved the amalgamation plan at an estimated total direct
development cost of S$7 billion. This was a direct response to the
identification of the chemical industry as a key growth sector, contributing
significantly to the Singapore economy. The idea was to reclaim the land in
phases to keep pace and to meet the projected demand of the industry. The
original schedule for the final phase of the reclamation was year 2030. However,
with increasing demand from these industries over the past two years, the
reclamation has progressed ahead of schedule. The completion of Jurong Island is
now targeted for the year 2003
is well positioned to play a key role in the growth of Asia-Pacific's
petrochemical industry with an integrated hub on Jurong Island. Many
multinational companies are already enjoying the benefits of locating on Jurong
Island. Companies that have recently announced their intention to locate on
Jurong Island include a Sumitomo led consortium (acrylics complex), Eastman
Chemical (oxo-alcohols), Chevron (lube additives), Asahi (polyacetal resins),
Poval Asia (polyvinyl alcohol), Denka (acetylene black, polystyrene) and Lonza
(purified isophthalic acid).
OF THE TROPICS
SAPREF refinery, located on the coast of South Africa south of Durban, began its
operations in the 1960s. Today, it is the largest crude oil refinery in South
Africa, capable of processing over 185,000 barrels a day, and employing a total
of 1,150 staff and contract workers. In addition to the refinery proper, there
are also seven pipelines radiating out from the refinery in various directions.
The Island View tank terminal, north of the refinery at Durban Harbor, is
directly connected to the refinery via pipelines, and includes a number of big
aboveground storage tanks as well as its own internal network of pipelines.
Island View is also a servicing terminal for merchant ships which use SAPREF
bunker fuel. For most of its history the SAPREF refinery and associated
facilities have pretty much operated on their own, without stringent government
oversight. Apartheid-era laws gave many South African companies a free hand,
with little environmental accountability. Since the 1960s, there have
undoubtedly been spills and accidents at these facilities, but few have been
publicly documented. In the 1990s, however, some refinery accidents and
pollution have been documented.
May 1998, an explosion and fire occurred at the refinery due to a failure at the
alkylation unit. The explosion was heard several kilometers away and the fire
was fought for more than six hours. No injuries were reported at the time, but
an estimated five tons of hydrogen fluoride (HF), a highly dangerous substance,
were released. HF is used as a catalyst in the alkylations process, but it is
highly reactive and dangerous as hydrofluoric acid. Acute exposure through
inhalation causes extreme irritation of the respiratory tract that can be fatal.
Ingestion causes tissue death in the esophagus and stomach and results in
burning pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, circulatory collapse, and death. Skin
contact with the liquid or vapor causes severe burns, and contact with the eyes
results in permanent eye damage or blindness. The HF released at the SAPREF
refinery in May 1998 was in the form of gas. The refinery has also been a
chronic polluter. In fact, by February 2000, SAPREF management admitted it had
underreported sulfur dioxide emissions to the local government for the last five
years by as much as 12 tons a day or 4,380 tons or 10 million pounds a year.
By September 2000, the refinery claimed to have cut its SO-2 pollution by 30
percent, down to 37 tons a day. Flares have also been frequent at the refinery,
as there is no back-up power source, leading to the use of flares as a safety
valve in shut downs and power failures.
has acknowledged its emissions may affect public health. Under certain
weather and operating conditions, and when combined with other pollution sources
in the valley (including vehicles), we acknowledge that our SO-2 emissions could
contribute to the overall impact on people with respiratory ailments. SAPREF
also acknowledged that its SO-2 emissions have exceeded World Health Standards.
suggests that we are a contributor to those surplus, said SAPREF officials in
September 2000, but we are committed to reducing excess to the point where
they cease altogether. But in the year 2000 certainly, that hadnt
occurred. In early January 2001, a fire broke out in the refinerys bitumen
blending area. The same day 6,000 liters of a chemical solvent spilled from a
faulty valve in a SAPREF tanker truck. Later in January 2001, another fire broke
out at refinerys No. 2 Crude Distillation Unit. The same day, about 1,000
liters of bunker fuel spilled into Durban Bay.
in March 2001, at the Island View tank terminal on Durban Harbor, a SAPREF
storage tank leaked 25 tons of tetra-ethyl lead (TEL), a highly toxic substance
and a known carcinogen. A rupture occurred in the tank while the lead was being
pumped from a ship into a SAPREF tank at the terminal. SAPREF buys the lead from
Associated Octel. The leak, however, was not discovered by SAPREF or Octel, but
by other industrial workers from Engen, and then it was about eight hours after
the leak had started. Once discovered, some of the lead was pumped back into the
ship. Following the tank leak, a number of workers in the area were evacuated
and tested for lead in their blood. Although one worker on the ship was
diagnosed with elevated lead levels, none of the neighboring residents were
evacuated or tested. The depots nearby residents were kept in the dark about the
leak for about three days. From March 21-24, two local roads near the terminal
were closed, and residents say they were never told why.
SAPREF and others at the depot were obligated to do so under the National
Environmental Management Act. About 300 meters away from the storage tank
failure is the residential area of Flynnlands in the area of south Durban known
as the Bluff. Rory OConnor of the South Durban Community Environmental
Alliance said that health tests should be done on nearby residents, and that
some of the storage tanks at the terminal were decades old and needed
independent inspections. . . . At least the firms should tell us what they
have in those tanks and what should happen in an emergency, said local
resident Willem van Loggerenberg.
has been stored at the terminal since 1968. Lead, a highly toxic substance, is
not naturally found in the human body. In children, lead is particularly
insidious, poisoning the developing brain in very small quantities. With
moderate long-term exposures but no immediate symptoms, children show reduced
short term memory, delayed reaction time, reduced ability to concentrate, and
diminished IQ scores. For adults too, exposure to lead can damage the peripheral
nervous system, affecting memory, vision, and muscle coordination and can also
weaken wrists and ankles. Absorption at high levels can damage kidneys, result
in anemia and miscarriage, and decrease fertility in both men and women. Chronic
low level exposures may be associated with hypertension, blood pressure problems
and heart disease. In the US, occupational and safety regulations requires that
workers with blood levels of 50 micrograms per deciliter be removed from the
exposure. In soil, lead occurs naturally in background levels between 25 and 60
the US, the Environmental Protection Agency sets 400 ppm as the maximum
acceptable level in soil, beyond which actions are often taken to remove the
the Island View terminal, a number of the tanks used to store the lead were more
than 20 years old. In fact, an independent engineering consultant, Project
Development Africa, that conducted a follow- up investigation of the SAPREF
tank, indicated it failed because of severely rusted welding joints. SAPREF
claims the tank had been routinely tested and, only two years earlier, had no
apparent indication of rust. However, it turns out that the measurement
technique SAPREF was using wasnt the most accurate, as three other tanks
which had been demolished in 1998 had also shown signs of severe, unexpected
internal rusting. Thats when SAPREF sought the advice of Shell Global
Solutions in the Netherlands, which reported back to SAPREF that the technique
it was then using was inadequate to measure localized rust. A technique used at
nuclear facilities to detect rust known as TOFD, and used in the UK since
the 1970s should have been used by SAPREF, but wasnt, despite the advice
from Shell Global Solutions. The older method was also cheaper. The consultant
concluded that SAPREF and the tank operating company, Associated Octel,
appear to have allowed themselves to be deluded by the older testing
method. But there was also evidence, according to the consultant, that other
anti-rust and anti-pollution measures may not have been fully effective and
properly managed by SAPREF at the Island View terminal.
few months after the lead leak, another SAPREF leak was discovered in early July
2001. This time, an underground pipeline supplying a petroleum fuel known as
Mogas had leaked, releasing what was first thought to be about 750,000 liters of
fuel into the ground. The leak later found to be much larger, just over
1,000,000 liters14 occurred silently and out of sight, seeping out of a 4mm
hole in the line into the ground below. The fuel soaked into the ground beneath
two residential areas of south Durban, Wentworth and the Bluff, with some of the
material reaching groundwater below. For days following the spill which was
first detected by the local residents, not SAPREF hydrocarbon fumes
permeated the area. Families living near the corner of Tara and Angelier roads
were the first to lodge complaints. SAPREF then shut the line down to reduce the
risk of fire or explosion. Three days following the leak, air samples collected
by Ecoserv showed very high levels of hydrocarbons, with readings next to one
storm drain at 3,700 parts per million (ppm). More than a month later, benzene
levels in the air were being found at 0.2 ppm inside certain houses, a level
that is several times higher than World Health Organization (WHO) outdoor
families were evacuated as other families began considering legal action.
after this leak, other SAPREF pipelines were tested and found to be leaking or
corroded as well. There are at
least seven SAPREF pipelines running between the refinery and the Harbor View
terminal, most with no above-ground markers, and some which run adjacent to
residential areas and right next to some homes. Shell and BP say they have
tested and repaired their structurally weak pipelines, most as recently as 1998.
Yet in the last few years there have been several pipeline leaks. Some residents
and activists, including Bobby Peek, proposed that Shell and BP replace their
pipelines with new ones. We know the pipelines are about 30 years old and
should all be replaced, said Peek. The pipelines are laid in an area that
was originally the south Durban wetland, which means corrosion will always be a
companies say replacement of their lines is not necessary.
Shell and BP recommend that more tests be done on the lines, and that residents
be relocated. But at least one government official, Minister Moosa of
Environmental Affairs, stated that people in the communities of south Durban
would not be relocated.
July 2001 pipeline leak, reaching groundwater, was serious enough that SAPREF
had to sink a series of 368 extraction wells to try to clean up the leaked fuel.
SAPREF estimated they recovered 25 percent of the spill by October 2001. Still,
at that time, SAPREF was planning to sink another 220 extraction wells in the
area to continue the clean up. On the matter of the hydrocarbon fumes in
residential areas, SAPREF reported the following in October 2001:
. . 24-hour air quality monitoring, by an independent company, in these homes
has shown some peak levels of benzene (a known carcinogen) on occasion in some
homes. . . . Although these peaks were in excess of lifetime exposure for
European Union and World Health Organization residential standards, they did not
constitute a health risk in the short term. SAPREF also showed the result to two
medical experts, one local and the other from overseas. Their advice was that it
would be better for these residents to relocated temporarily as a precaution to
be quite sure that there will be no risk to health in the longer term.
SAPREF had acknowledged they would not be able to entirely
up the spill, as some of the spilled material would bind to soil and vapors
would continue to escape into the surrounding air.
the community, some residents experiencing immediate health effects from the
leaked fumes, such as coughing, burning eyes, headache, dizziness, and nausea,
began to wonder about longer-term health effects as well. What about other leaks
that may have occurred over the years, and the continuing assault of regular
fumes from the refinery? There were some rare immune diseases in the community
as well as a number of asthmatics. One 15-year-old girl in 1997 had died of
lupus erythematosus, a rare autoimmune disease, and another 13- year-old girl
also had the disease. A three-year-old in the community had also died of kidney
cancer in 1994.
back at the refinery, there had also been other incidents. In June 2001, a
failure of a refinery flare resulted in the release of unburnt gases, including
substantial amounts of hydrogen sulfide. In mid-August 2001, the asphalt plant
at the refinery failed.
September 3rd, 2001, a marine fuel oil pipeline leaked. About ten days later,
there was another flare failure. On October 14th, 2001, an estimated 2,000
liters of bunker fuel spilled into Durban Harbor during a SAPREF ship refueling
operation at the Island View terminal.
evening in early October 2001, local residents gathered at the Dirkie Uys
Primary School to discuss their predicament, raising both the short-term and
longer term health issues. Scharlotte van Staden, who had been advised by SAPREF
to abandon her home temporarily because of the leak, asked the help of the
government to protect us from the polluting industries immediately. She
said the poor environmental practices of the SAPREF refinery would not be
tolerated elsewhere. But the third world is different, said Desmond DSa,
a south Durban community leader. Our lives are cheap.
fact, had checked out Shells operations in Europe. I went to a Shell
refinery in Denmark and there was no smell at all. And when we looked at the
data we found that there was 85 percent less pollution from the refineries in
Denmark than here.
few local government leaders soon got the message and began to move on SAPREF.
Provincial Environment Minister Narend Singh issued a directive to the refinery
in early October charging that SAPREF had failed in its duty to care for the
environment. Singh listed the pipeline and tank leaks and hydrogen sulfide
pollution. He called for a detailed clean-up plan from the refinery or face
legal action under the National Environmental Management Act. SAPREF manager
Richard Parkes, soon held a meeting with senior officials in Singhs office
and agreed to speed up the refinerys actions in order to avoid criminal
prosecution. However, some political leaders, including councilor George Mari,
hearing from residents in the south Bluff and Wentworth communities, wanted an
investigation of the health effects in the area as well as an evaluation of the
effect of spills and pollution on community property values. Others, like
councilor Duncan duBois at the Unicity council meeting in late October 2001,
sounded a more angry tone:
are dealing with the worlds largest oil company, tip-toeing around what is a
major human and ecological disaster that must be condemned in the strongest
even Lloyds of London, in its December 2001 Lloyds List International, was
citing South Africas decaying refineries, singling out the SAPREF
refinery for its third leak in five months this time from a 38-year old
marine fuel oil pipeline.
SAPREF has continued to evidence problems throughout its system. On December 30,
2001, about 15,000 liters of oil spilled from a SAPREF line into Durban Harbor
during the refueling of a ship. A March 2002 break in an underground pipeline
inside the Island View terminal caused another 3,000 liters of oil to leak. In
fuel lines being pressure tested at the Island View terminal revealed another
corroded pipeline.27 During August 2002, there were SO-2 and SO-3 releases from
the refinery, some due to extra flaring and a power failure. By mid-September
2002, SAPREF had pumped out of the ground about 1.03 million liters of its
year-old pipeline spill on the Bluff, but some still lingered in soil and
groundwater. Refinery manager Richard Parkes promised to do more. Today we
cannot turn the clock back or downplay the countrys biggest-ever petrol
leak, he said, but we are committed to putting right what went wrong more
than a year ago. We pride ourselves on running a safe, reliable refinery. We
feel a deep sense of regret and we are focused on cleaning up.
from: Riding the Dragon
One: Two Different Worlds.
Bobby Peek lives in Durban, South Africa; Phill Watts in London UK.
STORIES OF RESISTANCE
PIPELINE EXPLOSION; NNPC BLAMED FOR NEGLIGENCE
Amaokwe Village In Isuikwuato Local
Area Of Abia State
Patrick B. Naagbanton & Murphy Akiri
June 25, 2003
Over 200 Persons Roasted Beyond Recognition
Death Toll Rises
More NNPC Pipelines still leaking in the area
Fear Of another possible fire outbreak mounts
tragic pipeline explosion which resulted into fire and roasted about 200
villagers on Thursday, June 19, 2003 at about 8.30 p.m. occurred at Amaokwe
community in the Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State from NNPC/Pipeline
PE-IG-109, kilometer 126. The pipelines, which run through the community, are
used by NNPC to convey refined petroleum products from Port Harcourt refinery
via Enugu to some Depots in Northern Nigeria. Wilbros Nigeria Limited laid the
NNPC/PPMC pipelines in 1976, while Spibat laid others in 1992.
INFORMED GOVERNMENT, DPR, NNPC, POLICE BEFORE THE DISASTER
Field Monitor investigation reveals that in the early hours of
June 4, 2003, a minor rupture occurred on the NNPC pipeline PE-IG-109 and oozing
out petroleum products such as kerosene, fuel, and diesel into the nearby
farmlands, river and surrounding forests.
Innocent Ugoagha, who is the head of Ugoagha family in Amaokwe community,
informed ERA that as soon as the incident occurred he wrote a letter entitled,
Oil spillage at Oghuighe NNPC pipeline, to the Caretaker Chairman of the
Isuikwuato Local Government Council, Abia State. The letter, which was dated
June 4, 2003, was copied to The Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr. Uzor Kalu
and received on June 15th 2003.
June 9, 2003, the same leader, Innocent, frustrated that nothing happened to
their earlier complains to the local and state government, wrote another letter
to the Operation Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (D.P.R.) and NNPC
in Port Harcourt. The letter, which was entitled: The Degradation of my family
farmland Due to Oil Spillage at Oghuighe NNPC pipeline was also widely
circulated to government officials, who were supposed to respond swiftly and
plug the ruptured pipelines.
official of the government of Abia State and staff of the office of the
of D.P.R. in Port Harcourt in separate interviews confirmed to ERA monitor that
they received letters complaining about the earlier leakage from the pipeline.
ERA is in possession of the letters written by the community people and dully
received and with official stamps (acknowledging receipt), by the concerned
the NNPC Zonal Office, in Port Harcourt, officials who spoke to ERA also
confirmed receiving the letters, but regretted not acting on time.
THE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT OCCURRED
some days, villagers and visitors had been trooping to the site of the leaking
pipeline to scoop the free-flowing fuel. The story was different on Thursday,
June 19, 2003 when villagers from neighboring communities rushed with plastic
containers of different sizes.
people told ERA that the explosion occurred when a motorcyclist attempted to
start his motorbike parked around the scene of the ruptured pipeline. It was
gathered from community people that the spark from the motorcyclist's bike
ignited a huge fire, which eventually burnt down the entire area and the
villagers who were scooping the petroleum products.
ERA Field Monitors visited the scene of the incident, the corpses have already
been buried in shallow graves. The mass burial exercise was undertaken by local
heath officials and officials of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria.
AND GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO THE TRAGEDY
Saturday, June 21, 2003, NNPC fire service visited the community, when a heavy
rainfall had already doused the inferno. On that same day, Dr. Chima Nwafor, the
Deputy Governor of Abia State also visited the community.
on Tuesday, June 24, 2003, Dr. Uzor Kalu, the Executive Governor of Abia State
visited the scene of the incident. ERA field monitor was on hand when the
Governor got to the scene of the incident. Governor Kalu declared at the scene,
"This is not a disaster. This is a case of a people trying to cheat
government. It is unfortunate that human beings are involved. The President (Obasanjo)
is angry. It is unfortunate that poverty has made our people like this. I have
warned traditional rulers in the area to guard against this. But you can't blame
the hungry people. May the souls of the dead rest in peace".
the action of those scooping petrol from ruptured pipelines is condemnable
however in a land where sources of livelihoods have been destroyed, widespread
poverty and neglect the temptation to fetch fuel may be totally inevitable to
make ends meet. The situation is compounded by the failure of NNPC to plug the
pipeline on time, 10 days after receiving letters alerting them of the spill.
criminalisation of a people over the years remains a ready excuse to shy away
from responsibilities under the guise of sabotage.
INFERNO IN SIGHT
at the time of filling this report, ERA field monitors found two separate
leakages in Ine and Ogboko communities all in Amachara, in the Isuikwuato Local
Government Area of Abia State. Something needs to be done to avert an Amaokwe-type
calamity. Clearly the NNPC/DPR have failed in their responsibility to monitor
ERA FIELD REPORT #119
FROM THE NETWORK
gas release contained at Lawe-lawe terminal on East Kalimantan, Indonesia
6 May 2003 - Unocal Indonesia Company announced today that it has resumed normal
operations following a temporary gas release that occurred at Lawe-Lawe Terminal
near Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, at 20:00 hrs on the evening of May 5. The
incident was quickly contained. The company has formed an investigation team to
determine the cause of the release and is taking remedial actions to deal with
the impact of the incident.
incident has been reported to the Executive Agency for Upstream Oil and Gas
Business Activities (BPMIGAS), the Regional Environmental Impact Management
Agency (Bapedalda), and the local security officials involved in handling the
after the gas release, several people in Girimukti village, Penajam Paser Utara
regency, near the Lawe-lawe Oil and Gas terminal in the operational area of
Unocal Indonesia Company complained of health problems including dizziness,
nausea, and shortness of breath caused by inhaling the petroleum gas vapors.
medical team provided immediate medical care to the local residents who
experienced these health problems. A total of 28 people were treated and all but
one was subsequently released. One person was kept for observation in a
Balikpapan hospital as a precaution. Conditions in the local area were back to
normal by 23:00 hours on May 5, with no trace of gas evident and no
Indonesia Company has apologized to the public, and particularly to the local
community of Girimukti village, for this unfortunate incident, and is working
together with local community leaders to mitigate the impact of this unexpected
JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang). Mining
Advocacy Network. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECUADOR: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE? THE CASE OF THE
the majority of countries, especially in developed countries, refineries or
high-risk industries are normally always strategically located in areas where
large populations of immigrants live or where the poorest social stratum lives.
In the case of the USA, this is normally in black or Latin neighborhoods.
argument is that the poor are the ones that choose to live in these areas.
They are unfamiliar with the structural mechanisms that work in order to
invade land of traditional occupants in order for the colonization of the poor
close to the new installations.
is an area of important oil activity. It
is here that the Esmeraldas refinery is found, the terminal for finished
products, the gas terminal, the terminal for the TransEcuadorian pipeline, the
Balao oil terminal and the head of the Esmeraldas-Quito-Ambato polyduct.
traditional population mainly Afroecuadorean, are traditionally farmers and
most densely populated counties are those that the oil duct crosses and the city
of Esmeraldas. The construction of
the Balao terminal displaced fishermen and women that live along the beach.
They in turn have displaced populations who live along the river.
This terminal has produced severe contamination impacts in the sea.
February 26, 1998, a fire broke out in the Esmeraldas Refinery.
Petroecuador, the state company that operates the refinery, proceeded to
pay indemnifications, which varied depending on the demands.
These were disproportional. For
example, a banana company received the same as 10 people who lost relatives.
In this case, private property was more valued those human lives.
LA PROPICIA VS. PETROECUADOR
the root of the fire, the Improvement Committee of the Delfina Torres Viuda de
Concha neighborhood (La Propicia 1) where the refinery is located, presented a
demand for permanent and accidental damages historically provoked by the
demand including repairing damages caused by the presence of the refinery,
compensations for these damages and getting rid of the sources of contamination.
Committee argues that they are in the area of influence of the refinery and
having been affected by spills and accidents before and after February 26, 1998.
The Committee represents 250 families that live in La Propicia and also
represents all Esmeraldeñas who have suffered and who suffer from the impacts
of the refinery.
suffer from the permanent contamination of the refinery that discharges its
waste into Teaone and Esmeraldas. There
is also contamination from the emission of routine and accidental gases.
demand for damage, including moral damage, is for 35 million dollars.
These funds will be used for infrastructure such as sewage systems, water
treatment, river contention, and to cover health and improvement of the
also demand that the necessary measures be verified for the cancellation of
sources of contamination.
demanders have proved the environmental and social impacts and those that come
from the fire, based on expert professionals, with public documents and press
took all actions necessary in order to minimize the impacts of the fire.
the end of 2002, the population of La Propicia won the trial against
Alerta Verde. Acción Ecológica Bulletin.
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