Lighting up the oil frontiers: the lobby for Equatorial Guinea

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From an American point of view, at the peripheries, the frontier areas of the planet, once lay the “stans” of Central Asia, formerly off limits as parts of the USSR (see previous email), and most of Africa, not off limits but simply beyond interest or even curiosity, just plain off the radar screen. But that, of course, was before we were ruled by an oil regime. Now “lights” are going on all over Africa, which has just become strategic, and that sucking sound is likely to be the sound of oil being pumped from the ground and heading toward American gas tanks. You’ll note that oil company names mentioned in the Kazakhstan piece appear again in the following piece from the LA Times on Equatorial Guinea. No surprise, now that the world is a giant oil rig. And here’s another major non-surprise, the owner of Triton Energy, the energy company deeply involved is organizing American support for one of the many dismal regimes on earth, once bought the Texas Rangers from our president, then Texas governor and is a major contributor to the Republican Party. Fancy that. Tom

The Crude Politics of Trading Oil
Despite an abysmal record on human rights, Equatorial Guinea is a major U.S. supplier.
By Ken Silverstein, December 6, 2002, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Strange things happen around here when a country discovers oil.

For most of its 34 years of independence, Equatorial Guinea was best known for the outlandish brutality of its rulers, which left the tiny West African country isolated on the international stage.

Then in the mid-1990s, American oil companies found vast oil reserves there and Washington quickly took notice. Two years ago, Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) led the first congressional delegation there. The Bush administration, faced with heavy lobbying from the oil industry and eager to reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East oil, reopened the U.S. Embassy in Equatorial Guinea, which was shuttered in 1995.

Now, the U.S. is Equatorial Guinea’s major trading partner and the country will soon become sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer behind Nigeria and Angola.

To read more of this article in the Los Angeles Times, click here.