Who gets the oil, who gets the sludge?

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It seems oil and natural gas just can’t keep themselves out of the news. Right now, of course, oil is sloshing ashore on the Spanish coast. If the Bush administration has its way, long before global warming can hit us full blast, from the last untouched spots in Alaska to the last untouched spots in the Peruvian rain forest, the world will be a giant spill. And, strangely enough, as you’ll see in the Washington Post piece on natural gas and Peru that follows, the same names crop up again and again. Cheney, Haliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root, and various Republican donors. You don’t even need to know the details to guess the details. The world’s a trough, it seems, and they’re feeding. In Iraq, the Guardian suggests in a report today, “regime change” may only bring “the mother of all legal battles” as oil rights go up for grabs. (I think many of the names just might turn out, once again, to be familiar ones.) Tom

Texas Firms Line Up U.S. Aid in Peru 
Gas Project’s Damage to Rain Forest Assailed
By James V. Grimaldi, November 20, 2002, The Washington Post

Two Texas energy companies, both closely tied to the Bush White House, are lining up administration support for nearly $900 million in public financing for a Peruvian natural gas project that will cut through one of the world’s most pristine tropical rain forests.

A top priority of Peruvian officials, who view it as key to energy independence, the Camisea project has encountered fierce opposition. Worldwide environmental groups and some members of Congress argue that the massive extraction and pipeline project will destroy the rain forest and the lifestyle of its indigenous people.

The project backers’ quest for financial support from U.S. development banks will test the political pull of the Texas companies, Hunt Oil Co. and Halliburton Co., which have longstanding ties to the Bush-Cheney administration and the Republican Party.

To read more of the Washington Post piece click here.

Over a barrel
The mother of all legal rows over who has the right to Iraq’s lucrative oilfields is likely if the United States wins its war for the country itself
By Tom Cholmondeley, November 22, 2002, The Guardian

All the players in the current quarrel can agree on one thing – Iraq has the potential to become a great oil nation again. There is a huge gap between the trickle of oil coming out of Iraq today and its capabilities.

According to Opec, the entire world’s known oil reserves run to 1,000bn barrels. Iraq claims a 10th of this, just over 100bn barrels. However, in an interview before the current conflict, Taha Hmud Moussa, then Iraq’s deputy oil minister, said the oil “will exceed 300bn barrels when all Iraq’s regions are explored”. If true, this means Iraq has a quarter of the world’s oil. The UK’s North Sea reserves are 5bn barrels and we are the EU’s largest oil producer. Iraqi’s oil is not miles offshore under a treacherous sea. This makes it cheaper than the $3 to $4 barrel oil Britain produces – much cheaper. 

To read more of this Guardian piece click here