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The Curse of Black Gold: Vast Oil Find Puts Guyana on the Verge of Riches – or Failure

Perhaps everything would be easier if people could actually see the oil. If the drilling platforms, the supply boats and the gigantic specialized vessels used to clean and store the oil were anchored just offshore and not way beyond the horizon. Then, perhaps people would better understand the great lengths that oil companies go to to get at the oil. And better understand just how wealthy the stuff can make you.

The oilfield that ExxonMobil discovered five years ago is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) off the coast of Guyana, which used to be called British Guyana back before anyone was thinking about oil. The result is that the fishermen who sit smoking and chatting on the cement wall built to protect the land from the ocean can see nothing at all from their vantage point. Frigate birds soar lazily through the heat while bright red ibises fly above the mangroves. Everything looks as it always has, but soon, it will all change. That is the hope harbored by many, and the fear felt by some.

The oil off the coast of Guyana is of the highly coveted light sweet crude variety, and it is easily accessible. Some say that by the middle of this decade, Guyana could already be pumping more oil out of the earth per capita than even Kuwait. For the current year, the government in Georgetown issued a pre-corona forecast of oil revenues in the neighborhood of $300 million. The U.S. ambassador to the country said that Guyana could become the “richest country in the hemisphere and potentially the richest country in the world.”

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-curse-of-black-gold-vast-oil-find-puts-guyana-on-the-verge-of-riches-or-failure-a-cdedf3fe-91ea-48d1-a400-29a253e11b34

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Africa, Reportages

 

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Airlines and oil giants are on the brink. No government should offer them a lifeline

Do Not Resuscitate. This tag should be attached to the oil, airline and car industries. Governments should provide financial support to company workers while refashioning the economy to provide new jobs in different sectors. They should prop up only those sectors that will help secure the survival of humanity and the rest of the living world.

They should either buy up the dirty industries and turn them towards clean technologies, or do what they often call for but never really want: let the market decide. In other words, allow these companies to fail.

This is our second great chance to do things differently. It could be our last. The first, in 2008, was spectacularly squandered. Vast amounts of public money were spent reassembling the filthy old economy, while ensuring that wealth remained in the hands of the rich. Today, many governments appear determined to repeat that catastrophic mistake.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/29/airlines-oil-giants-government-economy

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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‘It Changed So Fast’: Oil Is Making Guyana Wealthy but Intensifying Tensions

On a sprawling abandoned sugar estate by the coast of Guyana, the scale of the changes sweeping across the country is immediately visible.

In just a few years, enormous warehouses and office buildings servicing international oil companies have sprung up amid the shrub land, irrigation canals and fields of wild cane.

People are “moving from cutting cane to businessmen,” said Mona Harisha, a local shop owner. “It changed so fast.”

Guyana is giving up its past as an agricultural economy and speeding toward its near-term future as an oil-producing giant. And so Ms. Harisha has renovated her general goods shop, redolent of Indian spices, which she runs from a side of her cottage in the Houston neighborhood of Georgetown, the county’s capital.

She said oil companies have brought jobs and better roads, and have raised home values — and brought new business to her shop.

Her daughter is thinking of returning from New York, an example of how the government is enticing Guyana’s huge diaspora home with promises of the oil bounty.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2020 in Reportages, South America

 

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How black swans are shaping planet panic

Is the planet under the spell of a pair of black swans – a Wall Street meltdown, caused by an alleged oil war between Russia and the House of Saud, plus the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 – leading to an all-out “cross-asset pandemonium” as billed by Nomura?

Or, as German analyst Peter Spengler suggests, whatever the averted climax in the Strait of Hormuz has not brought about so far “might now come through market forces”?

Let’s start with what really happened after five hours of relatively polite discussions last Friday in Vienna. What turned into a de facto OPEC+ meltdown was quite the game-changing plot twist.

OPEC+ includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Essentially, after enduring years of OPEC price-fixing – the result of relentless US pressure over Saudi Arabia – while patiently rebuilding its foreign exchange reserves, Moscow saw the perfect window of opportunity to strike, targeting the US shale industry.

https://asiatimes.com/2020/03/how-black-swans-are-shaping-planet-panic/

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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The drone attack on the Saudi refinery is no game-changer. But is there a new ‘axis of evil’ in the Middle East?

When, a couple of days ago, Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil processing facilities were attacked with drones – it is thought by the Houthis in Yemen – our media repeatedly characterised this event as a “game-changer”. But was it really this? In some sense yes, since it perturbed the global oil supply and made a large armed conflict in the Middle East much more probable. However, one should be careful not to miss the cruel irony of this claim.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have been in an open war with Saudi Arabia for years, with Saudi armed forces (and the US and the UK supplying arms) practically destroying the entire country, indiscriminately bombing civilian objects. The Saudi intervention has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the century with tens of thousands of children dead. As it was in the cases of Libya and Syria, destroying an entire country is obviously not a game-changer – just part and parcel of a very normal geopolitical game.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/houthi-drone-attack-saudi-arabia-aramco-oil-yemen-israel-a9108501.html

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2019 in Middle East

 

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When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: ‘Hope is contagious’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/29/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-met-greta-thunberg-hope-contagious-climate

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Reportages

 

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A Formula for Catastrophe in the Arctic

Donald Trump got the headlines as usual — but don’t be fooled. It wasn’t Trumpism in action this August, but what we should all now start referring to as the Pompeo Doctrine. Yes, I’m referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, when it comes to the Arctic region, he has a lot more than buying Greenland on his mind.

In mid-August, as no one is likely to forget, President Trump surprised international observers by expressing an interest in purchasing Greenland, a semi-autonomous region of Denmark. Most commentators viewed the move as just another example of the president’s increasingly erratic behavior. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen termed the very notion of such a deal “absurd,” leading Trump, in an outburst of pique, to call her comments “nasty” and cancel a long-scheduled state visit to Copenhagen.

A deeper look at that incident and related administration moves, however, suggests quite a different interpretation of what’s going on, with immense significance for the planet and even human civilization. Under the prodding of Mike Pompeo, the White House increasingly views the Arctic as a key arena for future great-power competition, with the ultimate prize being an extraordinary trove of valuable resources, including oil, natural gas, uranium, zinc, iron ore, gold, diamonds, and rare earth minerals. Add in one more factor: though no one in the administration is likely to mention the forbidden term “climate change” or “climate crisis,” they all understand perfectly well that global warming is what’s making such a resource scramble possible.

This isn’t the first time that great powers have paid attention to the Arctic. That region enjoyed some strategic significance during the Cold War period, when both the United States and the Soviet Union planned to use its skies as passageways for nuclear-armed missiles and bombers dispatched to hit targets on the other side of the globe. Since the end of that era, however, it has largely been neglected. Frigid temperatures, frequent storms, and waters packed with ice prevented most normal air and maritime travel, so — aside from the few Indigenous peoples who had long adapted to such conditions — who would want to venture there?

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176603/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_a_formula_for_catastrophe_in_the_arctic/

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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The mysterious ‘sabotage’ of Saudi oil tankers is a dangerous moment in Trump’s pumped up feud with Iran

Saudi Arabia’s claim that two of its oil tankers have been sabotaged off the coast of the UAE is vague in detail – but could create a crisis that spins out of control and into military action.

Any attack on shipping in or close to the Strait of Hormuz, the 30-mile wide channel at the entrance to the Gulf, is always serious because it is the most important choke point for the international oil trade.

A significant armed action by the US or its allies against Iran would likely provoke Iranian retaliation in the Gulf and elsewhere in the region. Although the US is militarily superior to Iran by a wide margin, the Iranians as a last resort could fire rockets or otherwise attack Saudi and UAE oil facilities. Such apocalyptic events are unlikely – but powerful figures in Washington, such as the national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, appear prepared to take the risk of a war breaking out.

 

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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On the road in the Karakoram

The snowed-over Khunjerab Pass, at 4,934 meters, stands eerily silent on a freezing late autumn morning.

On the Pakistani side, a wooden house serves as a small customs office fronted by “the highest ATM in the world” – though you try a foreign credit card at your peril. The Chinese side boasts an intimidating, metal-plated James Bond-esque structure with no humans in sight.The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox

This is ground zero of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the point where the revamped, upgraded Karakoram Highway – “the eighth wonder of the world” – snakes away from China’s Xinjiang all the way to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and further south to Islamabad and Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

From here it’s 420 kilometers to Kashgar and a hefty 1,890 km to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But going south is where the fun really begins.

http://www.atimes.com/article/on-the-road-in-the-karakoram/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy

 

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The new Great Game on the Roof of the World

On top of the graceful Baltit Fort, overlooking the Hunza Valley’s Shangri-La-style splendor, it’s impossible not to feel dizzy at the view: an overwhelming collision of millennia of geology and centuries of history.

We are at the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, or – as legend rules, the Roof of the World. This is an area about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) crammed with spectacular mountain ranges and amidst them, secluded pristine valleys and the largest glaciers outside of the Polar region.

http://www.atimes.com/article/the-new-great-game-in-the-roof-of-the-world/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy

 

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