When did Colonel Muammar Gaddafi learn of threats from the world’s major oil consumer countries against his rule ? Was it in early 2011 ? Or was it several years earlier ? On the public stage, he has been deliberately reduced to a figure of fun, and his message advising non-aggression and protection from aggression is being lost. He is now a desperate man :-
Like me, you may have noticed that what Gaddafi is currently saying is not reported in the world’s media. Why is that ? We hear enough from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and key members of the United Nations Security Council and NATO. Why don’t we hear the voice of the leader of Libya ? What does Gaddafi want ? What does he think of the situation ? Is his message so diametrically different to the narrative of the warmongers of the West that it cannot be relayed, or we would all collapse down the rabbit hole of cognitive dissonance ?
And why am I writing about this ? What has the fate of Gaddafi and Gaddafi’s version of Libyan governance got to do with energy ? It’s quite straight-forward really. It has come to light that the United Kingdom, my own country, was engaged in “grasping diplomacy” on behalf of privatised energy company BP in the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. Essentially, the invasion of Iraq was treated as a foregone conclusion, months before the big public outcry against it. And energy companies were already vying for a slice of the action in post-war Iraq, even before the public relations case for war was being made :-
“Five months before the March 2003 invasion [of Iraq], Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change. The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms. Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.” The minister then promised to “report back to the companies before Christmas” on her lobbying efforts. The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.” After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office’s Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: “Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future… We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.” Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was “more important than anything we’ve seen for a long time”. BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf’s existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world’s leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take “big risks” to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world. Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002. The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.”
Think of that when you consider the belligerent tone being used in connection with Libya. Why does the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 only get interpreted in warmongering terms ? Where are the options besides military options ? Where’s the diplomacy ?
The mainstream media are engaged in the propagation of military aggression, without analysing why war is in the UK’s national energy interest, or rather, in the interest of BP and other energy companies whose interests intersect with those of the British Government :-
It is natural to ask the obvious question…if oil and gas companies were collaborating with the UK Government prior to the Unjustified Military Aggression on Iraq (commonly known as the “Iraq War”), what are they doing in regards to Libya ?
Libya was planning to re-nationalise its energy resources, and I mean nationalise – apparently Gaddafi was planning for a redistribution of wealth exercise :-
“On February 16, 2009, Gaddafi took a step further and called on Libyans to back his proposal to dismantle the government and to distribute the oil wealth directly to the 5 million inhabitants of the country.”
And the oil and gas companies were fearful of what this could mean for their future business profits :-
“Oil companies fear nationalisation in Libya : By Sylvia Pfeifer and Javier Blas in London : Published: March 20 2011 22:22 : Western oil companies operating in Libya have privately warned that their operations in the country may be nationalised if Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s regime prevails. Executives, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the rapidly moving situation, believe their companies could be targeted, especially if their home countries are taking part in air strikes against Mr Gaddafi. Allied forces from France, the UK and the US on Saturday unleashed a series of strikes against military targets in Libya. “It is certainly a concern. There are good reserves there,” said one executive at a western oil company with operations in Libya. “We have lost some of our production [because all operations have stopped] but our bigger concern is what will happen to the exploratory work as that gives you a future rather than the immediate impact,” he added…”
Don’t tell me this issue wasn’t considered well before Spring 2011 :-
“Libya’s Energy Future : Tuesday 20 July 2010 : Location : Chatham House, London : To mark the publication of African Energy’s newly updated report Libya’s Energy Future and associated The Libya Oil and Gas Handbook, publisher Cross-border Information Ltd (CbI) and Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme (MENAP) are jointly holding this seminar to discuss the issues raised by the report. Topics to be covered in the seminar will include: Qadhafi family politics, reform or reaction, key institutions, finance and investment, energy policy, local content and Qadhafi and the world…”
“More than two-dozen companies from around the world are betting on Libya these days, said Ronald Bruce St John, an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, a Washington-based think tank. He has served on the international advisory board of the Journal of Libyan Studies and the Atlantic Council Working Group on Libya. The government of Muammar Gaddafi has relied on foreigners to scout for new wells and bolster current production, “if they’re ever going to come close” to a target of three million barrels a day, he explained. The burning question, though, is “how profitable would it be” for an overseas oil concern to forge ahead in the country’s hit-or-miss exploration climate, a situation made even more dicey by Tripoli’s erratic policy moves, St John told OilPrice.com. Libya’s national oil company chief has talked about the need for foreign investment over the last few years, he noted, but this time Ghanem’s words follow months of government bungling and less-than-stunning results in the oil and gas fields. One of last year’s biggest shocks was Gaddafi’s suggestion to nationalize the country’s oil and gas interests, a consideration that seemed to echo the early days of the Libyan revolution when the industry was partially nationalized. These words set the stage for the National Oil Corp. to renegotiate long-term contracts in Libya’s favor with major oil companies operating in the country, such as Italy’s ENI, the United States’ Occidental, PetroCanada, France’s Total and Spain’s Repsol, St John added. International investors were also a little unnerved by the Verenex Energy Inc. fiasco, St John added. He said the small Canadian oil exploration player was the only company to make a sizeable discovery – more than two billion barrels of oil – under strict EPSA, phase four, contracts awarded after 2005. But Libya’s interference in negotiations between Verenex and the China National Petroleum Co. over the sale of the Canadian firm’s exploration contract drove down Verenex’s share price by 30 percent and forced it to sell the contract to Libya at 70 percent of the original offer to China, he said…”
In the last couple of years, seismic and other surveys of Libyan oil and gas fields, both on- and offshore have led to high hopes for the country’s future production capability. Where the fossil fuels are, there the industrial vultures gather :-
“Libya : A Commanding Presence on the World Stage” (download)
My conclusion is that the international oil companies – including BP – are attempting to wrest ownership of Libyan oil and gas resources for the future of their business profitability. They could only do this if they were in cahoots with the governments of the industrialised countries of the world, who they have such a symbiotic relationship with, and who they can offer energy security to, in exchange for the spoils of war in Libya.
The evidence reported by The Independent newspaper confirms that there is an ongoing hidden alliance between the energy companies and the UK Government.
The way it seems to me, the international oil and gas companies have used the excuse of civil disruption as a cover to pull out of the country in an attempt to blackmail Libya over fossil fuel resource contracts :-
Who cares about a short stoppage of oil and gas from Libya while the regime is “cured” of its current leadership incumbent ? The downturn in supplies from Libya were partly compensated for by extra production from Saudi Arabia :-
(although Saudi Arabia cannot keep up higher levels of production forever).
The long game is control over Libya’s oil and gas supplies to the benefit of the rich, industrialised nations, and the deprivation of the economies of Africa.
The future could be so much better. We can get energy from Libyan desert solar power, we don’t need to destroy the country for the last drops of global oil and gas.
Stand down, NATO, stand down please !
Give peace a chance.