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October 15 2019

mr-absentia

The Spoils of Economic War: How the US, Saudis Profit From Sanctions on Venezuela and Iran

«The "almighty" dollar would fall from grace with back up from oil

Trump opens war fronts everywhere, which wouldn't seem to make sense unless they were a distraction. But they're not.

The rise of China as a global power has been silently transforming the international monetary system, another element triggering the U.S. into endless economic bullying.

Since the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971, the U.S. dollar is not linked to any assets, becoming a fiat currency. In these kinds of cases, only a country's output could back the currency in the long term. But what happens when monetary expansion occurs faster than increases in productivity?

Bringing new meaning to the "In God We Trust" motto coined so long ago, the dollar’s value depends on its capacity to remain an international reserve currency; that is, a currency other countries hold as part of their foreign exchange reserves and use in their international transactions.

In a world where economic agents don't ask the Federal Reserve to convert their notes into gold or any other physical asset, trust is the only thing keeping the U.S. upright. As a result, the dollar has remained a mighty currency because most international transactions are traded in U.S. dollars.

On Jan. 30, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, in fact, revealed very little when he blatantly admitted that the coup attempt in Venezuela was really about grasping for oil resources. In reality, aggression by the U.S. hides something much more than that.

If the dollar stops being the world's most traded currency, the U.S. will not be able to issue the notes it needs to finance an almost 50-year-old federal deficit which rose from US$666 billion in 2017 to US$779 billion in 2018.

"The U.S. budget deficit by year is how much more the federal government spends than it receives in revenue annually. The Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. budget deficit is expected to be US$1.1 trillion.

"That's the biggest deficit since 2012," wrote Kimberly Amadeo in The Balance, noting how President Trump has ramped up the U.S. deficit to pay for record-high levels of military spending.

The dollar losing status as the world's preferred currency would give the U.S. problems paying for imports in an economy where its lack of international competitiveness has given it a trade deficit since 1976, which widened to US$50 billion in March.

Last but not least, if the dollar stops being almighty, the U.S. will have a very difficult time maintaining itself as a first-world-class economy, since it's federal debt exceeded US$22 trillion in February. This amount represents over 76 percent of what the U.S. is able to produce in one year. Nevertheless, this is most likely to get worse: the debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States will rise to 150 percent by 2049, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Besides preventing Venezuela and Iran from exporting their natural resources, the U.S. is actively seeking to avoid the dollar's collapse, an inevitability in the next few years, as the history of previous empires has already shown.

This is why the Trump administration is prone to fighting the use of barter, virtual currencies or other alternative international payment methods.

U.S. sanctions are not whimsical expressions of this president. They are tools used to retain hegemonic power in a multipolar world no longer willing to tolerate such an aspiration. At the core of U.S. bullying is not ideological disagreement but economic decline.»

September 17 2019

mr-absentia

Trump says US doesn’t need Middle East oil; data, experts prove otherwise

«America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil is not just about high consumption levels. Several key refineries across the US are also set up to work with the type of crude that comes from the countries in the region.

As an example, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco which owns half of the biggest American oil refinery, Motiva Enterprises LLC in Texas, works best with Saudi crude.

There are other refineries in the US, particularly in California, which are located far away from big oil fields and therefore rely on cargoes that come from other countries.

The EIA [Energy Information Administration] states that in 2018, the US imported an average of 48 million barrels per month of crude oil and petroleum products from the Persian Gulf region, a third down from a decade ago but still around the same levels as in 1995 and 1996.»

June 30 2017

mr-absentia

Exxon Mobil Stirs Border Dispute Between Venezuela and Guyana

“In May, Exxon Mobil reported that it had made a “significant oil discovery” in a maritime area disputed by two neighboring South American countries, Venezuela and Guyana.

In spite of the long-running border dispute, which dates back to the colonial period, the oil giant was given unilateral permission to explore through an agreement with Guyana.

Venezuela considered that agreement a ‘provocation’ and called for a dialogue between the two nations to settle the dispute in line with a 1966 agreement.

Its president, Nicolas Maduro, has described the ‘serious campaign, promoting hatred and distrust, which is promoting negative elements about Venezuela,’ with foreign petroleum lobbies provoking the situation to undermine growing solidarity between Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Exxon Mobil Corp. has had strained relations with Venezuela, after refusing to respect the South American nation’s 2007 petroleum laws, which require foreign companies to become minority partners in oil exploration with the state oil company, PDVSA. Exxon sought billions in compensation from Venezuela as a result. …”

mr-absentia

presstv.com: Guyana to start offshore oil production soon

“The government of Guyana says the country will soon start producing crude oil and gas from an offshore field which was discovered a year ago.

According to announcement on Wednesday, the energy giant, ExxonMobil, expects to start producing oil and gas by 2020 from the offshore area where it reported a significant oil find last year.

The oil and gas exploration activity by Guyana has been a source of tension with neighboring Venezuela, which claims a huge swathe of Guyana known as the Essequibo, AFP reported.

Guyana’s Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, however, held high-level meetings with president of ExxonMobil’s exploration department, Stephen Greenlee, after which he said the US energy giant plans to proceed with commercial offshore drilling for oil and gas as early as next year.”

mr-absentia

Venezuela says oil operations in Guyana violates agreement – Demerara Waves

“The Energy and Petroleum Commission in Venezuela has rejected the oil operations in Guyana’s Essequibo region.

According to a report in El Nacional — a Venezuelan newspaper, the Energy and Petroleum Commission of its National Assembly said that it is convinced that the ongoing oil exploration violates the Geneva agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of The Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, ‘which clearly establishes the Venezuelan territory’.

Venezuela has been claiming Guyana’s territory for several decades although the issue was settled since 1899.”

mr-absentia
  • ExxonMobil Announces Significant Oil Discovery Offshore Guyana (ExxonMobil News Releases, May 20 2015)

    “Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) today announced a significant oil discovery on the Stabroek Block, located approximately 120 miles offshore Guyana.

    The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd., and encountered more than 295 feet (90 meters) of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs. It was safely drilled to 17,825 feet (5,433 meters) in 5,719 feet (1,743 meters) of water. Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers). ”

  • ExxonMobil Awards Key Contracts for Liza Oil Development and Production in Guyana (ExxonMobil News Releases, Dec. 20 2016)

    “ExxonMobil subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), today announced that it has awarded contracts to SBM Offshore for a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, a key step in moving the Liza field toward first production.

    Under the contracts, SBM Offshore will perform front end engineering and design for the FPSO, and, subject to a final investment decision on the project in 2017, will construct, install and operate the vessel. ”

  • ExxonMobil Makes Final Investment Decision to Proceed with Liza Oil Development in Guyana (ExxonMobil News Releases, Jun. 16 2017)

    “Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) said today it has made a final investment decision to proceed with the first phase of development for the Liza field, one of the largest oil discoveries of the past decade, located offshore Guyana.

    The company also announced positive results from the Liza-4 well, which encountered more than 197 feet (60 meters) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs, which will underpin a potential Liza Phase 2 development. Gross recoverable resources for the Stabroek block are now estimated at 2 billion to 2.5 billion oil-equivalent barrels, which includes Liza and other successful exploration wells on Liza Deep, Payara and Snoek.”

mr-absentia
  • ベネズエラ=原油発見のエセキボ地域めぐり、ガイアナとの国境調停へ (リムエネルギーニュース 2015年7月23日)

    “係争地は、ガイアナ西部を流れるエセキボ川の西側にあるバリマ・ワイニ、マザルニ・クユニ、アッパー・タクトゥー・アッパー・エセキボなどのガイアナ6州を含む地域。ガイアナ国土の71%強に相当するという。ガイアナは、英領時代の19世紀から隣国ベネズエラとエキセボ領土問題を抱えている。

    長期間にわたり、領有権争いが続いてきたが、ここにきて国連への調停申請に至った背景には、係争地で原油埋蔵が発見されたことがあるとされる。米エクソン・モービルは今年5月20日、子会社のエッソE&P(ガイアナ)が、ガイアナ沖合約190キロメートルの鉱区(リザ―1井)で原油埋蔵を発見したと発表。同鉱区で初の掘削井の発見となった。現在、商業生産の可能性などについて評価作業を続けている。

    原油発見の一報に焦ったのがベネズエラだ。同国は過去4年間、ガイアナで生産される4割に相当するコメを輸入していたが、ベネズエラは突然、コメの大半を輸入停止するとガイアナ側に通告してきたそうだ。7月10日付の AP 通信などが伝えた。

    ベネズエラの脅しともとれる行動に、ガイアナのデービッド・グランジャー大統領が「軍事的な解決でなく、国際法廷の場で黒白(こくびゃく)をつけることを望む」といった主旨の発言をした。ベネズエラのニコラス・マドゥロ大統領はこれを受け入れ、国連に調停を委ねる方針を決めたようだ”

  • 米エクソン:ガイアナ沖の大規模油田投資、来年末までに正式承認へ (Bloomberg 2016年12月21日)

    “米エクソンモービルは、南米のガイアナ沖で発見した14億バレル規模のライザ油田への投資を来年末までに正式に承認する計画だ。

    エクソンが20日発表した資料によると、同社は、ライザ油田で生産した原油を取り扱う洋上生産・貯蔵施設の設計でオランダのSBMオフショア社を起用した。同油田はガイアナ沖約193キロメートルに位置する。

    エクソンのIR(投資家向け情報提供)担当バイスプレジデント、ジェフリー・ウッドベリー氏は10月28日のアナリストとの電話会議で、エクソンが同油田開発の初期段階で日量10万バレルの生産を計画していると述べていた。

    エクソンはライザ油田の権益の45%を保有。米ヘスが30%、中国海洋石油 (CNOOC)が25%をそれぞれ保有している”

  • ガイアナ沖での石油発見がベネズエラとの新たな紛争を (岩瀬昇のエネルギーブログ 2017年3月21日)

    “石油業界に興奮をもたらしたエクソンの大発見により、ガイアナが沖合油田の可能性が高い地域として脚光を浴びている。だが同時に、低油価と生産量の減少も一因となって経済危機に苦しめられている隣国ベネズエラとの緊張が高まっている。これは、2007年に当時の故チャベス大統領により接収された(水より重いオリノコ重質原油を通常の原油に品質改良する精製)プロジェクトの補償金を巡って10年間法的に争っているエクソンとベネズエラ政府の新たな紛争でもある”

    “…ベネズエラは、ガイアナ領海が3分の2を占める Stabroek 鉱区を含む Essequibo 地域の領有権を主張している。本件は、領有権を巡って30年以上前に英国と戦争になったアルゼンチンのフォークランド諸島と同様、ベネズエラ民衆にとっては神経質(sensitive)な問題だ。アントニオ・グテーレス国連事務総長は2月、本件仲介のため、コロンビア和平で成功をおさめたノルウエーの外交官 Dag Halvor Nylander を自らの代理人(personal representative)として指名した”

    “エクソンは、今年中には Liza 地域開発への FID (最終投資決断)を行い、2020年からの生産開始を企図しているものとみられている”

    “ベネズエラ政府は先週、国境紛争に関する1966年のジュネーブ協定に基づく訴えを起こした”

    “ベネズエラの野党議員で国会のエネルギー石油委員会の副委員長である Elias Matta は、エクソンが掘削した坑井のいくつかは紛争水域にある疑念があるとし、エクソンとガイアナ政府は問題が解決するまで掘削作業を中断すべきだ、としている。エクソンは、 Liza 掘削坑井は、ベネズエラが(領有を)主張している地域からもっとも遠い、同鉱区の東に位置している、と声明の中で述べている”

    “Liza からの収入だけでも人口77万人のガイアナにとっては大きな違いをもたらす。さらに、もっと多くのものが発見される可能性があり「これだけの規模のものが発見されたら、将来さらに発見されないことは通常はない」と〔石油技術調査会社 Wood Mackenzie 探鉱調査担当 VP の Andrew〕Latham 氏はいう”

June 05 2017

mr-absentia

Bolivia's Evo Says US Wants to Overthrow Venezuela to Steal Oil

“Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday slammed ongoing right-wing opposition protests in Venezuela, claiming they serve the interests of multinational elites looking to privatize the country’s oil resources.

Morales also said foreign and domestic attacks against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution are intended to send a threatening message to anti-imperialist governments around the world.

‘The plan of the empire is to overthrow the constitutional president elected by Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, as a warning to anti-imperialist governments,’ Morales said.

‘Any internal conspiracy or external intervention is intended to steal Venezuelan oil.’”

March 10 2015

mr-absentia

history of Iran: 1953 coup

from dilbert3mp3.tumblr.com (via beautyofiran):

Mohammad Mossadegh (1882-1967) was an Iranian politician and served as the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953. At the time of his election, Iran’s oil reserves in the Persian gulf had been exploited by the British and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which would eventually become British Petroleum, for decades under the threat of military occupation. Conditions in oil towns such as Bandar Abbas were deplorable. The director of Iran’s Petroleum Institute wrote that

“Wages were 50 cents a day. There was no vacation pay, no sick leave, no disability compensation. The workers lived in a shanty town called Kaghazabad, or Paper City, without running water or electricity, … In winter the earth flooded and became a flat, perspiring lake. The mud in town was knee-deep, and … when the rains subsided, clouds of nipping, small-winged flies rose from the stagnant water to fill the nostrils …. Summer was worse. … The heat was torrid … sticky and unrelenting — while the wind and sandstorms shipped off the desert hot as a blower. The dwellings of Kaghazabad, cobbled from rusted oil drums hammered flat, turned into sweltering ovens. … In every crevice hung the foul, sulfurous stench of burning oil ….”

In March 1951, the Iranian Parliament voted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Mohammed Mossadegh was elected shortly therafter on his reputation as a widely respected statesman and champion of nationalization. Mossadegh oversaw the nationalization of the industry and the return of Iranian oil profits to the Iranian people. Britain was angered by this, and the eviction of its embassy and officials in October 1952. Britain approached the Eisenhower administration with exaggerated claims of Mossadegh and Iran’s communist sentiments. They warned that the country was on the verge of falling into Soviet hands. The CIA and MI6 agreed to stage a military coup under the codename “Operation Ajax.”

Operation Ajax, spearheaded by CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt (Grandson of Franklin Roosevelt) and approved by the Shah sought to remove Mossadegh from power. On August 15th the Shah, under the direction of the CIA, issued a royal decree dismissing Mossaddegh as prime minister. However, Mossadegh had received warning of the plot and issued a warrent for the arrest of his replacement, General Faslollah Zahedi. The news of the attempted coup caused Mossadegh supporters to fill the streets in protest in Tehran. The Shah, fearing backlash, fled from Iran to Italy.

After the first failed attempt, the CIA hired infiltrators posing as Mossadegh supporters to incite a “communist revolution.” Soon the violent riot had spread throughout southern Tehran. A second group of paid infiltrators, posing as Shah supporters, organized crowds of Iranians to march against the violent communists. By the end of the day the communists and the communist infiltrators had been beaten back by the Iranian crowds and the army, under Zahedi’s authority. The army then used the riots as en excuse to storm government buildings and arrest Mossadegh’s officials. To prevent further bloodshed, Mossadegh turned himself into the army, refusing a last attempt to organize his supporters.

The Shah returned to Iran and assumed rule of Iran until 1979. Under his rule the oil reserves of Iran continued to serve British and American interests. Mohammad Mossadegh was sentenced to death for treason, but had his sentence commuted by the Shah to house arrest. He remained under house arrest until his death in 1967.

Read More: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php

Reposted by02mydafsoup-01iranelection

March 11 2014

mr-absentia

June 27 2013

mr-absentia

Chevron: environmental damage in Ecuador

from en.wikipedia.org:

From 1972 to 1993, Texaco operated development of the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador. Ecuadorian farmers and indigenous residents accused Texaco, now Chevron, of making residents ill and damaging forests and rivers by discharging 18 billion US gallons (68,000,000 m3) of formation water into the rainforest without any environmental remediation. They sued Chevron for extensive environmental damage caused by these operations, which have sickened thousands of Ecuadorians and polluted the Amazon rainforest. The Ecuadorian court could have imposed a legal penalty of up to $28 billion in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Amazonian villagers in the region. Chevron claimed that agreements with the Ecuadorian Government exempted the company from any liabilities. A documentary on the issue, Crude, premiered in September 2009.

From 1977 until 1992 Texaco (Texpet), a subsidiary of Texaco Inc., was a minority member of this consortium with Petroecuador, the Ecuadorian state-owned oil company, as the majority partner. Since 1990, the operations were conducted solely by Petroecuador. At the conclusion of the consortium and following an independent third-party environmental audit of the area, Texaco formally agreed with the Republic of Ecuador and Petroecuador to conduct a three-year remediation program at a cost of $40 million. The government subsequently granted Texpet and all related corporate entities a full release from any and all environmental liability arising from its operations. Based on that release, Chevron contended that "this lawsuit lacks legal or factual merit." However, water and soil samples taken by an Ecuadorean scientific team after Texaco departed in 1998 found almost half still contained unsafe levels of petroleum hydrocarbons.

On 15 February 2011, a court in Ecuador fined Chevron $8.6 billion for pollution to the country's Amazon region by Texaco between 1972 and 1992, with claimants claiming loss of crops and farm animals as well as increased local cancer rates. The action was brought against Chevron by 30,000 Ecuadorean people; it is the first time that indigenous people have successfully sued a multinational corporation in the country where the pollution took place. The trial began in 2003. The total penalty imposed on Chevron was $9.5 billion as it was ruled that the oil company must pay an additional 10 per cent legally mandated reparations fee. $27 billion was the sum total requested by plaintiffs, $18.4 billion more than was eventually granted by the court. The Ecuadoreans expressed happiness that Chevron was declared guilty; they also expressed dismay that the award of $8.6 billion would not be enough to make up for the damage caused by the oil company. Environmental activists believe that this case serves as a precedent for representing pollution-causing business being carried out by firms in developing countries. The nonprofit organization Amazon Watch described the outcome of the case as "unprecedented". Chevron described the lawsuit as an "extortion scheme" and refused to pay the fine. Chevron has no international obligation to pay, and no assets in Ecuador for the government to seize.

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