April 07, 2003

Oui Virginia, It's about Oil.

Let's investigate Chirac's oil policy and how it affects oil bearing countries... shall we?

France's motivation in the Congo is quite clear:

The Congo is the fourth largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. The upstream oil industry is the mainstay of the Congolese economy supplying two-thirds of government revenue. Oil accounts for a large portion of Congo's GDP and the majority of the country’s exports. Current proven reserves are estimated to be 1,291 million tonnes of crude and large reserves of associated natural gas exist. Congo is one of the West African countries where Energy Africa is active.

Elf Congo holds interest ranging from 35% to 65% in onshore and offshore exploration and production licenses in association with various international oil companies. Elf has a terminal at Djeno, south of Pointe Noire and some production on offshore platforms. The company's largest offshore production facility, the Nkossa oil field, is located in the Gulf of Guinea, 60 km off the Congolese coast.

HOWARD W. FRENCH, "Competition Heats Up for West Africa's Oil Wealth," New York Times, March 7, 1998

"Ms. Albright's recent African oil diplomacy has been matched by the foreign policies of France and Britain. French President Jacques Chirac, for example, called his counterpart in the Congo Republic, Denis Sassou Nguesso, to congratulate him less than 48 hours after his victory in a devastating four-month civil war. The call was made despite the fact that Sassou had just overthrown a democratically elected president, Pascal Lissouba, and heavily damaged the capital, Brazzaville, with artillery barrages and bombing runs by MIG jets, in the process.

Elf derives about 60 percent of its global oil production from the Gulf of Guinea, and just prior to the war in Congo, had inaugurated the world's largest deep-water offshore rig. "

Asia as well:

French Oil Giant Accused of Myanmar Abuses

"The French oil company TotalFinaElf and its predecessors are once again under fire for allegedly unethical behavior in other lands, including human-rights abuses in Myanmar. "

"TotalFina, the enterprise that took over state-owned Elf Aquitaine in 1999 to become TotalFinaElf, faces charges over operations in Myanmar. It stands accused of ordering the kidnapping of local workers to force them to build a gas pipeline."

Then we have Chirac's new best friend Putin:

Pravda: TotalFinaElf May Invest in Siberian Oil Field

TotalFinaElf, Europe's largest investor in world oil production, is to take part in the development of the Vankor oil and gas field in the Turukhansk district of the Krasnoyarsk Region. This announcement was made yesterday by Krasnoyarsk Region Governor Alexander Khloponin after holding the first stage of talks with the head of the French Company's Russian office, Francois Rafin. Khloponin called the talks 'very constructive.'


TotalFinaElf is embroiled in a corruption scandal that could reach into France's highest political offices.

Then there is story linked to Iraq via the UK:

"A British national has been arrested in London and faces extradition to France on charges connected with a huge corruption trial surrounding French oil giant Elf, Scotland Yard said."

"Auchi does not dispute that he received the money from Elf to obtain Ertoil, a Spanish refinery from its Kuwaiti owners in 1990, the newspaper said. The Iraqi-born billionaire has said the innocent deal was an agreement to buy the refinery with his own funds, "warehouse" it and eventually resell it to Total, The Guardian said."

Is there a country, con man, despot or dictator with an oil reserve that France is not supporting or cosying up to? This exercise brings to mind Little Red Riding Hood...beware of Gran Mere with big white teeth Virginia.

Posted by feste at April 7, 2003 11:56 AM
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