Carbon Web Newsletter Issue 11 - April 2009
News & Analysis
www.ShellGuilty.com - New campaign launched to demand that Shell end the illegal gas flaring that Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa died trying to stop As Shell sits in the dock in a New York court from May 26 on charges of complicity in murder, the global campaign will use TV, online ads & grassroots action to hold Shell accountable.
Gaza’s Marine Gas Field worth $4-8 billion has been lauded by Tony Blair as offering the “economic fuel to jump-start the Palestinian economy”. Yet proposed plans and international pressures threaten to deprive the Palestinian people of the benefits of a local resource while reasserting Israeli state control.
Oil Price - Special Feature
The dramatic crash in the oil price has reversed the trend of resource sovereignty seen in previous years. International oil companies are using the shift in the power-balance to demand more control & better terms from producing countries. The oil price weakness in the 1990s created a context for deals like Sakhalin II. Whether we see a repeat of such rip-off contracts will depend on social movements as much as the oil price.
Foreign oil companies are successfully using the low oil price to demand greater concessions from the Iraqi government in current bidding rounds. BP and Shell will now be able to both take majority control of projects, and deplete fields faster than is usual in the Middle East, boosting expected rates of return.
The dramatic collapse in the oil price in late 2008 has forced oil companies to slow down their development plans for the Albertan Tar Sands. The delays in pipeline projects and extraction plans have created a timegap for external forces to change the business and political landscape. These include the new US administration, legal cases against tar sands, the rising tide of civil society opposition and the prospect of international climate agreements.
Financial Crisis & Oil Finance
By March 2009, the British Treasury had ‘bailed out’ the Royal Bank of Scotland to the point where it is 90% owned by the UK taxpayer. The banking crisis puts the government in a position to implement climate-sensitive lending policies across the sector. The interests of the tax-payer would be better served by creating a more climate-secure future than through the short-term inflation of RBS's unsustainable profit margins.
RBS continued to pump millions into oil extraction in conflict zones in March 2009. A $100 million loan enables Tullow Oil to continue operations on the Congo-Uganda border, where resource extraction is intensifying conflict between rival armies and militias, displacing over 30,000 refugees in March.
In mid-March, RBS financed exploration work in previously untouched regions of Greenland’s Arctic. The bank helped raise £116 million for Cairn Energy, towards “accelerated drilling” offshore Greenland. Cairn hold offshore licences covering 72,000 km2 and describe Greenland as “a true frontier country where oil and gas exploration is at an embryonic stage".
Pipeline scenes: Events along the route of BP's Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and parallel oil/gas pipelines, carrying fossil fuels west from the Caspian. Georgian protests, Russian bomb craters, Kurdish political offices, Turkish anti-coal protests, fishermen & snow.
Notes from Gog & Magog
Where are they now? After 14 long years it looks like Shell will be in the dock for the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa. The question is – where are the key actors now?
BP planned to celebrate 100 Glorious Years of the company at the (heavily BP sponsored) British Museum on 1st April. Art not Oil planned to celebrate BP's "tarnished century as part of Fossil Fuels Day'. But a mere 9 working days before the event, the reception was cancelled. Art not Oil have called "A Wake for BP" for the new Party date on May 6.