Africa. Is our attention being diverted because of this?
New Sources of Oil
January 20, 2005 – West African oil holds great promise for companies in search of diverse sources. But it’s giving U.S. national security planners a new gulf to worry about: the Gulf of Guinea.
Imports from Nigeria have almost doubled in the last two years, and U.S. companies led by Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil Corp. is beginning to produce from new fields in the deep waters off Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and further south off Angola.
Yet much like the Persian Gulf countries, the Gulf of Guinea nations harbor terrorists and insurrectionists who pose a big threat to the flow of oil, particularly from onshore fields in Nigeria’s Niger River delta.
When a rebel group threatened to attack Nigerian oil installations in early October, prices rose to $50 a barrel.
The rebels now say they’ve reached a truce with the government. Still, fears about continued violence in Nigeria and Iraq coupled with concerns about the slow pace of recovery in Gulf of Mexico oil output pushed crude close to $55 a barrel as of Friday.
Is this some of the reason why we are not helping out more in Sudan?
Gulf of Guinea Oil vital for U.S.
Ten years after the discovery of vast quantities of oil and gas in its waters by ExxonMobil, tiny Equatorial Guinea now produces 440,000 barrels of oil daily, almost half the yield of Nigeria. Within five years it will probably become Africa’s second biggest producer and one of the US’s largest providers. According to the IMF, its income from oil and gas is about $1bn a year based on 1992 oil prices and output. It is more likely that its income from oil is $3bn.
Large quantities of oil have also been discovered in the waters off the tiny neighbouring island of Sao Tome e Principe, where over 20 oil companies have bid for the right to drill. The U.S. is negotiating with the government of this island to establish a strategic regional base there.
The African Oil Policy Group, a Washington lobbying group, reported to the House of Representatives African Subcommittee in 2002, “the Gulf of Guinea oil basin in West Africa, with greater western and southern Africa and its attendant market of 250 million people located astride key sea lanes of communication, [is] a vital interest in U.S. national security calculations”.
The U.S. has used the “war on terrorism” to increase its military presence in Africa.
General James Jones, commander of the US European command with responsibility for African operations, on the eve of President Bush’s visit to Africa in June 03 stated that the US was trying to negotiate the long term use of a “family” of military bases across Africa. Augmenting these bases would be a strong U.S. Navy and Marine force operating in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa “The carrier battle groups of the future may not spend six months in the Mediterranean sea,” Jones said “but I’ll bet they spend half the time going down the west coast of Africa”.
I’m just asking as I find this curious.