BP’s Caspian Disaster

[Does the Deepwater Horizon disaster reflect upon BP’s capacity to preserve the delicate Caspian Sea Basin?  (SEE: BP Had Other Problems in Years Leading to Gulf Spill)  Western harvesting of Caspian oil entails huge pipelines that transverse the sea in several places.  If BP can’t be trusted to guarantee that all safety procedures are strictly followed in raising oil 5,000 feet from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, then how could they be trusted to safely maintain hundreds of miles of pipelines on the seabed?]

BP’s Caspian Disaster

by JalilBahar

Azerbaijan is the new colonial cow being milked by Britain. 15 British oil companies have set up shop, and are siphoning Iranian oil from the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan.It would be nice if Azerbaijan received some benefit from this oil exploitation (or even Iranians) – but once again the Brtis have installed a puppet dictator to assist them in their milking process.

Mr. Aliev, Azerbaijan’s President, installed himself in power in a rigged election in 2003 – upon the death of this father (a former KGB officer).

The tale of how Britain gained full access to Azeri oil is a sordid one.  There are several reports of how BP executives working for Lord Browne spent millions of pounds on champagne-fuelled sex parties to help secure lucrative international oil contracts. The company also worked with MI6 to help bring about changes in foreign governments, according to an astonishing account of life inside the oil giant. Les Abrahams, who led BP’s successful bid for a multi-million-pound deal with one of the former Soviet republics, today claims that Browne – who was forced to resign as chief executive recently after the collapse of legal proceedings against The Mail on Sunday – presided over an “anything goes” regime of sexual license, spying and financial sweeteners. He also claims that Home Secretary John Reid was arrested at gunpoint on a BP-funded foreign trip for being out on the streets after a military curfew had been imposed. Mr. Abrahams tells how he spent £45 million in expenses over just four months of negotiations with Azerbaijan’s state oil company. Armed with a no-limit company credit card, he ordered supplies of champagne and caviar to be flown on company jets into the boomtown capital, Baku, to be consumed at the “sex parties. The result is an almost mirror reflection of how Iran was exploited for decades by the Brits before Iran’s democratic government was established and Iranian Oil nationalized in the 50’s. Oil gets extracted and a pittance in royalties is handed over to the “locals”. For the poor idiots running Azerbaijan any cash from these oil companies is more than they ever had – but the reality is they are being skimmed. Azeris are being hozed. And as we all know, the Brits who to a large extent were behind the rise of the Mullahs in Iran are at work again.

The Caspian region is the largest untapped hydrocarbon reserve in the world. The wealth under the sea is measured in trillions – not billions of dollars. The world is hungry for more energy. Consider for example that China will be adding 110 million cars to its existing stock of 30 million cars by 2020.

There is over 200 billion barrels of oil, and over three trillion cubic meters of natural gas under there. These riches are at stake in a new economic and political ‘great game.’ Now that North Sea oil is depleted and more Alaskan Oil (where BP was a 50% stake holder) is shut out (because of US Congressional protection of Alaska’s wildlife reserves), Britain and the United States have partnered up to get their hands on Iraqi and Caspian region oil in full force. What’s $100 billion dollars for the Iraq war when there’s trillions out there? Interestingly, Iraq awarded a contract to BPand China National Petroleum Corp to exploit the Rumaila oilfield, a giant field that first entered production in 1955. The field currently produces slightly less than 1 million barrels per day; the contract with BP targets a production plateau of around 2.85 million barrels per day. The BP deal for Rumaila was the only contract awarded in Iraq’s first bidding round in summer 2009.

BP operates 29,000 stations throughout the world, including 15,000 in the United States operating under the BP, Amoco, and ARCO trade names. BP is the second-largest integrated oil company in the world. In 2001, it had fixed U.S. assets totaling approximately $40 billion. With revenues of $174.2 billion in 2001, BP employs 110,159 workers worldwide, including 42,000 in the United States.

Quite clearly, BP is at the heart of political and economic manipulations to exploit global oil. And the Caspian Sea’s littoral states are the victims of these dealings.

This is a new high-stakes scramble of vital long-term geopolitical significance. Basically, the very future of Britain’s economy and US economic leadership are at stake — with for example China and India’s long-term dependence on Western controlled energy resources at issue.

But, this time it’s not just about the theft of wealth. The very survival of the Caspian Sea is in question — and the future of over 400 unique biological species. Much of the biological focus has been on the high value Sturgeon populations, yet for example there is unprecedented death among the Caspian’s seal population with thousands dying as a result of poisoning from oil pollution. The carcasses are there for every one to witness.

There is simply NO environmental regulation in the whole Caspian region. Not only are there large off shore oil rigs pumping out millions of barrels of oil, but there are major pipelines being built to transport the oil.

The only option to transport this oil is to build large pipelines across the Caspian Sea bed to Southern Turkey – crossing 4 countries each. Two pipelines are now on the drawing board across the Caspian Sea (one from Turkmenistan and the other from Kazakhstan) to ports on the Mediterranean.

To get a sense of what these pipelines might do to the Caspian, let’s look at two smaller pipelines operating today. Already the Baku-Novarisk and the Baku-Sepia pipelines have caused major leaks. And then there is the issue of discharges from actual oil and gas drilling into the Sea. And finally, there is the issue of operating refineries and chemical plants on the perimeter of the Sea. Interestingly, all southern land-based pipeline options to Iranian markets have been rejected, although it is by far the cheapest and most environmentally benign option…i.e. the shortest route! Iran could purchase oil and gas for its major cities in the North and in exchange ship out product from its southern ports.

In any case, the Absheron Peninsula refinery (in Azerbaijan) has already been sited with major environmental abuses. There is simply no environmental regulation in the region, which is very openly designed to attract foreign investment and maintain cash flow for the region’s corrupt dictatorships that are heavily interested in signing multibillion dollar deals with foreign companies. (ref: Azerbaijani’s recent $4Bn deal with BP)!

The issue of environmental regulation is important in many ways. On the one hand disasters need to be prevented. There has to be clear oversight, inspections, engineering and operational reviews.

But on the other hand, there has to be an international (cross-border), multilateral way to deal with disasters if they happen. And there is currently NO coordination between the Caspian Sea’s littoral states in disaster management. This issue not only impacts oil and gas exploration, but is also significant in dealing with over-fishing, and protection and promotion of the Caspian’s Biological heritage.

BP is the most significant player in the Caspian Sea. If BP could not operate safely in a heavily regulated US operating environment, you have to wonder what corners they are cutting in the Caspian Sea. As the world’s most profitable Oil Company, with record 3.5 Billion dollars in profits last quarter (that’s on track for about $14 Billion dollars annually) …you just can’t help wonder? And with that much money at stake, to continue to buy off politicians in these puppet Caspian States …would simply be the equivalent of us throwing quarters into a beggars bowl at the train station.

It’s simply a disaster waiting to happen.

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