KAMPALA, Uganda — When billions of barrels of oil reserves were found in Uganda five years ago, the discovery seemed like a gift from heaven to many in this poor, landlocked country.
Despite Ugandans’ dreams of industrialization, the country’s most lucrative export is coffee, and fish is second. Nearly 40 percent of the population survives on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. But when oil starts pumping within the next several years, the expected revenue of up to $2 billion a year could propel Uganda into the strata of middle-income countries, where few sub-Saharan African countries rank. A refinery will be built; infrastructure is promised.
Yet there are growing worries that the oil may prove to be more of a curse than a gift, similar to the fates of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have joined the petroleum bonanza. Uganda is considered by international experts to be among the most corrupt nations in the world, and even before oil production has begun, several senior government officials, including the prime minister, have been accused of pocketing millions of dollars in bribes from oil companies, forcing at least one of the politicians to resign.
The web of scandals may delay the much-anticipated starting date of oil production, adding to the already volatile politics in Uganda, which has recently been the scene of one of the most active protest movements in sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda’s Parliament voted in an emergency session in mid-October to freeze all oil contracts and begin investigations of the country’s prime minister, internal affairs minister and foreign minister, all of whom are close to the president and have been accused of taking money from Tullow Oil, a British company in Uganda that was scheduled to complete a $2.9 billion deal with the Ugandan government and two other companies to produce Uganda’s oil. Tullow has denied the accusations.
Despite governing for nearly 26 years and handily winning re-election again this year, President Yoweri Museveni now finds that his popularity seems to be waning, along with his grip on the economy and his own party. Many here say that the bribery allegations are part of a campaign by some politicians to determine who comes next.
“Most obviously, the jockeying is for positions,” said Mahmood Mamdani, an anthropology professor at Columbia and Makerere University in Uganda, “especially given the expectation that Museveni will not run the next time.”
Mr. Museveni’s rise, from rebel to leader of a regional power, has paralleled Uganda’s. In the capital, Kampala, vendors sell posters of the president’s image edited into Terminator outfits, next to dictionaries and Bibles. He is prickly about criticism and refers to himself at times in the third person.
“Museveni can never be given money by anybody,” the president said at an impromptu news conference he held last month in Kampala, lashing out when the bribery allegations were publicized. “General Yoweri Museveni. To get money from a Muzungu, or anybody, for my personal use, is contempt of the highest order,” he said, using Ugandan slang for Westerner.
“The next generation of Ugandans could grow up in a very different country to that of their parents and grandparents,” the advocacy organization Global Witness said in a 2010 report. “But the risk of the resource curse phenomenon taking hold in Uganda cannot be ignored.”
Uganda has been rocked by a series of demonstrations over surging commodity prices — particularly petroleum — as inflation has hit 30 percent. Protesters say they are inspired by the Arab Spring revolts.
It is not just the decreasing value of Uganda’s currency that critics are complaining about; it is the way the money is being spent. The government was criticized in April for buying fighter jets from Russia for approximately $740 million, which some analysts saw as being costly status symbols rather than useful weaponry. According to the director of the Bank of Uganda, Mr. Museveni ordered the bank to release millions of dollars to pay for the fighter jets, which Mr. Museveni promised would be reimbursed with oil money, a prominent Ugandan newspaper reported.
Uganda’s oil lies underneath the forests and lakes lining the border with its troubled neighbor Congo. Oil industry and government officials estimate that Uganda will be able to pump about 200,000 barrels a day. But Uganda’s oil is waxy, difficult to pump and expensive to refine.
Still, the country has stated its intention to build a pipeline through Kenya to the port of Mombasa, and lawmakers have already accused Mr. Museveni of secretly selling off some crude oil to foreign nations.
As private investors come and go from Uganda, there are worries that hundreds of millions of dollars are up for grabs in kickbacks and secret deals.
According to American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, Tullow Oil accused the Italian company ENI of trying to bribe Ugandan politicians, including Mr. Museveni and the prime minister, with more than $200 million to secure oil rights held by Tullow’s onetime partner, Heritage Oil, a British company. One cable cites a Ugandan intelligence report given to the American Embassy by Tullow. But Tullow Oil itself helped write the intelligence report, the cable said.
As for the new bribery allegations, there are questions about their veracity, and some analysts believe that the politicians singled out — all close to Mr. Museveni (the foreign minister is an in-law) — are victims of a smear campaign to hurt their chances of succeeding Mr. Museveni.
“I have never let Uganda down,” Mr. Museveni said during the news conference. “Uganda will not lose, and cannot lose under my leadership. O.K.?”
Free energy, another inconvenient truth.
A Segment from a documentary shot in the early 90’s about Global Conspiracies.
If you see this video with Magniworks Free Energy generator ad, beware! Do not send money or credit card information! The plans they sell are free online, below is a link with more info.
Always check for fraud claims before buying alternative excess/free energy devices, and ask professionals in the green alternative energy fields as well.
Did you know that BP wrote off $13 billion in losses for this past year?
That’s 13 Billion that WE THE TAXPAYERS are covering for them.
Wonder why? Damned if I know - ask the Government.
All the while BP claims that this year was exemplary in the history of their workplace safety record….well, except for that one minor fuck-up in the Gulf, that is.
Celente: Would US target #Libya if they had broccoli instead of #oil? (by RussiaToday) #revolution
NATO has agreed to take command of the Libyan no-fly zone, but stopped short of accepting full military control. Alliance chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the U.S. will hand over operational responsibility to NATO within days. Meanwhile, fresh air strikes have rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli, with reports of more civilian casualties. Gerald Celente from the Trends Research Institute says NATO is just a cover for the U.S. and the Libyan mission is about gaining control of the country’s oil.
US NAVY/ GETTY IMAGES
The tortuous saga of BP, the Gulf of Mexico, the Lockerbie bombing and an America which feels itself badly wronged took another turn yesterday when it emerged that the oil company is about to start drilling at an even greater depth in, of all places, Libyan waters.
And, as that information was being absorbed, there came an announcement that Jack Straw, the former justice secretary, had declined an invitation to attend the upcoming US Senate hearing into possible links between BP and the release last August of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the murder of 259 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103, and 11 Lockerbie residents. Megrahi, who was diagnosed with cancer, was put on a plane back to Tripoli after doctors said he had only three months to live.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is investigating allegations that the release, officially on compassionate grounds, was ordered in return for economic co-operation, including access to oil and gas fields. Tony Blair, former prime minister and “friend of Gaddafi”, has also become embroiled in the affair.
Scottish ministers have refused to take part in the Senate hearing, and yesterday, one senator asked Edinburgh to reconsider. Senator Frank Lautenberg said in a letter to Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister: “I am pleading for direct representation from the Scottish government at our hearing next week to help us seek answers. Your co-operation in sending a knowledgeable person will help establish a credible record of what transpired.”
The senators are understood not to have ruled out inviting the group of doctors whose assessments contributed to the conclusion that Megrahi had only three months to live. They may have to settle for copies of the medical reports, although the Scottish authorities have guarded these closely until now.
BP is also under pressure to attend the Senate hearing on Thursday into allegations, ignited by the Gulf oil spill controversy, that it influenced a UK government prisoner-transfer treaty with Libya to win lucrative contracts worth up to $20bn. It is expected to send one of its highest-ranking executives, possibly Tony Hayward, its chief executive, or Sir Mark Allen, its special adviser; both have been invited. “We have not responded yet but I would expect that someone would attend,” a BP spokesman said yesterday.
It is even possible that, come Tuesday afternoon, Tony Hayward will be on his way out of BP. Industry sources said last night that he has told the board he is prepared to announce his departure on Tuesday when the oil giant announces half-year results along with estimates for the cost of the oil spill. His likely successor would be Robert Dudley, the American who has taken day-to-day charge of cleaning up and handling the oil spill from Mr Hayward.
William Hague yesterday became the latest politician to dash hopes that the UK would contribute significantly to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s inquiry into Megrahi’s release. The Foreign Secretary released a letter to the committee chairman, John Kerry, stating that, although the bomber’s release was “wrong and misguided”, it was “legally and constitutionally proper” that the decision had been made by the Scottish government.
Mr Hague did, however, confirm that several discussions were held between the then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and BP ahead of a controversial prisoner-transfer agreement being agreed with Libya in 2007. Despite this, in a letter to Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the committee, Mr Straw said: “It was … Mr Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, who last August made the decision to release Mr al-Megrahi on compassionate, medical grounds. I had absolutely nothing to do with that decision. I saw no papers about it, and was not consulted about it. Indeed I was on holiday at the time and only learnt about it from an item on the BBC News website.”
All of these manoeuvres – plus continuing wrangles over the widespread contamination of the Gulf of Mexico and its extensive shoreline by the massive amounts of oil spilled when the BP-rented Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 men – mean that the new Libyan drilling is unlikely to be seen in the US as normal commercial oil exploration. It is far too loaded with emotive freight for that, especially given the degree to which US livelihoods in the south-west have been ruined by the Gulf oil spill, and the scale of American losses on Pan Am 103.
BP is pressing ahead with deep-water drilling off the coast of Libya “within weeks”. The oil firm is refusing to delay its plans, outlined as far back as 2007, despite fears that it has not learned any lessons from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. At 1,700m, the Gulf of Sirte well would be 200m deeper than the ill-fated Gulf rig. A spokesman would not be drawn on an exact timetable. “We are exactly on schedule,” he said, adding: “If there are any lessons that come out of the investigation in to the Deepwater Horizon spill we will of course apply them to our operations all over the world.”
One of the lessons to be learned is not to turn off alarm systems that warn of leaks. A rig engineer told US investigators on Friday that an emergency alarm which could have warned workers on the doomed rig was intentionally disabled. Mike Williams, chief engineer technician aboard Swiss-based Transocean’s rig, said the general alarm which could have detected the cloud of flammable methane gas that enveloped the rig’s deck was “inhibited” so that workers’ sleep was not disturbed.
BP struck a $900m exploration deal with the Libyan government in May 2007, barely three months before the Scottish government sparked international consternation by releasing Megrahi. The agreement allows it to explore 54,000 square kilometres (21,000 square miles) of the onshore Ghadames and offshore Sirte basins, which could see it drill 17 exploration wells and up to 20 appraisal wells.
Meanwhile, back at the scene of the Deepwater Horizon disaster some ships prepared to move back to the site of BP’s broken oil well yesterday as the remnants of a weakening Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the area. By yesterday morning, the rig drilling the relief tunnel that will blast mud into the broken well to permanently seal it was getting ready to return. The storm has affected the operation. Work on the relief tunnel stopped on Wednesday, and it will take time to restart. Crews on the drilling rig pulled up a mile of pipe in 40ft to 60ft sections and laid it on deck of the rig so they could move to safer water. And the threat of severe weather remains. Hurricane season is at its most active in early August, extending into September.
BP’s spill, the worst in US history, is believed to have spewed more than five million barrels of oil into the Gulf. Officials say the environmental disaster has killed or injured more than 700 sea turtles and dozens of dolphins.
In a New York courtroom today, oil giant Chevron Corp. won a halt to enforcement of an $18 billion judgment for oil pollution of the Ecuadorian Amazon imposed by a court in Ecuador.
Granting Chevron’s request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in Manhattan that Chevron faced “imminent” and “irreparable” harm to its reputation and business relationships.
“There is a significant risk that assets would be seized or attached, thus disrupting Chevron’s supply chain, causing it to miss critical deliveries to business partners,” Judge Kaplan wrote
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan (Photo courtesy U. Rochester)
The judge ruled that the judgment won by Ecuadorean indigenous plaintiffs could not be enforced until Chevron’s racketeering case against the Ecuadoreans and their lawyers is decided.
On February 1, Chevron sued the Ecuadorian plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in New York, accusing them of fraud, interfering with contracts, trespass, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy. Chevron levied even more serious charges against their main U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger, expert witnesses and affiliated organizations, accusing them of racketeering.
Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the Ecuadoreans and a defendant named in the racketeering case, said of Judge Kaplan’s ruling, “This decision is a slap in the face to the democratic nation of Ecuador and the thousands of Ecuadorian citizens who have courageously fought for 18 years to hold Chevron accountable for committing the world’s worst environmental disaster.”
“The trampling of due process in the court’s refusal to consider key evidence or hold a hearing to determine the facts is an inappropriate exercise of judicial power that will harm the United States’ relationship with Latin America and other parts of the world,” said Hinton. “It disregards the scholarly and comprehensive 188-page opinion of Ecuadorian Judge Nicolas Zambrano, a well-respected member of Ecuador’s judiciary.”
Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco in the Amazon rainforest near Lago Agrio, Ecuador, April 15, 2010. (Photo by Caroline Bennett courtesy Rainforest Action Network)
“It also ignores key evidence that Chevron has committed a series of frauds in Ecuador to cover up its unlawful misconduct,” she said.
Judge Kaplan recognized that the damages from the court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador have more than doubled from original $8.6 billion judgment because Chevron has not made the public apology required by Judge Zambrano’s ruling, and 10 percent of the original judgment has been awarded to the Amazon Defense Coalition.
Even so, the Ecuadorean plaintiffs have appealed Judge Zambrano’s ruling, arguing that the award is not large enough to clean up the billions of gallons of toxic waste dumped by the oil company.
“We want to emphasize that after appeals in Ecuador the Ecuadorian plaintiffs retain their full right to lawfully enforce the judgment of their own country’s courts in any of the dozens of nations around the world where Chevron has assets,” Hinton said. “In the meantime, we will appeal the decision on multiple grounds.”
Chevron argues that Texaco cleaned up all the contaminated sites before turning the land over to the government of Ecuador.
This legal action began in 1993, when the Ecuadorean plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York against Texaco, since purchased by Chevron.
Oil contamination in the Ecuadorean Amazon, September 30, 2005 (Photo by Kayana)
The class action complaint was filed on behalf of 30,000 inhabitants of the Oriente region of Ecuador seeking compensation for environmental and personal injury from oil contamination in the rainforest from 30 years of oil extraction. The lawsuit accuses Texaco of deliberately and unlawfully discharging more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, decimating indigenous groups and poisoning an area the size of Rhode Island.
Nine years later, at Chevron’s request, that litigation was dismissed and transferred to the courts of Ecuador, where Judge Zambrano issued a judgment against Chevron on February 14, 2011.
Kaplan ordered Chevron to post a $21.8 million bond or deposit that amount with the court to ensure payment of any damages caused by the delay in enforcement of the judgment, if his injunction does not stand.
The Ecuadoreans, acting as defendants in Chevron’s racketeering lawsuit, today filed a 42-page sworn affidavit, backed by hundreds of pages of exhibits, outlining in detail Chevron’s 18-year effort to undermine the Ecuadorean court in Lago Agrio.
Ecuadorian attorney Juan Pablo Saenz wrote in his affidavit to Judge Kaplan, “After decades of exploiting the country and wielding its influence like a club as it extracted riches from the Napo Concession, Chevron believed it could use that same power to buy or bully its way to a swift dismissal of this case, or, at the very least, to delay the day of reckoning indefinitely.”
“It is crystal clear that Chevron wanted this case to be heard in Ecuador because it believed that the Ecuadorian judiciary was too weak to handle these claims,” wrote Saenz in his affidavit. “It was only when the Ecuadorian judiciary proved more independent than Chevron expected that the company did an about-face and started to attack Ecuador’s courts.”
Chevron has removed all assets from Ecuador and has claimed it will not pay the judgment, even though it had promised U.S. courts it would abide by the Ecuador court’s decision as a condition of the case being transferred to Ecuador.
Electricity from Oil
In the United States, oil is used mostly for transportation or home heating purposes, although a small percentage is used as a fuel for electricity generating plants. As with other fossil fuels, oil is found in underground reservoirs. It is the end product of the decomposition of organic materials that have been subjected to geologic heat and pressure over millions of years. Oil is considered a nonrenewable resource because it cannot be replenished on a human timeframe.
The activities involved in producing electricity from oil begin with the extraction of the oil and end with its burning in boilers and turbines at power plants. Initially, crude oil is removed from the ground by drilling deep wells and pumping it up to the surface.
The crude oil is then transported to a refinery where it is refined into a number of fuel products, including gasoline, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (such as propane), distillates (diesel and jet fuels), and “residuals” that include industrial fuels. Refineries remove a portion of the impurities in the crude oil, such as sulfur, nitrogen, and metals.
From the refinery, oil is transported to power plants by ship, pipelines, truck, or train. At power plants, several methods can be used to generate electricity from oil. One method is to burn the oil in boilers to produce steam, which is used by a steam turbine to generate electricity. A more common method is to burn the oil in combustion turbines, which are similar to jet engines. Another technology is to burn the oil in a combustion turbine and use the hot exhaust to make steam to drive a steam turbine. This technology is called “combined cycle” and is more efficient because it uses the same fuel source twice.
Although power plants are regulated by federal and state laws to protect human health and the environment, there is a wide variation of environmental impacts associated with power generation technologies.
The purpose of the following section is to give consumers a better idea of the specific air, water, and solid waste releases associated with oil-fired electricity generation.
Burning oil at power plants produces nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and mercury compounds. The amount of sulfur dioxide and mercury compounds can vary greatly depending on the sulfur and mercury content of the oil that is burned.
The average emissions rates in the United States from oil-fired generation are: 1672 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 12 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 4 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.1
In addition, oil wells and oil collection equipment are a source of emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The large engines that are used in the oil drilling, production, and transportation processes burn natural gas or diesel that also produce emissions.
Water Resource Use
Oil-fired power plants use large quantities of water for steam production and cooling. When oil-fired power plants remove water from a lake or river, fish and other aquatic life can be killed, which affects those animals and people who depend on these aquatic resources.
In addition, the drilling of oil requires water to remove obstructions from the well, and refineries require water in the various processes used to refine crude oil into usable fuel.
Refineries release treated wastewater, which can contain pollutants, into streams and other bodies of water. Likewise, power plants release wastewater, which contains pollutants and is generally hotter than the water in nearby lakes and streams, often harming fish and plants. This discharge usually requires a permit and is monitored. For more information about these regulations, visit EPA’s Office of Water Web site.
Drilling can also cause underground water supplies to become contaminated with oil, and runoff from the extraction process can affect surface waters. During the transportation of oil, spills can occur, damaging water quality and harming marine life and birds in oceans and coastal waterways.
Solid Waste Generation
Oil refining produces wastewater sludge and other solid waste that can contain high levels of metals and toxic compounds and that may require special handling, treatment, and disposal. Also, when oil is burned at power plants, residues that are not completely burned can accumulate, forming another source of solid waste that must be disposed.
Land Resource Use
The construction of large oil-fired power plants can destroy habitats for animals and plants. Waste products from refining and from power plants (such as wastewater sludge and residues) can cause land contamination if not properly disposed. In addition, when oil spills occur on land, soils are degraded.
U.S. oil reserves in 2003 were estimated to be 143 billion barrels. These reserves are distributed as follows: Texas, 24 percent; Alaska, 22 percent; California, 17 percent; and the Gulf of Mexico, 14 percent.2 U.S. oil consumption in 2000 was 7.3 billion barrels.
- U.S. EPA, eGRID 2000.
- U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2005.
AND THEY THOUGHT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WOULD NEVER FIND THIS OUT!? [VKD]
OIL—-you better be sitting down when you read this ! !
You “will” pay $5 a gallon + again and you won’t complain loud enough to make a difference, RIGHT!
Here’s an astonishing read. Important and verifiable information :
About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes Bros. was the guest. The host said to Forbes, “I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; how much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?” Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, “more than all the Middle East put together.” Please read below.
The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana ….. check THIS out:
The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska ‘s Prudhoe Bay , and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable… at $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5…3 trillion.
“When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..” says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst.
“This sizeable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years,” reports The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It’s a formation known as the Williston Basin , but is more commonly referred to as the ‘Bakken.’ It stretches from Northern Montana , through North Dakota and into Canada . For years, U. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the ‘Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves….. and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!
That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should - because it’s from 2006!
U.. S. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World
Stansberry Report Online - 4/20/2006
Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this mother load of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling?
They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.. Here are the official estimates:
- 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
- 18-times as much oil as Iraq
- 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
- 22-times as much oil as Iran
- 500-times as much oil as Yemen
- and it’s all right here in the Western United States .
HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy…..WHY?
James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East -more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.
Don’t think ‘OPEC’ will drop its price - even with this find? Think again! It’s all about the competitive marketplace, - it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?
Got your attention yet? Now, while you’re thinking about it, do this:
Pass this along. If you don’t take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you complain about gas prices - by doing NOTHING, you forfeit your right to complain.
Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.
By the way…this is all true. Check it out at the link below!!!
GOOGLE it, or follow this link. It will blow your mind.