Channel 4 News Special Reports: Oil Rush

With world-wide demand for oil increasing and the
Gulf States- in particular Saudi Arabia-
vulnerable to instability the United States is
desperate to tap the vast untapped fields of
Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian states. And
as Liam Halligan explains Afghanistan is central
to trying to move oil from there to the west:


[ submitted by Toby Jordan ]

Freedom, justice, a world rid of terrorism,
Operation Enduring Freedom has a whole range of
stated objectives. But is there another, less well
advertised motive to the bombing of Afghanistan?


With world-wide demand for oil increasing and
the Gulf States- in particular Saudi Arabia-
vulnerable to instability the United States is
desperate to tap the vast untapped fields of
Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian states. And
as Liam Halligan explains Afghanistan is central
to trying to move oil from there to the west:


The September 11th atrocities sparked a coalition
– a "crusade" said George Bush – for
freedom and justice. But take a closer look.
There’s an important subtext to the struggle over
Afghanistan. OIL.


Over the last few years, you
may have read that the West – and particularly the
US – is becoming less oil dependent. But it’s just
not true.


Back in 1970, the US used 16m
barrels each day. Today that’s ballooned to 22m –
making America by far the world’s biggest oil
importer.


The European Union used 12m barrels
a day 30 years ago. Now it’s 15m. And oil’s not
just used for petrol. Right now, you’re reading
off a computer monitor made of plastic, presumably
in a warm room and probably wearing man-made
fibres. All thanks to oil.


So where does it all come from?


Saudi Arabia, of course, is the
biggest exporter – over 7m barrels per day. Iran,
Iraq and Kuwait are big players too. But don’t
forget the Former Soviet Union to the East – which
exports almost 4,500,000 barrels daily. Apart from
Russia, it’s these newly independent Central Asian
states that are key.


Already 20 BILLION
barrels of oil reserves have been found in
Khazakhstan – and there could be much more. The
oil and gas so far discovered in these parts is
worth THREE TRILLION dollars in today’s prices.


That’s why Western oil companies are so
interested this oil to world markets.


It’s the
culmination of the Great Game. The struggle for
influence in Central Asia is the last great oil
rush, as the West tries to reduce dependence on
the Gulf.


Russia’s already built a pipeline
from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea and onto the
outside world, earning billions in oil and gas
exports.


US oil companies could try and build
from Baku through Georgia , or on to Turkey’s
Mediterranean coast. But it would be much, much
cheaper to build pipes from Central Asia through
Afghanistan, to the Gulf Coast in Pakistan.


That’s a major reason the US unofficially backed
the Taliban in the mid-90s, when American oil men
were planning such a pipeline. But when the
Taliban turned it’s back on Uncle Sam, Western oil
money got scared.


Afghanistan – once the
stomping ground of Czars and commissars – is no
stranger to the Great Game.


As a pipeline
route, this remote region is crucial if Western
powers are to reduce their dependence on Saudi
Arabia – itself potentially unstable.


The Gulf
War was largely about oil. You won’t hear it said
often but, inadvertently, this one is too.


[ also see related items:

The Oil Behind Bush and Son’s Campaigns –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1513

A Crude Oil Death
Commentary: ‘Greed to the Last Drop’ –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1069

US ‘Planned Attack on Taleban’ –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1528

Bush’s Orwellian
Address – Happy New Year: It’s 1984 –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1496

Remembering the
Last U.S. Retaliation Against Terror –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1482

Are You A Terrorist? Read the FBI’s Definition! –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1531

Noam Chomsky On
the Bombings –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1474

MEDIA ADVISORY: Networks Accept Government “Guidance” –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1519

Osama bin Laden
101: Understanding bin Laden –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_
id=1500
]

Author: Liam Halligan

News Service: CHANNEL 4 NEWS (UK) – October 25, 2001

URL: http://www.channel4.com/news/home/20011025/Story04.htm