Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights

Capture d’écran 2013-09-08 à 18.57.42
Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights, to Genie Energy.
Major shareholders of Genie Energy – which also has interests in shale gas in the United States and shale oil in Israel – include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild. This from a 2010 Genie Energy press release:
Claude Pupkin, CEO of Genie Oil and Gas, commented, “Genie’s success will ultimately depend, in part, on access to the expertise of the oil and gas industry and to the financial markets.
Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch are extremely well regarded by and connected to leaders in these sectors. Their guidance and participation will prove invaluable.”
“I am grateful to Howard Jonas and IDT for the opportunity to invest in this important initiative,” Lord Rothschild said. “Rupert Murdoch’s extraordinary achievements speak for themselves and we are very pleased he has agreed to be our partner.
Genie Energy is making good technological progress to tap the world’s substantial oil shale deposits which could transform the future prospects of Israel, the Middle East and our allies around the world.”
For Israel to seek to exploit mineral reserves in the occupied Golan Heights is plainly illegal in international law. Japan was succesfully sued by Singapore before the International Court of Justice for exploitation of Singapore’s oil resources during the second world war.
The argument has been made in international law that an occupying power is entitled to operate oil wells which were previously functioning and operated by the sovereign power, in whose position the occupying power now stands.
But there is absolutely no disagreement in the authorities and case law that the drilling of new wells – let alone fracking – by an occupying power is illegal.
Israel tried to make the same move twenty years ago but was forced to back down after a strong reaction from the Syrian government, which gained diplomatic support from the United States. Israel is now seeking to take advantage of the weakened Syrian state; this move perhaps casts a new light on recent Israeli bombings in Syria.
In a rational world, the involvement of Rothschild and Murdoch in this international criminal activity would show them not to be fit and proper persons to hold major commercial interests elsewhere, and action would be taken. Naturally, nothing of the kind will happen.

Libya – Doomed from Day One

By. Jen Alic of

People often ask me why the West doesn’t attempt a Libya-style intervention in Syria. After all, things are going so well in Libya. Oil production is up. But oil production is merely a mirage, as is security in Libya, which was doomed from the day one PG (post-Gaddafi) because of the way it was “liberated”.

On Wednesday, US envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed along with three other American diplomats in a rocket attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

What about the oil, that global elixir? Well, the violence will not bode well for Libya’s production ambitions, coming at a time when the country looked prepared for a boost in output and was banking on this for economic growth.

Security was already dubious at best, and now international oil companies will be more reluctant than ever. Those that are already there—Germany’s Wintershall AG, Italy’s Eni and France’s Total—will be seeking to beef up security and have already started sending some of their workers home.

If the picture was not clear from the onset of the post-Gaddafi atmosphere, it certainly came into focus earlier this summer when protests over parliamentary elections forced the temporary closure of the el-Sider oil terminal, the country’s biggest.

Anyone who thinks that Libya will be a secure oil frontier after the formation of a new government next summer is mistaken. The road to destruction runs from Afghanistan to Benghazi (incidentally, the oil-producing region), branching off to southern Iraq and Pakistan’s tribal regions.

So, you ask, what about the controversial anti-Islamic movie apparently put together by an Israeli-American real estate developer with too much time on his hands?

According to Jellyfish Operations – a private intelligence and analysis boutique that has spent much time dissecting the intervention in Libya and the conflict in Syria—the anti-Islamic movie is a red herring in all of this.

Speaking to, Jellyfish President Michael Bagley said that while the movie is being upheld as the root cause of the intensifying protests and the death of the US envoy to Libya, it has only served to give added momentum to another more important development.

“The key to all of this is al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed by a US drone attack in Waziristan on 4 June,” Bagley said. “The real catalyst for the attack in Libya and the unrest that has spread to Yemen, was a lengthy video released by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, marking the anniversary of 9/11 and admitting to the death of al-Libi, who is Libyan.”

“This was a very powerful call to avenge al-Libi’s death,” Bagley said, “and it came only 24 hours before the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.”

To put this into perspective, let’s reminisce a bit about al-Libi, whose past is a roller coaster, enemy-foe ride with the US.

Al-Libi was captured in the “war on terrorism” in Afghanistan in 2002 and held for three years in Kabul’s high-security Bagram prison. Against all odds, he escaped in 2005.

In 2011 he resurfaced again, but this time as a friend to Washington who had decided that it was no longer friends with Gaddafi, despite all the efforts leading up to this to rebuild relations after that nasty Lockerbie business and all the sanctions. So here is al-Libi again, but this time around his terrorist inclinations are a bonus rather than a liability: He fights alongside intervention forces to oust Gaddafi.

With Gaddafi gone, al-Libi once again became a liability so he was taken out by a drone in Pakistan.

This brings us back to the present, with al-Zawahiri on the rampage and Libyan’s wise to their liberators.

“This is a cut and dry example of the backfire of the US intervention strategy,” Bagley said. “Let’s hope it isn’t attempted in Syria.”

The post-Gaddafi Libya is not real. It’s a dangerous fabrication of materials stuck together by the glue of dubious alliances with jihadists who are cut loose with their weapons once the immediate goal (Gaddafi’s demise) was achieved. Forget about the oil for now.

Allaw: Venezuelan Oil Tanker Loaded with 35000 Tons of Diesel Arrived in Syria

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Sufian Allaw, stressed on Wednesday that a Venezuelan oil tanker loaded with 35000 tons of diesel arrived on Monday, adding that Venezuela is preparing another tanker to head to Syria.

Concerning gas, Allaw said during a press conference that Syria’s gas production covers 50% of demand, pointing out that negotiations are underway to import gas from Iran and Algeria to compensate for gas shortage.

Allaw revealed that the Syrian oil sector has lost USD 4 billion because of the oppressive EU and US sanctions on oil exports and imports since last September.

The Minister added that the joint Syrian-Russian Committee in Moscow would discuss the possibility of signing a long-term contract with Russia to supply fuel and gas to Syria. Continue reading

Argentina Oil Reclamation: An International Debate

A woman holds an Argentine national flag in front of the presidential palace after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced that oil company YPF, controlled by Spain's Repsol, is subject to expropriation and that a bill being introduced would give the state a 51 percent share, in Buenos Aires on April 16, 2012. (AFP Photo / Daniel Garcia)

Is it theft on a grand scale or simply the legitimate re-nationalization of a country’s resources for the benefit of the people?

Argentina’s decision to take control of the country’s largest oil company YPF has created a schism in the international community—with winners and losers falling into place along the divide.

YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company, was privatized in 1993 and purchased at the time by Spain’s Repsol which up until this latest move owned 57% of the company.  Claiming Repsol had not lived up to an agreement to invest in the infrastructure of the country, Argentina’s President Christina Fernandez announced her intentions of reclaiming the energy company.

The new ownership structure would give the federal government 51% control of YPF, with the remaining 49% of the company divided amongst the energy producing governments of the country.  Repsol’s controlling interest in the company under this formula would be reduced to a paltry 6%.

Repsol is angered by the move calling it an “illegitimate and unjustifiable act.”  In recent weeks talks about the possibility of nationalization have been driving stocks for YPF down, but still a conservative estimate of the value of the company is more than $13 billion. As compensation for the nationalization of their privately held subsidiary, Repsol has asked for a sum of around $10.5 billion, but it is unlikely that the company will receive that amount if anything at all.

Repsol may even be fined by the Argentinean government for environmental damage to the country’s interior—meaning Respol might have to pay Argentina for the government takeover. The company has also maintained that the move by President Fernandez is primarily a political one, to try and gain public support amidst a continuing energy crisis in Argentina.

Also, under the guidance of Repsol, YPF recently discovered vast amounts of shale rock oil reserves in the Vaca Muerta basin.  This important find puts Argentina on the map as the holder of the world’s third largest shale gas reserves behind China and the United States.  Repsol believes the current nationalization movement is nothing more than an obvious grasp for control of this major discovery.  Having been set up through privatization in the 1990’s, then allowed to develop the company for 20 years; the first “loser” in this complicated and controversial process would have to be Repsol. Continue reading

Libya: So it was all about oil after all!

A view of Zawiya oil refinery is pictured in Zawiya 57km (35 miles) west of Tripoli April 11, 2012 (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

Last year NATO countries bombed Libya, demanding “democracy” in the country. But now it’s clear it was all about oil and it’s not like the Americans and Brits are going to be democratic about it, and share those spoils equally with France and Italy.

So… oil giants Total from France and ENI from Italy are just going to have to wait in the sidelines while the hungry American and British big boys take their juicy oil slices first… ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco, BP, Shell…

It’s no surprise then to read in The Wall Street Journal that the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), together with the puppet Libyan “authorities” are launching “investigations” into both companies’ “financial irregularities” in their shady dealings during the forty-two years of Gaddafi’s power.  Now who would have imagined this!  An Italian oil company involved in kick-backs?   Corruption at the highest echelons of the French oil industry?!?   Tsk, tsk!!!  Unheard of…!    The US and UK would never do something like that!!   Just ask Enron, ask Halliburton, ask BP…

Clearly, major oil companies will now be judged on how close or how far they were from the Gaddafi’s, and on how much their respective countries contributed to last year’s war effort.  Perhaps even on how much and how far and wide they shared their huge ill-obtained profits.  It seems that scorecards must now be completed… Continue reading

London: We always get our oil… No matter what!

By Adrian Salbuchi for RT










The UK has shown real public relations talent by presenting all their military invasions and attacks as “benign”, promoting “civilization” and “democracy”.

With the threat of a British tanker strike threatening to paralyze 90 per cent of gas stations, the government’s decision to train 200 military teams to get behind the wheel shouldn’t come as a surprise given the UK’s sordid history with oil.

When cabinet minister Francis Maude announced the plan, he created further panic by telling Britons it would be “a sensible precaution to store some extra fuel in jerry cans in your garage”. The fact that those old 20 liter World War II jerry cans were outlawed in Britain decades ago didn’t help and, as The Telegraph newspaper pointed out on 28th March, “In a country where “having a little drink” is taken to mean multiple litres of beer, people took those words as a license to hoard. Don’t Panic!: that’s the official advice from the Government… Or rather, do panic, but only a little bit…”

So who are these angry striking truckers anyways?  Again, the Telegraph points out that when the last tanker trucker strike hit in 2000, then prime minister Tony Blair described protesters as “a motley bunch: … hauliers, the self-employed and the anti-government.”  “They were anti-government all right, mainly because at the time the soaring cost of fuel was putting a lot of them out of business. The average small hauliers are predominantly working class, running one or two truck businesses, frequently managed by husband-and-wife teams. They work terrible hours, for minimal profits…”

This time, 10 Downing Street is bent on bringing the army to the streets of Britain to deliver fuel to gas stations.  It should come as no surprise: this would be the last link to be militarized in that long corporate oil chain running from oil prospecting, exploration and extraction, through transportation and refining, down to deliveries to your local petrol station.

In line with traditional British (and US) strategies demanding full control of global oil resources, the threat of military intervention and outright invasion has been their historical norm worldwide when it comes to guaranteeing oil supplies and gasoline distribution.

The first image that comes to mind is the US-UK led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which, leaving aside the hypocrisy of wanting to bring “democracy” to the country, and the outright lies regarding Saddam’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction” – where Tony Blair was the most passionate supporter of  the Bush administration’s blatant lying – the one factor where we find a decades-long consistency in British foreign policy is in their systematic use of military force to secure oil fields, exploit oil production, guarantee oil transportation to Britain and its allies and, more recently, to ensure that it reaches all corners of the UK economy.

In a way, one may begin to understand this rather paranoid attitude towards oil considering Britain is an island and, even though technology has reduced its vulnerability in terms of supplies and access to oil and other key resources, it is still a sensitive issue in the British collective psyche.  For several centuries, Imperial Britain’s well-being has depended on its ability to guarantee gross exploitation of raw materials in the farthest reaches of our planet.

We could go back to the mid-19th Century, when the British East India Company – acting as the Crown’s business and trade broker for such major financial institutions as the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank/HSBC – imposed the opium trade on China with the backing of the Royal Navy and Expeditionary Forces. In fact, two wars were waged by Britain against China starting in 1839 and ending in 1860, both of which were geared at ensuring the Qing Dynasty understood the “benefits” of British controlled opium on their society, which reaped huge profits for the City of London.

Regarding oil, we should also mention the British invasion of Iran in August 1941 – “Operation Countenance” as Churchill called it – together with his then ally and Soviet  leader Joseph Stalin, to grab desperately needed Iranian (Persian, as it was called then) oil in their quest to “save mankind from the tyranny of Hitler.” Something most Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Palestinians, Libyans, Egyptians, and other Muslim countries hotly debated at the time, as they were for the most part pro-Germany and Italy during the War, and considered Britain as their main foe. 

Seeing their present plight at the hands of the US, Britain, France and Israel, history may finally be proving them right.

After the Second World War, the Iranians were graciously granted “independence” by Britain and its allies, whereupon in April 1951 they democratically elected Mohamed Mossadegh as their prime minister, who quickly nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (today known as BP plc – British Petroleum), so that its profits would benefit the Iranian people and not the British government and shareholders. So British Military Intelligence MI6, together with the CIA, engineered, financed, organized and carried out “Operation Ajax”: a coup d’Etat that in August 1953 ousted Mossadegh, starting the long 27 year pro-US/UK dictatorship of Shah Reza Pahlavi. 

Until, that is, the Iranians finally retook control of their own country in 1979: (Notice for US and UK leaders: this is what we call “the self-determination of peoples and nations”).   No surprise then that sixty years later, the UK now forms part of a trio next to the US and Israel, threatening Iran every other day with unilateral military attack.

Then, in 1956, the UK again ganged-up militarily – this time with France and Israel – to attack

Gamal Nasser’s Egypt after he nationalized the Suez Canal, which was considered to be the “jugular vein of the UK and Europe” when it came to deliveries of Iranian and Iraqi oil.

A quarter century later, after prospecting by Shell and BP in the South Atlantic revealed massive (more than 30 billion barrels) of oil in Argentina’s shallow continental shelf in the vicinity of the Falkland / Malvinas Islands again, UK and US strategists astutely maneuvered and were handed a golden opportunity by the geopolitically illiterate Argentine military junta when they took those bleak islands in 1982.

Although more difficult than at first expected, Britain did recover the Falkland Islands thanks to unrestricted US military support, whereupon Margaret Thatcher set up the largest military base in the South Atlantic; nuclear bombs and all.  Today, British and American oil companies are prospecting and will soon begin exploiting Argentina’s off-shore oil in the Falkland/Malvinas zone.  British companies Rockhopper Exploration, Borders & Southern Petroleum, Falklands Oil & Gas, Prime Oil & Gas are joint-venturing with US companies as Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and others, knowing British military power is in place to protect them.

As part of the combined US/UK resource-grabbing strategy, we now have the US South Atlantic Fourth Fleet that was created in 1942 at the height of war against Germany, disbanded in 1950, and refloated in 2008 by George W. Bush.  Clearly, all oil producing regions count with full UK/US military control on a planetary scale.

But let’s face it: the UK has shown real public relations talent by presenting all their military invasions and attacks as “benign”, promoting “civilization” and “democracy”.  After all, they do have five centuries of imperial prowess and experience.  So, dear Britons, the next time you line up to fill up your petrol tanks, be careful not to run over those nice military boots standing by to “protect” you…

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina.

Petrodollar pumping US policy on Iran, backfire looms

An oil field near Pol-e-Dokhtar, Iran

As tensions between the US and Iran heat up, author Michael T. Winter believes the main reason behind America’s harsh stance is Tehran’s move to seek an alternative to the dollar as an oil currency.

Economic sanctions, spearheaded by the US and, less willingly, the EU could have a disastrous effect on both of their respective economies.  If Iran cannot sell their oil to Europe, there are plenty of customers waiting in the wings, and if they come bearing not petrodollars, but gold and sovereign currencies, then all the better for Iran.  These sanctions, if enforced, will in effect place a serious dent in the power of the petrodollar.

Any rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the insistence on crippling it is nothing more than a US attempt to force regime change for one more receptive to maintaining the hegemony of the petrodollar.

The world now knows the truth about the US and how they conduct their affairs.  US hostilities toward Iran have nothing to do with nuclear weapons development.  If that were the case, then North Korea and Pakistan would be facing similar sanctions and threats, but they aren’t. The difference of course is in what lies beneath the ground – oil. Iran has it and the other guys don’t.

At the heart of the issue is not Iran’s dubious attempt to build nuclear weapons, or even oil, but how that oil is paid for.  In 1973, Richard Nixon promised King Faisal of Saudi Arabia that the US would protect Saudi Arabian oilfields from any and all interested parties seeking to forcefully wrest them from the House of Saud.  It’s important to remember that in 1973, Saudi Arabia didn’t have a fraction of the military and ground forces it possesses today (almost exclusively US manufactured weapons) and the USSR was very much a threat. Continue reading

Geopolitical stakes in Nigeria: Curious role of the IMF

Kaduna refinery (photo from

As Nigeria spirals into instability, historian and economic researcher Frederick William Engdahl argues a recent government decision to lift subsidies on imported fuel in the oil-rich nation bears the mark of Washington Consensus shock therapy.

In the article below, Engdahl explains his view.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest oil producer, is from all evidence being systematically thrown into chaos and a state of civil war. The recent surprise decision by the government of Goodluck Jonathan to abruptly lift subsidies on imported gasoline and other fuel has a far more sinister background than mere corruption, and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is playing a key role. China appears to be the likely loser along with Nigeria’s population.

The recent strikes protesting the government’s abrupt elimination of gasoline and other fuel subsidies, that brought Nigeria briefly to a standstill, came as a surprise to most in the country. Months earlier, President Jonathan had promised the major trade union organizations that he would conduct a gradual four-stage lifting of the subsidy to ease the economic burden. Instead, without warning he announced an immediate full removal of subsidies effective January 1, 2012. It was “shock therapy” to put it mildly.

Nigeria today is one of the world’s most important producers of light, sweet crude oil—the same high-quality crude oil that Libya and the British North Sea produce. The country is showing every indication of spiraling downward into deep disorder. Nigeria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States and twelfth largest oil producer in the world on a par with Kuwait and just behind Venezuela with production exceeding two million barrels a day.

The curious timing of IMF subsidy demand

Despite its oil riches, Nigeria remains one of Africa’s poorest countries. The known oilfields are concentrated around the vast Niger Delta roughly between Port Harcourt and extending in the direction of Lagos, with large new finds being developed all along the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.Nigeria’s oil is exploited and largely exported by the Anglo-American giants—Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco. Italy’s Agip also has a presence and most recently, to no one’s surprise, the Chinese state oil companies began seeking major exploration and oil infrastructure agreements with the Abuja government.

Ironically, despite the fact that Nigeria has abundant oil to earn dollar export revenue to build its domestic infrastructure, government policy has deliberately let its domestic oil refining capacity fall into ruin. The consequence has been that most of the gasoline and other refined petroleum products used to drive transportation and industry, has to be imported, despite the country’s abundant oil. In order to shield the population from the high import costs of gasoline and other refined fuels, the central government has subsidized prices. Continue reading

The West Blinks – Iran Embargo Likely To Be Delayed By Six Months

By Tyler Durden on 01/12/2012 14:12 -0500

Source: Zero Hedge

UPDATE: Oil Sub $100.

And so the escalation ends, if only for the time being, as Iran chalks a (Pyrrhic?) victory.


Why? Because the world slowly realized that the potential surge in oil prices would tip a world already on the verge of a recession even deeper into economic contraction. Not rocket science, but certainly something the US president apparently has been unable to comprehend, especially if hoping that he would merely transfer exports from Iran to his close ally Saudi Arabia which would cement its European market monopoly even further. Or, perhaps, someone just explained to Obama that Embargo in January + QE3 in March = No Reelection…

In other news, crude is now dumping.

Reuters on the topic earlier:

U.S. allies in Asia and Europe voiced support on Thursday for Washington’s drive to cut Iran’s oil exports, though fear of self-inflicted economic pain is curbing enthusiasm for an embargo that a defiant Iran says will not halt its nuclear programme.

On Thursday, Japan, whose economy is already deep in the doldrums after cuts in its nuclear power supply following last year’s tsunami, pledged to take concrete action to cut its oil imports from Iran in response to an appeal for support from visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

However, Tokyo’s support was not without reservations.

Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Japan buys 10 percent of its oil from Iran. “We would like to take action concretely to further reduce in a planned manner,” he said. But he added: “It would cause immense damage if they were cut to zero.”

The European Union is more sympathetic to U.S. pressure on Iran. EU foreign ministers are expected to agree on a ban on imports of Iranian crude oil on Jan. 23.

However, even Europe, whose governments largely share the concern of Israel and Washington over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, is looking for ways to limit the pain of an embargo.

“We expect a slow and gradual implementation of what will eventually become a full embargo,” said Mike Wittner from Societe Generale. “Europe has the same concerns about its fragile economy and an oil price spike as the U.S., probably even more”.

Firms in Iran’s three biggest EU oil customers, Italy, Spain and Greece, all suffering acute economic discomfort, have lately extended existing purchase deals in the hope to at least delay the impact of any embargo for months, traders told Reuters.

The European Union is more sympathetic to U.S. pressure on Iran. EU foreign ministers are expected to agree on a ban on imports of Iranian crude oil on Jan. 23.

However, even Europe, whose governments largely share the concern of Israel and Washington over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, is looking for ways to limit the pain of an embargo.

“We expect a slow and gradual implementation of what will eventually become a full embargo,” said Mike Wittner from Societe Generale. “Europe has the same concerns about its fragile economy and an oil price spike as the U.S., probably even more”.

Firms in Iran’s three biggest EU oil customers, Italy, Spain and Greece, all suffering acute economic discomfort, have lately extended existing purchase deals in the hope to at least delay the impact of any embargo for months, traders told Reuters.