A New Front for the Proxy Wars.
by JC Collins
The movement of troops, especially American troops, is the dead giveaway to any broader game plan which is intended to be hidden within the structure of propaganda and media campaigns. So it is with muted surprise that we hear the news of the United States sending 3,000 troops to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
As reported in the New York Times yesterday:
Under pressure to do more to confront the Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa, President Obama on Tuesday is to announce an expansion of military and medical resources to combat the spread of the deadly virus, administration officials said.
What isn’t reported in the article is that 1/3rd of all new oil discoveries have taken place in West Africa. As reported by Business Day back in May:
West Africa Region accounts for a third of the world’s new oil discoveries, especially in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta basin and the Gulf of Guinea. According to the US Geological Survey, the West African Coastal Province has an estimated 3 200 million barrels of oil. Oil exploration off the coast of West Africa has surged since 2007 when Tullow Oil found the Jubilee field in Ghana, one of the continent’s biggest recent finds. New finds have been made in Liberia and Sierra Leone, while Mauritania’s discoveries over the last decade remain to be replicated. Niger has now become a producer and Mali awaits discovery of commercial hydrocarbons.
There has also been a burst of exploration activity in the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gabon with the hope of finding Jubilee-type giants in the Cretaceous fan formations and pre-salt structures. In Guinea, Tullow is undertaking a seismic survey looking at a potential reserve of 10 billion barrels of oil, and Simba is exploring for oil in Guinea, Ghana, Mali, and Liberia. Cote d’Ivoire has been through a number of political changes and a civil war but Lukoil are on the verge of investing about $400-million in exploration activities in a prospect there.
Considering the resource proxy wars which are taking place in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, are we to think that the large offshore oil fields in Western Africa are not subjected to the same proxy strategy?
But it gets even more interesting. From the same Business Day article:
Now, the attention is shifting to East Africa. Recent discoveries in Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have turned the focus on the region. Massive investments have followed the discoveries in the region too. In 2012, more than 50 exploration wells were completed in East Africa, which is more than half of conventional oil and gas resources found worldwide.
And here from a Policy Paper published in 2012 from the Center for Chinese Studies titled “China’s role in the East African oil and gas sector: a new model of engagement?” we learn of how China is actively and strategically setting itself up for control of the oil and gas in Eastern Africa.
And to add even further credence to the importance of African resources, here is another publication, Middle Africa Briefing Note on Energy, this time by Ecobank, the Pan African Bank, titled “Exploration in West Africa’s Frontier Could Unlock 9 Billion Barrels in 2014″.
Right out of the gate the policy paper states the following:
Oil and Gas independent companies have spent US$200 million over the past 4 years acquiring assets in some of West Africa’s less explored countries, notably, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
So lets take a look at a map of the offshore oil discoveries in West Africa. Here is a map from the USGS:
And here is a map of the Ebola outbreak from the same region. This map is provided by USAID and the CDC: