Thursday, May 29, 2008

Balkan Oil and Energy Politics

By Nikole Thompson

In the last few months, a number of stories have emerged about Serbia's potential deal with Russia's Gazprom for South Stream and what it might mean to the West's US-backed Nabucco project to provide alternative energy sources to Europe. But there have also been indicators that the Balkans may also contain some valuable oil reserves, themselves.

A few days ago, Croatia's Javno News Agency ran a story that said the US Amoco Oil Company has known about oil in Bosnia-Hercegovina since the early 1990's, but that the original reports were sold to the Russians years ago. One analyst estimated that the oil reserves in Hercegovina could make Bosnia one of the richest countries in the world and another went as far as saying the Hercegovina reserves could be as substantial as those of Saudi Arabia (although this could be a great exageration). Estimates say that BH could be sitting on roughly 500 Million tons of oil . Apparently, some energy analysts are taking this seriously.

New Kosova Report, stated that vast oil reserves have also been located in Northern Albania. According to their sources, "The Balkans region has proven oil reserves totaling approximately 345 million barrels. Of that, 198 million barrels is located in Albania. And the unproven reserve holds up to 2.987 billion barrels of oil and 3.014 trillion cubic feet of natural gas."

Britain's Med Oil has been drilling offshore to try and locate Albanian reserves off the coast in both the Adriatic and Ionian Sea

To date, these are the prime oil and gas reserves that have been located in the neighborhood, but the Balkans are still a critical transit route of many plans to get Caspian oil to Europe & beyond.

One pipeline project is AMBO (Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian-Oil), which is backed by the US government. It would transport 750,000 barrels of oil per day from Burgas, Bulgaria to Vlore, Albania, thereby avoiding the potential of spills into the Bosphorus shipping lanes. This project, conceived in the mid-1990's, has already received over $900 million in financing and has passed major political and environmental hurdles.

Both the knowledge of Balkan oil reserves and many of these pipeline projects have been in the works since the late 1980's and early 1990's, although the information had not been widely released to the general public until recently.

So how, if at all, has this affected Western political attitudes and actions regarding the break-up of Yugoslavia and other countries in the Balkans?

More than a few political analysts & veteran bloggers believe that this why we bombed Serbia and took away Kosovo in the first place -- it had nothing to do with Milosevic, Serbia and Albanians -- it was that the oil companies wanted to build a military base in Kosovo to guard the AMBO pipeline and Balkan oil reserves. The fact that plans for Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo were on the table before the first bomb was ever dropped on Serbia, helps make the case more convincing. Global Research deduced the following:

Camp Bondsteel was not the outgrowth of a humanitarian or "Just War" on behalf of Kosovar Albanians. The construction of Camp Bondsteel had been envisaged well in advance of the bombings and invasion of Kosovo in 1999.

The plans to build Camp Bondsteel under a lucrative multibillion dollar DoD contract with Halliburton's Texas based subsidiary KBR were formulated while Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO.

Construction of Camp Bondsteel was initiated shortly after the 1999 invasion under the Clinton administration. Construction was completed during the Bush administration, after Dick Cheney had resigned his position as Halliburton's CEO:

The US and NATO had advanced plans to bomb Yugoslavia before 1999, and many European political leaders now believe that the US deliberately used the bombing of Yugoslavia to establish camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.. According to Colonel Robert L. McCure, “Engineering planning for operations in Kosovo began months before the first bomb was dropped.” (See Lenora Foerstel, Global Research, January 2008)

One of the objectives underlying Camp Bondsteel was to protect the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil pipeline project (AMBO), which was to channel Caspian sea oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Adriatic.

Coincidentally, two years prior to the invasion, in 1997, a senior executive of `Brown & Root Energy, a subsidiary of Halliburton, Edward L. (Ted) Ferguson had been appointed to head AMBO. The feasibility plans for the AMBO pipeline were also undertaken by Halliburton's engineering company, Kellog, Brown & Root Ltd.

The AMBO agreement for the 917-km long oil pipeline from Burgas to Valona, Albania, was signed in 2004.

When George Bush went to Albania last year, Albanians were waiving flags stating "Proud to be Partners". While most Americans assumed that the Albanians were referring to an "Albanian partnership with America", it's a lot more probable that they were referring to a partnership with the Bush oil business. America fire power just facilitated Albanians' new-found fame and territory (Kosovo) while Americans will continue to be stuck with a rising price per gallon in filling up their tanks for many years to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Serbia also has a large oil field called Tularije that has never been developed -- there were plans for it to be developed in the 80s but they never went into frutitition. It is larger then the Bosnian find.

Serbia also has smaller undeveloped fields in Vojvodina and south of the Dunav.

Montenegro has given out of 3 offshore licences and there is a portentially 4th one containing 1 billion to 7 billion barrels (the latter twioce the size of Bosnia's find of 500 million tons).

Croatia also has several offshore and one on shore field (in Lika in former RSK).