[OPE-L:6045] in defense of oilism

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sun Oct 07 2001 - 01:35:13 EDT

Following article points to Fred Moseley's and Michael Klare's thesis that US 
has interest in removing Taleban in order to install a more stable and intl 
respected regime that will allow Unocal to build a pipeline from Turkmenistan  
to Pakistan. Jonathan Flanders has written a provocative post on this matter on 
marxmail.org--he seems to be an advancing point long made by Mark Jones. The 
primary US interest may be in securing a plentiful and cheap supply of scarce 
resources on very favorable terms to US energy companies.   
However, the US may have difficulty in forming a Afghani govt that has an 
ethnic base not composed of Hazaras and Tajiks who as Persian speakers may be 
too open to influence from Iran. In terms of trustworthiness and loyalty, the 
Taleban made of mostly of Pakhtoons seemed to be a govt that the US could trust 
to protect its oil resources. Perhaps US will do no more than repackage the 
Taleban--or some ethnically chauvinist group that cannot really secure 
stability of region.  Why exactly Unocal withdraw would be most interesting to 


 Work to speed up on Central Asia gas pipeline. Oil and Gas Journal v97, n25 
(June 21, 1999):31.
                              [Long Display]

                              COPYRIGHT 1999 PennWell Publishing Company 

                              Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan have 
agreed to accelerate work on a stalled gas pipeline project and have
 asked the CentGas consortium to find a project leader to replace Unocal Corp.                              

                              The three countries have agreed to overcome 
"expeditiously" all problems related to building the $1.9 billion, 1.9
                              bcfd, 1,400-km pipeline from Turkmenistan's 
Daulatabad gas fields to Multan. According to Pakistan Petroleum
                              Minister Nisar All Khan, the three countries 
"have resolved that the project will continue," the minister told reporters
                              after signing a tripartite agreement recently "We 
have agreed on a 3month timetable to activate this project." 

                              Although CentGas signed agreements with 
Turkmenistan to build the pipeline, it delayed work because of factional
                              fighting in Afghanistan. 

                              CentGas rival Bridas Sapic, Buenos Aires, said at 
the end of last year that it would not wait for peace to start laying
                              the Afghan portion of the line, if awarded the 
contract (OGJ, Jan. 4, 1999, Newsletter). But the Taliban government in
                              Afghanistan has not signed a contract with 
Bridas, which has pursued the project for 3 years. 


                              The three governments are seeking a partner for 
the CentGas consortium to replace project leader Unocal, which
                              withdrew last November, Nisar said. 

                              Unocal originally held a 54.11% share in the 
project. Turkmenistan's government holds 7%. Other CentGas
                              participants include Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil 
15%, Japan's Itochu Corp. and Inpex 7.22% each, South Korea's
                              Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. 5.54%, and 
Pakistan's Crescent Group 3.89%. 

                              "We have asked CentGas to find a leader in 3 
months," Nisar said. "The project leader can either be from CentGas
                              itself or from outside." 

                              Unocal withdrew from the project. saying the 
Taliban government in Afghanistan must first be recognized by the
                              United Nations and the U.S., and peace must 
return to that country, which has suffered about 20 years of civil war. 

                              Unocal's withdrawal had given the impression that 
the project had collapsed, but the three countries have decided to
                              carry it forward, even if the Afghan government 
is not recognized and financing is not available through conventional
                              channels, Nisar said. 

                              Project options 

                              Officials from the three countries had agreed 
that, in a "worst-case scenario," the project might be split in three parts,
with each country responsible for the segment of pipeline within its territory, 
he said. 

                              The pipeline would extend 764 km in Afghanistan, 
about 500 km in Pakistan, and the rest in Turkmenistan. The Taliban government 
controls more than 90% of Afghanistan territory, but the government is 
recognized only byPakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. 
     Daulatabad is among the world's largest gas producing areas and is thought 
to be capable of producing 1.5 bcfd or         more for 30 years.                   

          If the pipeline project materializes, it would serve as a catalyst 
for several other, similar oil and gas pipeline projects in  the region, with 
benefits for Central Asia and South Asia, the minister said.                  

              "We strongly feel that it will serve as a window through which 
South Asia will get connected to Central Asia," he

               The next meeting of the three countries will be held in the 
Turkmen capital of Ashgabat in July. 


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