Tag Archives: xe

British seek East African oil through Ethiopian firm

Yesterday the Financial Times printed a new article detailing the different deals lined up for imperialist interests in Somalia. The article, called “Somalia: Oil thrown on the fire”, is a warning shot for all those concerned with Somalia: imperialists are lining up to ransack the country.

A further article was released last month in the Financial Times (pasted below for public interest)  revealing the secretive British interests in exploiting East African oil in the Somalia/Ethiopia border, now taking shape through  Ethiopian company ‘SouthWest Energy’ backed by British resource bosses and ex-government officials.

Although one of the many ‘deals’ lined up across East Africa, and potentially Somalia, this went largely unremarked upon during the London Conference on 7 May 2013.

The article tells us SouthWest Energy ‘is aiming to raise another $100m by May to help fund a drilling programme of three exploration wells at blocks held near the Somaliland border later this year.’

British imperialism calls the shots in Ethiopian energy firm

Lord Malloch Brown

Lord Malloch Brown

Involved as ‘advisor’ for SouthWest Energy is British Lord Malloch-Brownan ex-British government official. In 2007 Malloch Brown joined Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the United Nations.

Yet again, another British government ally flexes his muscles. If this is not imperialism – then what is?

Debt stranglehold

Lord Malloch Brown must have a great deal of friends at the World Bank, where he used to work 1994-99. The World Bank and other financial institutions are now circling Somalia, demanding it pay off  ‘debt’ if it wants more ‘aid’.

Hiiran reported ‘Somalia has an overall external debt of about $2.2bn and arrears to the IMF and World Bank of $352m.’. Additionally ‘Abdusalam Omer, governor of the Somali central bank, said …of $199m delivered after a 2010 conference only $3.5m actually went directly to Somalia’

Wealthy mining firm bosses dictate East Africa’s future?

Simon Murray - Glencore

Simon Murray – Glencore

The chairman of mining giant Glencore Simon Murray is also reported ‘advisor’ on the board of SouthWest Energy. Also Sir John Bond, chairman of Xstrata, is involved.

As previously reported by Hands off Somalia, on 6 January the first private British navy for the last 200 years was set up off Somali waters by a group of businessmen to defend western private interests and rake in massive shipping insurance contracts with Lloyds of London.

Simon Murray backs the company behind the venture, Typhon. The firm is composed of ex-Royal Marines, Legionnaires, NATO commanders, and even a former chief of HSBC’s marine and insurance business. Typhon owner Anthony Sharp told the Telegraph “I had the idea for Typhon playing polo one afternoon, thinking about what my next business might be”.

This is how British imperialism kills 

Somalia and the vital oil resources of East Africa are being lined up to be pillaged by British imperialism and outside interests.

Layers of this capital will be retained by regional actors in the British proxies nearby, such as those in Ethiopia and Kenya. However the lion’s share of the deal will come back to the City of London, run by the parasitic banking ‘traders’ and their friends in British firms.

The British economy demands massive finance to fuel its rich ruling class only at the cost of robbing the poorest nations. This must be exposed. Britain can play no progressive role in Somalia or Africa.

At the moment, Britain is the largest funder of AMISOM – the African army occupying Somalia and ‘keeping it safe’. But keeping it safe for whom? AMISOM is only concerned about the security for imperialism to further exploit Somalia.

Although playing a role in helping some Somali people return to their nation, the new embassies and airports which have popped up are mainly being constructed to facilitate new visits from British oil firms and their government facilitators. This is not a gesture to help ordinary Somali people.

Hands off Somalia!

British imperialism out of Africa!



Financial Times 7 April 2013

SouthWest eyes east Africa oil boom

By Michael Kavanagh

SouthWest Energy of Ethiopia aims to be the latest company to profit from east Africa’s oil and gas exploration boom after securing encouraging third-party estimates for the amount of oil contained in its licences across the country.

Tewodros Ashenafi, founder and chief executive of SouthWest, said that he expects the release on Monday this week of a report gauging prospective reserves to drive private investor support for the drilling campaign in the Jijiga Basin region.

The company, based in Addis Ababa, has already raised about $50m, largely from wealthy individuals to invest in acquiring blocks and seismic data in the country.

It is aiming to raise another $100m by May to help fund a drilling programme of three exploration wells at blocks held near the Somaliland border on the Horn of Africa from later this year.

SouthWest also holds blocks in the west of Ethiopia, close to oil finds in South Sudan and north of blocks held by FTSE 100 constituent Tullow Oil that, along with Canadian partner Africa Oil, has embarked on a drilling campaign this spring.

Africa Oil, which sold down interests in some of its western blocks to Tullow in 2010, also holds blocks in eastern Ethiopia and Puntland, an autonomous region of northern Somalia.

Mr Ashenafi, whose interests also include developing a bottled mineral water venture with the backing of SABMiller, conceded that final proof of commercial oil and gas production potential in Ethiopia remained some way off.

But he argued that the success of other explorers, both on land and off the shores of other east African countries in recent years, would attract institutional money to back drilling activity in landlocked Ethiopia.

“The key point is that private equity is out there and looking for opportunities such as ours.”

In spite of the cash squeeze facing many junior listed explorers, Mr Ashenafi argued: ”QE3 [quantitative monetary easing] is in full force and there’s a lot of liquidity out there and people trying to work out where to put money.”

He added: “Ethiopia is very hot. We’ve had interest move from Mozambique to Kenya, Uganda and Kenya – next is Ethiopia.”

A combination of coups, civil wars and yo-yoing global oil price cycles since a return to a more stable political situation has left the country underexplored, he argued.

The overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 by the Soviet-backed regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam in effect prevented any exploration of hydrocarbons until the 1990s when low oil and gas prices then limited interest in exploration by western companies in the region, he said.

The so-called competent persons report compiled by energy services company Senergy and to be published on Monday, states that the SouthWest’s blocks may hold 1.59bn barrels of prospective resources, with a highest estimate of 2.9bn.

This estimate is based on its licences for 24 potential oil and gas traps across nearly 370,000 square kilometres that Senergy described as “frontier but potentially high reward oil exploration acreage”.

The release of the report on potential resources was welcomed by Sinkinesh Ejigu, Ethiopia’s minister of mines, who described it as “an important next step in the quest to find onshore oil in our country”.

Included on SouthWest’s advisory board are Sir John Bond, chairman of Xstrata, Simon Murray, chairman of Glencore and Lord Malloch-Brown, who served for two years as UK minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Gordon Brown’s Labour government with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN.

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Unmasking Britain’s crude plans for Somalia

It has been three months since the British conference on 23 February, set up by the ruling imperialist powers to define their idea of a future for Somalia. Since then, the British government has been hardly public on its plans, but through its influence in the UN in Kenya and Uganda, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in Somali waters, a new proxy war is being waged against Somali people in a battle for their natural resources and sovereign nation.

The first EU NAVFOR attack hit Somali shores on 15 May at 3am. Sea-based attack helicopters bombed ‘pirate supplies’ on a beach near Harardhere, which in detail only amounted to three speed boats, four ladders, and fishing supplies being destroyed. EU NAVFOR Lieutenant Commander Sherriff was quoted as saying: ‘What we want to do is make life more difficult for these guys’ (New York Times). Residents are reportedly terrified, due to reports of Somali fishermen being killed by foreigners, such as the two murdered by the US Navy on 17 March (Somalia Report).

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