• #Gaz_de_schiste : la mauvaise étanchéité des puits cause la contamination de l’#eau | Gaz de schiste

    « Nos données montrent clairement que la contamination des eaux potables dans les sites étudiés provenait de problèmes d’étanchéité des puits pour récupérer le #gaz naturel, comme des défauts de coffrage ou d’application du ciment », explique Thomas Darrah, professeur adjoint des sciences de la terre à l’Université d’État de l’Ohio, un des principaux auteurs de cette recherche.

    « Ces résultats paraissent exclure la possibilité que du #méthane ait filtré pour polluer les nappes aquifères souterraines du fait du forage horizontal lui-même utilisé dans la #fracturation hydraulique, comme certains le craignaient », ajoute Avener Vengosh, professeur de géochimie à l’Université Duke, en Caroline du Nord, un autre co-auteur.

    « La bonne nouvelle c’est que la plupart de ces problèmes d’étanchéité des puits peuvent être évités en améliorant leur construction » grâce à une meilleure application des réglementations existantes, estime le professeur Darrah.

    Study Links Water Contamination To Fracking Operations In Texas And Pennsylvania | ThinkProgress

    But anti-fracking activists say that cementing and casing are only part of fracking’s contamination problem. For one, there’s the issue of fracking waste: in 2012 alone, fracking wells in the U.S. created 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater according to a 2013 report from Environment America. That wastewater often contains carcinogens and even radioactive materials, and the deep pits that the wastewater gets stored in are not foolproof. In New Mexico alone, the report states, chemicals from oil and gas waste pits have contaminated water sources at least 421 times.

    And whether it’s the act of drilling itself or failures in casing or waste storage, contamination from fracking operations is a major problem in natural gas-heavy parts of the country. Last month, Pennsylvania made 243 cases of contamination of private drinking wells from oil and gas drilling operations public for the first time. West Virginia, too, has linked cases of well water contamination to oil and gas drilling. And this month, researchers at the University of Texas found that levels of arsenic, selenium and strontium were higher than the EPA’s limits in some private wells located within about 1.8 miles of natural gas wells.


    Article dont les parties (très) pertinentes sont complètement annulées par le sempiternel et toujours époustouflant appel aux dirigeants occidentaux, étasuniens en particulier, pour l’aide à la correction de ces tares, sans jamais évoquer en premier lieu leur immense responsabilité dans la perpétuation des tares en question (et leur aggravation par leurs agressions répétées contre la région), et sans jamais se poser la question de savoir si leur « sécurité nationale » n’impose pas cette perpétuation.

    More than oil, Saudi Arabia’s chief export is Wahhabism, which it has promoted around the world through its embassies and mosques to eventually be cloned by jihadist groups, like ISIS. Wahhabism is the most conservative, oppressive and exclusionary form of Islam, which considers all non-Wahhabists enemies — especially Shi’ites. Osama bin Laden was steeped in Wahhabism, as are many Sunni Jidahists in Iraq and Syria today, such as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Glancing at historical facts, the evidence is undoubtedly clear. The fundamental cause of the production of extremism in the Arab world lies in a culture of oppressive political exclusion, coupled with religious bigotry. It is up to the United States to do more to encourage inclusive politics in Arab states, as it recently did in Iraq when it forced Maliki out of the prime minister’s office because of his exclusive and sectarian policies.

  • Struggling to Starve ISIS of Oil Revenue, U.S. Seeks Assistance From Turkey -

    1) plutôt que de détruire systématiquement les camions contenant le #pétrole de l’#ISIS destiné à la #Turquie, les #Etats-Unis préfèrent demander très poliment à cette dernière de ne plus acheter ledit pétrole (achat qui permet une grosse partie du soi-disant « autofinancement » que l’on entend partout.)

    2) il est « très difficile » au Département du trésor d’établir des #sanctions contre les membres de l’"élite turque" qui achètent ce pétrole, contrairement à ce qui est fait contre des Iraniens.

    Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across Iraq and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks , though a senior administration official said Friday “that remains an option.”


    “Turkey in many ways is a wild card in this coalition equation,” said Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of “Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.” “It’s a great disappointment: There is a real danger that the effort to degrade and destroy ISIS is at risk. You have a major NATO ally, and it is not clear they are willing and able to cut off flows of funds, fighters and support to ISIS.”

    Turkey declined to sign a communiqué on Thursday in Saudi Arabia that committed Persian Gulf states in the region to counter ISIS, even limited to the extent each nation considered “appropriate.” Turkish officials told their American counterparts that with 49 Turkish diplomats being held as hostages in Iraq, they could not risk taking a public stance against the terror group.

    Still, administration officials say they believe Turkey could substantially disrupt the cash flow to ISIS if it tried.

    “Like any sort of black market smuggling operation, if you devote the resources and the effort to attack it, you are unlikely to eradicate it, but you are likely to put a very significant dent in it,” a senior administration official said on Saturday.

    A second senior official said that Mr. Obama’s national security team had spoken several times with Mr. Erdogan and other top Turkish officials in the past two weeks about what they can do to help counter ISIS, and that ISIS’ financing was part of those discussions. “Stopping the flow of foreign fighters, border security and dismantling ISIL funding networks are also key aspects of our strategy, and we will continue to work closely with Turkey and our other partners in the region on these efforts in the days ahead,” the official said, using a different acronym to describe the militant organization.

    At the core of the talks are the dozen or so oil fields and refineries in Iraq and Syria on territory the group has controlled. The output has provided a steady stream of financing, which experts place at $1 million to $2 million a day — a pittance in terms of the global oil market, but a huge windfall for a terror group.

    “Oil is a huge part of the financing equation” that empowers ISIS, said James Phillips, the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based research center.

    The territory ISIS controls in Iraq alone is currently producing anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil a day, which can fetch a minimum of $1.2 million on the black market, according to Luay al-Khatteeb, a visiting foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, who also directs the Iraq Energy Institute. Some estimates have placed the daily income ISIS derives from oil sales at $2 million, though American officials are skeptical it is that high.

    “The key gateway through that black market is the southern corridor of Turkey,” Mr. Khatteeb said. “ Turkey is becoming part of this black economy ” that funds ISIS.

    But targeting the smuggling network has proved a major challenge, and so far the Turkish authorities have been unwilling to cooperate.

    They’ve been turning a blind eye to it, because they benefit from the lower price of smuggled black-market oil ,” Mr. Phillips said, “and I’m sure there are substantial numbers of Turks that are also profiting from this, maybe even government officials.”.

    The supply chain of routes, individuals, families and organizations that allow the oil to flow are well-established, some dating back decades, to when President Saddam Hussein of Iraq smuggled oil during the United Nations’ oil-for-food program. “Those borders have never been sealed, and they never will be sealed,” Mr. Phillips said.

    For the Obama administration, getting at ISIS’ oil revenue is far more complex than, say, its crackdown on Iran. That has been the administration’s most successful use of sanctions, and officials credit the effects on Iran’s economy, along with American sabotage of its nuclear facilities, for Iran’s reluctant decision to negotiate on the future of its nuclear enrichment program.

    But Iran used fairly conventional means of reaching oil markets, and not one of its techniques applies to ISIS’ black-market sales, which take place mostly through networks of smugglers.

    The long-term American plan appears focused on persuading Turkey to crack down on the smuggling networks — some of which, one Western diplomat noted, “ benefit a powerful Turkish elite ” — and aiming at the refiners who would ultimately have to turn the crude oil into petrochemical products. But gathering the intelligence is a slow process, analysts say.

    “It’s hard to use any of the suite of tools that are available to the U.S. Treasury Department to sanction people in this case,” said Patrick B. Johnston, a RAND Corporation researcher who is working on a top-to-bottom study of ISIS’ financing and organization. “Getting a grip on who the right financial targets would be at the Treasury Department would be difficult.”

    That is equally true of the other major source of ISIS money — its extortion activities in the areas it controls, said Mr. Johnston, who is examining declassified documents that detail the group’s funding streams. ISIS demands anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of revenue from businesses in its territories and operates other “mafia-style” rackets that yield as much as $1 million a day.

  • 9月14日のツイート


    posted at 05:59:26

    RT @alisonjardine: ’Light, Tremor’ 30"x60" oil on canvas.... #art #painting posted at 05:52:34

    “@kristinem5: C’est le weekend ! C’est le weekend !…” #GIF posted at 05:41:49

    Top story: Quand Michel Onfray fait dans la philosophie de comptoir…, see more posted at 02:07:22

  • Palm oil, poverty and ‘imperialism’: A reality check from Liberia

    Porritt’s notion is that poor countries like mine (Liberia) are being held hostage to what he calls ‘eco-imperialists’ - rich country environmentalists who put pressure on developing countries not to cut down their rainforests, thus keeping us poor. His Forum for the Future charity instead suggests that promoting palm oil, a primary driver of deforestation, is a possible solution to poverty.

    As Director of Liberia’s Sustainable Development Institute I have seen up-close the true impact of palm oil, and I can tell you it is more often the problem, not the solution. When Liberia opened up to investment after a devastating civil war, the government struck land deals with companies without the consent of the people who lived on the land, and many communities received a pittance in return for it. In rural parts of Liberia, communities complain that their food is now scarcer than it was before the palm oil companies moved in, and that fertilisers have polluted their fishing ponds and drinking water.

    So palm oil seems to be compounding, not alleviating poverty.

    #Liberia #huile_de_palme #pauvreté #appauvrissement #agobusiness #pollution #eau #impérialisme

  • Le chaos n’empêche plus de pomper... et d’exporter le brut libyen

    Libya sees oil production up to 1.5 mn bpd by year-end despite chaos - AFP, | Tripoli Thursday, 11 September 2014

    Libya said Wednesday it expects oil production to reach 1.5 million barrels per day by year-end, with output quadrupled since the beginning of the summer despite ongoing chaos in the country.

    “We will continue advancing,” National Oil Co spokesman Mohamed al-Hrari said.

    He said production had reached 810,000 barrels per day by Wednesday, compared with 550,000 at the end of August and 200,000 at the beginning of the summer.

    The next target is one million barrels per day by the end of September.

    Libya’s economy took a heavy hit after rebels blockaded export terminals in July 2013, forcing a reduction in output and slashing all-important oil revenues.

    The seizure of four terminals in pursuit of a campaign for restored autonomy for the eastern Cyrenaica region slashed output from 1.5 million bpd to just 200,000.

    Under a deal with the government, the rebels returned control of two terminals in April and the remaining two in July.

    Since then, output and exports have soared, despite unrest rocking a country that never regained stability following the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi. ❞

  • Peru : Monoculture sweeps Amazon Forests

    According to the Peruvian Eco-Development Society (SPDE), “companies with interests and investments in palm oil crops have been acquiring rural land through offers to small farmers to force them to sell their land, through land invasion and through direct negotiation with public employees.”

    “The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI) and the regional governments of Loreto and Ucayali continue to promote deforestation to [cultivate] African oil palm by classifying forests as rural lands, by re-classifying forest land for agro-industrial purposes, by authorizing land use changes, and by approving environmental impact studies for agro-industrial projects,” pointed out the SPDE.

    According to the MINAGRI, there are 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of land in the Peruvian forest with the potential to grow oil palm crops. Currently, about 60,000 hectares (152,300 acres) are cultivated with this plant, mostly in the Amazonian departments of Huánuco, Loreto, San Martín and Ucayali.

    However, Peruvian authorities are not taking into consideration the effects of this business on the environment.

    #Pérou #déforestation #huile_de_palme #monoculture #environnement

  • Resource Rush in the Arctic? Geopolitics, Climate Change and a Newly Independent Country

    The vast quantities of resources that lie buried under the Arctic ice will become easier to exploit as the ice melts: 30% of the world’s unexplored gas and 13% of oil reserves according to estimates of the U.S. Geological Survey, along with considerable amounts of other non-energy minerals.

    A new resource rush in the Arctic?

    Worldwide, the consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources continues to rise. Additionally, several resource exporting nations today are high risk suppliers – the current crisis in Ukraine is a telling example – thus reigniting interest in the Arctic.

    #arctiques #ressources_minières #pétrole #climat

  • Kuwait to boost oil exports to China to 500,000 bpd in three years- |

    Kuwait plans to increase the volume of crude oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in three years, an executive at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Saturday.

  • EU under pressure to allow GM food imports from US and Canada

    ... documents from various US and Canadian government agencies and business trade bodies suggest strong pressure is being brought to bear from US industries to allow GM products and other foods into EU markets that would violate the EU’s current standards, in the name of free trade.

    The US Department of Agriculture and Foreign Agricultural Service has explicitly identified “the EU’s non-tariff barriers to US agricultural products”, specifying in particular “long delays in reviews of biotech products [that] create barriers to US exports of grain and oil seed products”. The term biotech is generally used to refer to GM products.


    Mute Schimpf, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth in Brussels, told the Guardian that the EU had shown itself too willing to give in to such #lobbying, despite protestations to the contrary, because in a new deal with Canada – outside of the TTIP but related to it – the two have agreed to have a “shared objective” of minimising the disruption to trade from their different GM rules. “Politicians have been trying to reassure citizens that public safeguards will not be traded away behind closed doors in free-trade deals with the US and Canada. It is therefore deeply alarming that evidence now emerging from a pact with Canada shows that Europe has willingly made an agreement that undermines its own safety regime for genetically modified foods. Citizens must demand that protecting public safety and the environment come before the profits of big business. Europe’s safety-first policies are a fundamental cornerstone and must not be traded away to please industry.”


  • #Perenco in the Democratic Republic of Congo : when oil makes the poor poorer

    Perenco’s operations in Bas-Congo are an example of how oil extraction can destroy the environment and the livelihoods of #local_communities, without giving them almost anything in return. In Muanda, the “poorest oil city in the world,” exploitation of petroleum by the Anglo-French company Perenco has brought no real development benefits. A report by the French NGO CCFD-Terre Solidaire paints a damning picture of the situation: unwelcome news at a time when the Democratic Republic of Congo is (...)


    / #Extractive_Industries, #DR_Congo, Perenco, #Total, #Extractive_Industries, #biodiversity, local communities, #corruption, #human_rights, #tax_system, #social_impact, #environmental_impact, #extractive_industries, #commodities, #regulations_and_norms, #poverty, (...)

    #corporate_social_responsibility #parent_company #transparency
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »
    « »

  • Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride To Protest Fracking Pipeline | EcoWatch

    Winona LaDuke, executive director of Native environmental group Honor the Earth, launched the “#Love_Water_Not_Oil” horse ride this week to draw attention to the group’s continued opposition to the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline. It would carry fracked oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale oil fields through the Sandy Lake and Rice Lake watersheds in northern Minnesota. The area is not only rich in recreational fishing facilities but it is also home to vast fields of wild rice or manoomim, a Native American staple.

    This is the only land that the Anishinaabe know, and we know that this land is good land, and this water is our lifeblood. One-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply lies here, and it is worth protecting. Our wild rice beds, lakes and rivers are precious—and our regional fisheries generate $7.2 billion annually and support 49,000 jobs. The tourism economy of northern Minnesota represents $11.9 billion in gross sales (or 240,000 jobs).

    #eau #pétrole #vie #écologie #contestation

  • The World Bank Can’t Sacrifice the Poor to Stay in the Game | David Pred

    Every year around the world some 15 million people are uprooted from their land and homes to make way for “#development.” This slow tsunami of human misery does not attract much media attention, but forced displacement for development projects — such as mines, oil and gas pipelines, hydropower dams, and urban renewal schemes — has become a full-blown crisis in the developing world. (...)

    That is why watchdogs were so alarmed when the World Bank released a draft of its new social and environmental safeguards last week. These

    #terres #landgrab #développement #banque_mondiale

  • Iraq conflict : Why Irbil matters

    More recently, Irbil has become a destination in its own right for “the internationals” - the expat employees of multinational firms and aid agencies whose presence in Iraq remains a visible legacy of the US-led invasion.

    Global oil giants have been setting up shop in the city, lured by the promise of Iraqi Kurdistan’s untapped energy reserves. They have driven up real-estate prices and transformed a dusty backwater into an even dustier boomtown. The sand now is from countless building sites, as well as the nearby desert.

  • Saudis have lost the right to take Sunni leadership -

    The kingdom spews out the corrosive poison that helps fuel religion-based fanaticism

    Saudi Arabia not only exports oil, but tanker-loads of quasi-totalitarian religious dogma and pipelines of jihadi volunteers, even as it struggles to insulate itself from the blowback; and King Abdullah, in his end of Ramadan address, warns against the “devilish” extremism of “these deviant forces”.

    Jihadi extremism does present a threat to the kingdom. But in doctrinal terms it is hard to see in what way it “deviates” from Wahhabi orthodoxy, with its literalist and exclusivist rendering of Sunni Islam. Its extreme interpretation of monotheism anathematises other beliefs, in particular the “idolatrous” practices of Christians and Shia Muslims, as infidel or apostate. That can be read as limitless sanction for jihad.

    The modern jihadi is a Wahhabi on steroids. His main grievance with the House of Saud is that it deviates: its profligate deeds do not match its Wahhabi words.

    #Saoud #Wahhabisme

  • 8月6日のツイート

    RT @yurikageyama: Ineresting Interview: Muji Executive Kei Suzuki On Future Growth Of Japan’s ’No Brand’ Retailer posted at 13:31:14

    My Tweeted Times - top stories by seanbonner, BoraZ, virgiltexas posted at 12:00:03

    Top story: Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers - Th……, see more posted at 11:49:50

    “Les Paradis artificiels” de Baudelaire lu par Jean-Louis Trintignant… via @supaglitch posted at 10:45:19

    Papier is out!… Stories via @hollmanlozano @sz_duras @Locohama posted at 09:14:19

    “Clean energy” and then “clean coal.” posted at 08:48:54

    RT @alisonjardine: ’Midnight Trees’ (2010) oil on canvas, 50" x 40" (...)

  • Fourteen #Kurds killed fighting off #ISIS near #Mosul

    Kurdish troops fought off a jihadi attack on an oil facility and a dam near the Iraqi city of Mosul but lost 14 of their number in intense combat, Kurdish sources said Saturday. The Islamic State, which controls the northern city, “attacked a peshmerga post in Zumar (Friday) and a fierce battle erupted,” an official in the Patriotic Union of #Kurdistan told AFP. He said 14 peshmerga fighters were killed, a toll confirmed by a senior officer in the Kurdish force. The PUK official said the peshmerga killed “around 100” IS fighters and captured 38 in a battle that lasted several hours. read more


  • Is Our Universe Like Oil & Vinegar or Homogenized Milk? - Facts So Romantic

    Is our Universe inhomogeneous, lumpy and uneven on many size scales, like oil droplets in water?via Shutterstock In the earliest moments after the Big Bang, the Universe was a turbulent mess, a high-temperature stew of quantum fluctuations. As with turbulence in water, the fluctuations acted at every level: If you could imagine observing the primordial chaos, at whatever level of magnification you used, from the tiniest to the largest, the cosmos was equally messy. As the Universe expanded, turbulence smoothed out into uniformity. The homogeneity on all levels translated into nearly uniform density on the scale of the entire cosmos. But viewed on a smaller scale, in places where the amount of hydrogen gas happened to be slightly greater, the clumps coalesced into galaxies. That’s (...)

  • L’argent du pétrole alimente désormais directement l’État islamique...

    The Islamic State Is the Newest Petrostate

    The Islamic State Is the Newest Petrostate
    The Islamic State, the world’s richest terror group, is reaping millions of dollars a day from selling stolen oil to shady businessmen across the Middle East.


    SHARE +
    The homicidal maniacs of the Islamic State, like many shady and not-so-shady groups before it, are apparently getting into the oil business. And it seems to suit them as they reportedly are making millions of dollars per day off of it.
    The militants who have conquered broad swaths of Iraq and Syria are turning to good old-fashioned crime — oil smuggling, in this case — to underwrite its main line of work. The money it can earn from illicit oil sales further bolsters the group’s status as one of the richest self-funded terrorist outfits in the world, dependent not on foreign governments for financial support but on the money its reaped from kidnappings and bank robberies. The group has also managed to steal expensive weaponry that the United States had left for the Iraqi military, freeing it from the need to spend its own money to buy such armaments.
    But even the millions of dollars a day that the Islamic State seems to be raking in by trucking stolen oil across porous borders is not enough to meet the hefty obligations created by the group’s own headlong expansion. Taking over big chunks of territory, as in eastern Syria and in northern Iraq, could also leave it forced to take on the sorts of expensive obligations — such as paying salaries, collecting the trash, and keeping the lights on — usually reserved for governments.
    “They’ve gone from being the world’s richest terrorist organization to the world’s poorest state,” said Michael Knights, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    “They’ve gone from being the world’s richest terrorist organization to the world’s poorest state,” said Michael Knights, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    As with much of what the Islamic State purportedly does, the group’s actual role in trading illicit Syrian and Iraqi oil is hard to pin down. The Islamic State seemingly controls the majority of Syria’s oil fields, especially in the country’s east; human rights observers say 60 percent of Syrian oil fields are in the hands of militants or tribes. The Islamic State also seems to have control of several small oil fields in Iraq as well, though reports differ on whether most of those wells are capped or whether the Islamists are producing and shipping serious volumes of stolen Iraqi oil across the border.
    In all, energy experts estimate that illicit production in Iraq and Syria — largely by the Islamic State — is north of 80,000 barrels a day. That’s a tiny amount compared with stable oil-producing countries’ output, but it is a lot of potentially valuable oil in the hands of a group that even al Qaeda considers beyond the pale.
    If that oil fetched global market prices, it would be worth a small fortune: $8 million a day. But as the Sunni militant group’s new neighbors in Iraqi Kurdistan have discovered, it’s not easy to get top dollar for what many consider black-market oil. The Islamic State allegedly sells much of its production to middlemen in Syria, who then bring it to refineries in Turkey, Iran, or Kurdistan.
    That oil is essentially fenced and likely fetches only about $10 to $22 a barrel, said Valérie Marcel, an oil expert at Chatham House in London. Crude trades just above $100 a barrel in New York and London.
    In Iraq, the Islamic State apparently cut out middlemen and uses its own fleet of tankers, which means it can reap between $50 and $60 a barrel, Marcel said. Other reports put the terrorist group’s Iraqi oil proceeds as low as $25 a barrel.
    “They’re taking a massive discount, and they’re only achieving a small fraction of the value” of the oil, the Washington Institute’s Knights said. Altogether, the group’s oil smuggling could be generating on the order of $1 million to $2 million a day. Other analysts say the Islamic State’s oil income could be as much as $3 million a day.
    The United Nations is taking notice. On Monday, July 28, it warned countries against buying oil from militants in Iraq or Syria, saying that such purchases would violate U.N. sanctions on the terrorist group.
    With the Islamic State at the helm, that oil boom certainly won’t last forever. The old oil fields in Syria and Iraq need lots of care, such as injections to keep the pressure up and output reliable; the lack of trained technicians and the frequent turnover have been a nightmare for proper reservoir management and will ultimately lower future output at those fields, Marcel said.
    Still, all else being equal, that kind of control over oil fields, oil revenues, and petroleum products would be a financial shot in the arm for any terrorist outfit. Control of oil products, from gas canisters needed for cooking to fuel needed for transport, gives the group additional local leverage. And the revenue bolsters the Islamic State’s ability to recruit and pay fighters and to buy weapons.
    However, that money is also desperately needed to cover the salaries of public workers in places the militants now occupy. Providing basic public services to show that they can do more than conquer and crucify, but can govern to a limited extent, also costs money. Serving as an unelected proxy for ousted or absent governments has long been a way for Islamist groups, from Hezbollah to Hamas, to broaden popular support.
    “They need to keep their war machine going, but they also need to govern, and that’s costing them money,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a terrorism expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He estimates that most of the oil revenue is quickly spent pacifying restless tribal leaders, bribing coalition partners, and paying to keep functional the basic sinews of daily life.
    “If they don’t make happen the things that people are used to see happening, their rule is going to look really, really bad,” he said.
    Here’s the thing about the Islamic State’s newfound oil wealth: Big money is not unique among terrorist groups, and in this case, it’s probably not enough.
    Here’s the thing about the Islamic State’s newfound oil wealth: Big money is not unique among terrorist groups, and in this case, it’s probably not enough.
    Oil money is just one slice of an illicit pie funding the group. In Syria and Iraq, protection rackets, extortion, local taxes, and other forms of smuggling all pour millions of dollars into the Islamic State’s coffers. Brett McGurk, the State Department’s point man on Iraq, told Congress last week that even before the militants captured Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city, the group was raking in $12 million a month from illicit activities there.
    And in the pantheon of terrorist groups, none of which has conquered the world, top-line illicit revenues of a few hundred million dollars a year are not unusual. The U.S. government estimates that more than a score of the groups on its list of designated foreign terrorist organizations are deeply involved in transnational criminal activities.
    The Taliban in Afghanistan, for example, raked in between $100 million and $200 million annually from the drug trade and smuggling timber and minerals. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took home dozens of millions of dollars a year from ransom kidnappings; over a decade, the group possibly netted as much as $200 million. Hezbollah took a page from The Sopranos and made a fortune off stolen or counterfeit cigarettes. Al-Shabab fueled its fight with proceeds from human trafficking, while cocaine money kept Colombia’s FARC in the field for decades.
    More importantly, the Islamic State’s access to some oil revenues pales in comparison with its obligations and points to the group’s longer-term vulnerabilities.
    Part of its illicit empire, such as extortion and shakedowns in towns across northern Iraq, is crumbling after Baghdad froze public salaries for those areas. That’s a double blow to the group: No local incomes to extort, and now the Islamic State has to pay the payroll tab itself. At the same time, the group’s barbarity, lack of outreach to even like-minded Salafi groups, and territorial overreach may have sown the seeds of its own downfall.
    “They’re overplaying their hand everywhere they have a hand, and that’s going to come back and hurt them,” Gartenstein-Ross said.
    Moreover, control of a few small oil fields that translates into heavily discounted smuggling revenues won’t be enough to give the Islamic State staying power.
    “They can bring power, fear, and intimidation, and they can even bring unsophisticated social services,” Knights said. “What they can’t do is bring the resources of the Iraqi state,” a $120 billion national budget underwritten by the nearly 3 million barrels of oil shipped daily out of southern Iraqi oil terminals.
    “Without that oil from Basra, then ISIS are just Palestinians,” Knights added.

  • Key blue-chip companies owned by Ukraine still not up for sale

    The Ukrainian government on July 17 finally approved a list of 164 companies that it hopes to privatize this year and earn $1.25 billion for state coffers.

     The biggest ones include a power generator and regional power distribution companies, and nitrogen fertilizer producer Odesa Portside Plant, which controls the sea port and ammonia pipeline from Russia across Ukraine. 

    But the most interesting companies are missing, including the biggest oil company, Ukrnafta, controlled by Ihor Kolomoisky’s so-called Privat Group. Turboatom, the exclusive Ukrainian turbine equipment producer in which Konstantin Grigorishin is a minority shareholder is also not up for sale. Two titanium mining and processing assets – Sumykhimprom and Zaporizhzhya Titanium-Magnesium Plant – are also off the list. The former is managed by Dmytro Firtash’s former top executive, Igor Lazakovich. The latter is part of Firtash’s titanium business. As the only producer of titanium sponge in Europe, ZTMP on July 21 announced that it started producing value-added products such as, ingots, slabs, and alloys, following the introduction of advanced technologies at the plant.

    Despite the State Property Fund’s expectation of making $1.25 billion on privatization, Dragon Capital senior analyst Desnnis Sakva thinks the government’s forecasts are too optimistic. “It is hardly realistic for the government to sell such a wide range of assets within a half year, not only due to the ongoing military operation in the East and its impact on the domestic investment climate but also due to the sheer volume of underlying paperwork,” it said in a note to investors.

    But Vasyl Yurchyshyn, director of economic programs for the Razumkov Center, said that privatization could be successful in Ukraine because assets are cheap. “If the competition will be open and rules are clear, then we can talk about significant revenue,” he said.

    The privatization list is long because the nation urgently needs money. But sales amid the instabilities of war could prove problematic.

  • pour mémoire

    In other news, MP Dr Mohammad Al-Huwailah urged the government to allocate the area west of Haddiya to be used for housing purposes. Earlier plans to utilize the piece of land for residential projects stalled when Kuwait Petroleum Corporation objected and said that oil pipes run under the area. MP Huwailah said however that studies showed that 90 percent of the area is suitable to be used to build nearly 4,000 houses. He called Oil Minister Dr. Ali Al-Omair to conduct a survey to determine the areas that can be used for housing welfare.
    This comes while Al-Rai reported that the Ministry of Housing Affairs plans to resume coordination with the Ministry of Municipality Affairs with regards to the possibility of including the west Haddiya area to the housing projects’ map. The ministries plan to follow a similar mechanism that helped free an area located south of Saad Al-Abdullah to build around 40,000 housing units despite obstacles found there.

    In the meantime, Minister of Housing Affairs Yasser Abul heads a meeting for the Public Authority for Housing Welfare this week to execute the plan to allocate houses in the Mutlaa City which has a capacity of more than 30,000 housing units.

    Separately, Al-Anba reported yesterday that the Cabinet, under the prime minister’s directions, plans to study the possibility of amending the Penal Code to introduce tougher penalties against rioting and unlicensed demonstrations. The amendments will be discussed and referred to the parliament at the beginning of the new term, according to a government source quoted in the report.

    Kuwait Times

  • meanwhile…………… White House Opens Door to Exploring Atlantic for Oil -

    The Obama administration approved guidelines on Friday for seismic searches for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean, handing the petroleum industry a significant victory in a bitter dispute with environmental groups over the searches’ impact on marine life.

    #pétrole #mer