The MEND to liberate his hostages/ Le MEND compte libérer ses otages.

(Liens en anglais/ links in english)

Suite au discours d’apaisement du nouveau président du Nigéria, Umaru Yar’Adua, le MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) va libérer les 11 otages étrangers qu’il détient.

Following the appeasement speech from the new Nigeria President, Umaru Yar’Adua, the MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) will liberate the 11 hostages it kept captive.

Boston Globe:

June 11, 2007

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerian militants said they planned to release 11 foreign hostages in the oil producing Niger Delta on Monday and state authorities said they were on their way to collect them.

The expected releases in Rivers and Bayelsa states are the latest sign of an easing of tension in Africa’s top oil producer in the wake of promises by newly-inaugurated President Umaru Yar’Adua to address grievances in the impoverished region.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is releasing all foreign nationals that were in our custody,” a faction of the militant group said in an e-mail to the media, listing the names of 11 foreign hostages.

It said it was releasing four Britons, three Americans, two Indians, a Filipino and a South African taken in at least three separate incidents over the past two months.

There are currently about 30 hostages being held by various armed groups in the vast wetlands region, home to Africa’s largest oil industry. Most are being held by groups seeking ransom, but the line between crime and militancy is blurred.

Government officials in Rivers and Bayelsa states said they were expecting a release imminently. “The governor left the villa in a large 12-seater helicopter and the intention was to get some hostages,” said Bayelsa state spokesman Ebimo Amungo.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta emerged in 2005 as a coalition of armed groups from the region, and its attacks have forced Nigeria to shut about a quarter of its oil production. It broke into at least two groups last year.

The factions say they are fighting against neglect in a region which produces 90 percent of Nigeria’s hard currency earnings.

The group said it was releasing the hostages on humanitarian grounds, but also demanded the release of two jailed leaders from the delta, compensation to delta villages for oil spills and the demilitarization of the region.

“This will open way for a genuine dialogue,” it said.

Another faction of the same group released six hostages days after Yar’Adua’s inauguration on May 29 and promised to halt attacks on oil facilities for a month to allow for talks.

Yar’Adua used his inauguration speech to promise to pay urgent attention to the delta and call for an end to violence. In the weeks since then, he has been reaching out to militant leaders to prepare the ground for talks

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Le Canada protège Talisman/ Canada protects Talisman

Voici une nouvelle que nous venons de recevoir. Le Canada interfère dans le processus légal en cours aux États-Unis qui accusent la compagnie canadienne, Talisman, de complicité de génocide au Soudan.

Here is a media release we received regarding the Canadian government interference in the Talisman court case in the United States.

— For Immediate Release —

Canadian Groups Shocked at Canada’s Interference in Talisman Genocide Complicity Case

We, the undersigned, are shocked at the Canadian government’s recent decision to intervene yet again on behalf of Talisman Energy in a lawsuit in the state of New York, where the company is facing a civil suit for alleged complicity in genocide under the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA). These claims arise from the brutal killings and displacement of civilians living in the oilfield areas of Sudan by the ruling regime which provided “security” for Talisman’s operations there. It is the view of the plaintiffs that Talisman was complicit in these crimes. This same regime is now accused of similar genocidal violence in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Canada’s interference here casts doubt on our government’s professed commitment to corporate social responsibility. Our government appears to be using the cloak of “sovereignty” to furtively appease multinational oil companies.

As with an earlier attempt to intervene politically by the previous Martin cabinet, the Harper government’s “Brief of Amicus Curiae” demonstrates an indifference to those who were victimized during the time that Talisman Energy was active in Sudan (1998 -2003). Canada’s submission is a spurious appeal to the US court to recognize Canada’s sovereignty in matters of international trade and, therefore, not to allow the case to proceed against a Canadian company in a US court. This is a red herring! Talisman has extensive natural gas operations in New York State where the action was begun. Unlike Canada, (which has no comparable specific legislation under which corporations can be tried for extraterritorial crimes) US legislators have recognized their responsibility to hold companies and individuals operating with a substantial presence in their territory to be accountable for their actions abroad.

Canada has been championing the principle of “universal jurisdiction” under international law for exactly the kinds of egregious violations of international law being addressed in the New York lawsuit. For Canada now to bury its head in the sand of national “sovereignty” when its own corporate citizen is challenged on such a serious issue is the height of hypocrisy! David Kilgour, former minister of state for Africa, said, “In the indicated circumstances, neither the Martin nor Harper governments should be intervening on the side of Talisman.”

Canada’s appeal, if successful, would send the clear signal to tyrants anywhere that Canada will support a company’s extraterritorial quest for gain over the rights of victims, even if they involve egregious violations of international law. To do this on the basis of erroneous legal technicalities is unconscionable.

The atrocities in question were documented by scores of independent journalists, researchers and organizations, as well as the Canadian government’s own fact-finding commission led by John Harker. Before entering Sudan, Talisman executives were briefed by knowledgeable people (including at least one Canadian Cabinet Minister) that oil revenues would assist Sudan’s military junta in committing genocide, ethnic cleansing, slavery, mass rape and sponsoring terrorism. The carnage and suffering in Darfur today is terrible confirmation of the accuracy of that prediction. Yet despite being warned, Talisman chose to rush ahead into a business partnership in effect with the regime. Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, called Talisman Energy’s behavior in Sudan “deplorable”.

We call upon the Canadian government to promptly “do the right thing”. This means:

· Withdraw the “Brief of Amicus Curaie” and allow the New York Court to do its legitimate work without political interference; and

· Enact specific legislation to ensure that, in future, Canadian courts will also be able to hold corporations with a presence in Canada accountable for their crimes abroad.

For further information, please contact the undersigned agencies:

Dr. Norman Epstein, Co-chair, Canadians Against Slavery and Torture in Sudan (CASTS) 416-347-7652; Natalina Yoll, Federation of Sudanese Canadian Associations, (FESCA), 403-228-3290, Justin Laku, Canadian Friends of Sudan, 613-261-0042, Mel Middleton, Director, Freedom Quest International, 403-443-6023.


The Ogoni people and the oil war/ Les Ogonis et la lutte pour le pétrole au Nigéria

(Lien en anglais/ link in english)

Black Looks nous présente la lutte des Ogonis du delta du Niger qui veulent un partage des revenus du pétrole. On y présente le journaliste américain John Ghazvinian qui souligne la condition de vie des employés étrangers des entreprise pétrolières et celle des Ogonis. Cette comparaison rend compréhensible leur lutte.

Black Looks shows us an article on fight of the Ogoni people in the Niger delta. They want a better share from the oil revenues. The American journalist John Ghazvinian is interviewed. He says the standard of living of the foreign employees working for the oil companies is far better the the one of the Ogoni. This difference alone makes their fight understandable.

La sécurité du pétrole Ouest-Africain/ Securing West Africa’s oil

(Lien en anglais/ link in english)

Tomorrow, What?” nous présente un article concernant la volonté des États-Unis d’assurer leur approvisionnement en pétrole en faisant la promotion de la sécurité des zones productrices en Afrique de l’Ouest. Évidemment, des voix s’élèvent au Nigéria pour critiquer ce projet.

Tomorrow, What?” gives us an article regarding the United States plan to protect the West African oil supplies. Obvioulsy, not everybody agrees, especially in Nigeria.

Le MEND frappe encore/ MEND strikes again

( Liens en anglais/ links in english)

Les rebelles du mouvement pour l’émancipation du Delta du Niger (MEND en anglais) ont attaqué une platefrome offshore de la compagnie Chevron et kidnappé ses employés.

Pour en savoir plus, voir Black Looks.

At 6 am this morning, May 1, 2007, fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, [MEND] attacked the chevron operated offshore loading terminal located on the Pennington river in Bayelsa state.

See Black Looks for more. 

La Sonatrach, la plus grande entreprise d’Afrique/ Sonatrach, the biggest African Company

La Sonatrach (société nationale des hydrocarbures), une entreprise algérienne de production gazière et pétrolière, vient de recevoir un investissement de 1,099 milliard de dollars provenant d’un groupe japonais pour trois nouvelles unités de GPL (Gaz de Pétrole Liquéfié).

On profite de la nouvelle pour indiquer que la Sonatrach et le géant gazier russe, Gazprom, on fait les manchettes en annonçant des projets de collaboration (Le Figaro, El Watan). Il se dessine, par conséquent, la possibilité de création d’une “OPEP du gaz” qui verrait la Russie, l’Algérie et l’Iran contrôler le marché du gaz naturel. Mais tout cela demeure hypothétique, car un cartel du genre aurait-il vraiment une influence? En 2005, l’Algérie produisait 3.1% du gaz naturel mondial, la Russie 22.4% et l’Iran 3.1%. En supposant que l’Arabie Saoudite (2.5%), l’Indonésie (2.7%) , eux aussi dans le top 10 des producteurs de gaz, se joignent au groupe, on obtient un cartel détenant 33.8% de la production mondiale. En ajoutant d’autres États comme le Qatar, le Nigéria, ou le Mexique, on pourrait donc avoir un groupe au poids équivalent de l’OPEP qui compte pour 42.2% de la production mondiale. Le projet est faisable, mais la volonté politique doit y être; surtout que la Russie, avec ses 22.4%, aurait plus de poids au sein du cartel que ne l’a l’Arabie Saoudite dans l’OPEP (elle produit 13.5% du pétrole mondial).

Preque un État dans l’État, la Sonatrach assurait en 2002 jusqu’à 97 % des revenus en devises et 60 % des recettes fiscales de l’État algérien. Aujourd’hui, selon le site de la compagnie:

[la] Sonatrach est la première entreprise du continent africain. Elle est classéeSonatrach 12ème parmi les compagnies pétrolières mondiales, 2ème exportateur de GNL et de GPL et 3ème exportateur de gaz naturel

[…]

Elle emploie 120 000 personnes dans l’ensemble du Groupe.

  • Note: GNL= Gaz Naturel Liquéfié, GPL = Gaz de Pétrole Liquéfié.

Voici l’article parlant de l’entente entre la Sonatrach et le groupe japonais (voir plus bas).

Sonatrach (société nationale des hydrocarbures) is an algerian natural gas and oil production company who just received a 1.099 billion dollars investment from a japanese group for three new liquified gas units.

We take the opportunity to mention that Sonatrach and the russian gas giant, Gazprom, looked for collaboration with each other (see Mosnews, Global Insight). It makes the creation of a world gas cartel like OPEC possible. Such a group would see Russia, Algeria and Iran control the world gas market. But the project remains hypothetical and would it work? In 2005, Russia produced 22.4% of the world natural gas; Algeria 3.1% and Iran 3.1%. If other countries from the top 10, like Saudi Arabia (2.5%) and Indonesia (2.7%), join the “club”, the group would control 33.8% of the world production. If other countries like Qatar, Nigeria or Mexico join the cartel, the total could rise to the level reached by the actual OPEC with 42.2% of the world production. The numbers show that the project is doable but the political will must be there. However, Russia would have more weight in the cartel compared to the weight Saudi Arabia has in the OPEC (the country produces 13.5% of the world’s oil).

Almost a State within the State, Sonatrach provided in 2002 97%of the State currency revenues and 60% of the fiscal revenues. According to the company’s website, Sonatrach is the biggest African company, the 12th oil company of the world.

Here is the text talking about the deal with the japanese group (in french):

La Tribune.
Lundi 23 Avril 2007

Par Youcef Salami

Sonatrach s’allie au groupement japonais IHI/Itochu pour la réalisation à Arzew de trois nouvelles unités de production de GPL, un projet de 1,099 milliard de dollars. Les deux parties ont signé hier à Alger le contrat de réalisation. Le projet, livrable en septembre 2010, comprend trois nouveaux trains de séparation d’une capacité d’un million de tonnes par an chacun, ainsi que deux bacs de stockage de produits basse température d’une capacité de soixante-dix mille mètres cubes chacun. D’une capacité globale de trois millions de tonnes métriques par an de propane et de butane commerciaux, ces chaînes de production sont intégrées au complexe d’Arzew et seront alimentées à partir du terminal GPL de Béthioua, une localité non loin de Arzew. Le président-directeur général de Sonatrach, Mohamed Meziane, a déclaré lors de la cérémonie de signature que ce projet représente «une pièce maîtresse» dans la mise en place de la chaîne GPL en Algérie. Il a ajouté que la compagnie nationale des hydrocarbures prévoit une augmentation «sensible» de la production nationale de gaz liquide aux champs, notamment avec l’entrée en service et «la montée en cadence» de nouveaux gisements pétrolifères et gaziers. Et, d’indiquer que la production globale de GPL pourrait être portée à «dix millions» de tonnes par an à l’horizon 2010 avec la réception de cet important projet sus-évoqué et «confortera» incontestablement Sonatrach dans sa position de leader mondial dans le GPL. Côté nippon, Sumitaka, représentant de IHI/Itochu, est revenu à l’occasion de cette cérémonie sur les différents projets réalisés par le groupement IHI/Itochu en partenariat avec Sonatrach depuis l’installation de la compagnie japonaise en Algérie en 1964. Il a cité en exemple la réhabilitation et la sécurisation du complexe d’Arzew en 1994. Classé premier à l’échelle africaine, le groupe Sonatrach a réalisé au premier trimestre 2007 un chiffre d’affaires de quelque treize milliards de dollars. C’est son P-DG qui l’a annoncé hier en marge de cette cérémonie de signature. Au cours des six derniers mois (2ème semestre) de 2006, Sonatrach avait enregistré un chiffre d’affaires de vingt-six milliards de dollars environ, maintenant ainsi, en valeur, le même rythme trimestriel sur cette période de neuf mois. L’entreprise nationale avait exporté, en 2006, quelque cent quarante millions de tonnes équivalent pétrole (tep) d’hydrocarbures pour environ cinquante-quatre milliards de dollars, contre quarante-six milliards en 2005, selon un bilan établi par le ministère de l’Energie et des Mines.

Les pétro-élites africaines/ African petro-elites

Les “pétro-élites”. C’est un terme intéressant utilisé par Thorsten Benner et Ricardo Soares de Oliveira dans leur article du International Herald Tribune. Pour ces auteurs, les consommateurs de pétrole, c’est-à-dire nous, sont un élément clef qui permettra de forcer les élites des États africains producteurs de pétrole à partager les bénéfices de cette industrie. Ces élites mènent des trains de vie fastueux dans les capitales européennes (les auteurs ne mentionnent pas les “capitales américaines”, mais des membres de cette élite se pavanent aussi à New-York, Los Angeles ou même Montréal). Les auteurs proposent des mesures pour limiter la liberté d’action des pétro-élites comme imposer des mesures de transparence dans les activités économiques et fermer l’accès au banques offshores (Zurich, îles Cayman. Londres…), mais un des moyens prôné serait la prise de conscience des consommateurs. Mais, contrairement aux “diamants du sang”, une campagne contre le “pétrole du sang” semble avoir moins d’impacts. Notons au passage l’absence de références à un acteur primordial dans cette situation déplorable: les entreprises pétrolières étrangères qui viennent extraire la ressource sur le continent africain et qui s’accommodent très bien des pétro-élites (voir Corpwatch, un bon site qui surveillent les entreprises).

The petro-elites. It is a term used by Thorsten Benner and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira in their article from the International Herald Tribune. For these authors, the oil consumers, meaning us, are a key element for the enforcement of good practises among the elites of oil producing African countries:

The world’s fastest growing source of oil is West Africa. The United States imports more crude from West Africa than from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined; Angola has become China’s biggest supplier; the European Union imports almost one fifth of its oil from Africa.

The African petrodollars, however, benefit only kleptocratic elites. Angola is a case in point. Five years after the end of the civil war, people are still waiting for a development dividend from the country’s oil riches while Luanda’s elite is awash in oil cash.

The word is out on the “oil curse.” But there is nothing (super)natural about the mismanagement of Africa’s oil revenues. It is the direct result of the longstanding partnership between oil producing states, oil companies and consumers. As long as Africa supplies the oil, no further questions asked.

[…]

The West has significant market and consumer power that it has not even tried to leverage. If we are serious about promoting good governance, we should not count only on voluntary initiatives. We should base an enhanced strategy based on four key pillars:

First, move good governance to the center of the discussion on energy security, alongside security of supply, price stability and environmental sustainability. Good governance in African producer states should be a cornerstone of EU energy policies.

Second, impose travel bans on the corrupt elite. The elite in African petro-states like to indulge their consumerism in Paris, Lisbon, Brussels and London.

Third, promote transparency of financial flows not just within the producer countries but throughout the global financial system.

Offshore and onshore banking centers and tax havens (not just on the Cayman Islands but also in London, Zurich and elsewhere) allow the corrupt elite to move around and invest the stolen money at will.

A broad civil society campaign against dirty money that finds its way into the global financial system is long overdue. It is also time to change the law in all OECD countries so that holding and handling stolen funds becomes illegal.

Fourth, mobilize consumer power. It is easy for conscience-stricken Western consumers to turn against “blood diamonds,” for gems are the ultimate expendable luxury good. With oil, the lifeline of our civilization, it is a different story.

Campaigns against “blood oil” have been a non-starter thus far. As long as the majority of Western consumers do not demand “development oil” at the pump, the agenda promoting transparency and good governance lacks a critical driving force.

If we treasure the security of supply and the price of oil more than good governance and development in the countries of origin, we should say so openly.

But if we want to help African populations secure the development dividend from oil, we should not shy away from using our market power and living up to our responsibilities as consumers.

This article doesn’t talk much about another major actor: the foreign oil companies. They exploit the oil resources and seems to make the best of the presence of the petro-elites (Corpwatch is a good website surveying corporations activities).

Émission Amandla du 4 avril 2007/ Amandla show from April 4th 2007

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant l’émission Amandla du 4 avril dernier sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez la télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

ISO 26000 sur la Responsabilité sociale des entreprises – en français. Un projet initié par “l’International Standard Organization”en 2004 afin de forcer les entreprises à adopter un comportement responsable dans le cadre de leurs activités économiques. La société civile pense que les entreprises ne tiennent pas leur rôle social au sérieux. L’ISO 26000 viendrait répondre à ces inquiétudes mais aussi aux pressions des investisseurs et assureurs qui verraient une façon d’identifier les entreprises qui prennent leur responsabilités. L’élaboration de l’ISO 26000 a inclus pour la première fois, la participation de pays en développement. Mais les travaux sont originairement en anglais, ce qui bloque les pays d’Afrique francophone. Il demeure que ce nouvel outil n’assurerait pas nécessairement un développement Nord-Sud équitable. Le document explicatif de cette norme ISO est disponible ici (pdf en anglais).

Contrats miniers défavorables en République Démocratique du Congo – en français. La RDC est un scandale géologique car elle demeure un pays dont la population est extrêmement pauvre mais dont les ressources minières sont énormes. On parle de la révision des contrats entre 1996 et 2003 que veut faire l’État de RDC dans la foulée des conclusions du rapport Lutundula. Ce rapport parle de contrats signés pendant la guerre au Congo, et recommande qu’ils soient reconsidérés. En effet, des politiciens de haut niveau étaient impliqués dans la négociation des contrats. Cette décision de réviser les contrats date de cette semaine et est bien saluée. Des détails sont disponibles ici (en anglais). Le rapport Lutundula peut être téléchargé ici (pdf).

Solidarité Afrique entre les communautés d’Afrique du Sud et du Zimbabwe – en anglais. Ce blog a parlé plusieurs fois de la situation préoccupante au Zimbabwe. Mais notre collaborateur, Terna Gyuse, à Cape Town (Afrique du Sud), a fait une entrevue avec des personnes qui affichent leurs solidarité avec le peuple zimbabwéen, contrairement aux politiciens qui demeurent muets. On fait remarquer que c’est la situation des femmes qui est la plus déplorable dans ce pays. Vous pouvez télécharger l’entrevue de Terna ici: Radio4all.net (- mp3). (ou aller sur le site).

Point de vue économique du conflit au Darfur, la perspective pétrolière -en anglais. Analyse sur l’économie du pétrole derrière le conflit au Darfur, tel que déjà présenté dans notre blog.

La responsabilité sociale des entreprises – en anglais. On annonce la sortie du rapport du Groupe consultatif desTables rondes canadiennes sur la responsabilité sociale des entreprises minières dans le Tiers monde. Il sera analysé la semaine prochaine. (Vous pouvez aller ici pour plus d’infos).

Les Organismes modifiés génétiquement, les batailles de la Zambie et du Zimbabwe; le poids de l’Afrique du Sud – en anglais.

Here are the subjects that were addressed in the April 4th Amandla radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the show here (link valid for two months only).

ISO 26000 on Corporate Social Responsibility – in french. A project initiated by the International Standard Organization in 2004. It wants to compel the companies on adopting a responsible behaviour while they’re doing their activities. The civil society doesn’t think companies take their social responsibility seriously and ISO 26000 could come and fix the problem. Also, this new standard was asked for by investors and insurers who wish to identify companies that are responsible. A document explaining ISO 26000 is available here (pdf).

Revision of the mining contracts in Democratic Republic of Congo – in french. DRC is a geological scandal. It is a country where the population live under extreme poverty but where the mineral resources are extremely abundant. DRC has decided to revise the mining contracts signed with mining companies between 1996 and 2003, following the conclusions from the Lutundula report. This report criticizes the conditions under which the contracts were signed during the Congo wars. High ranking politicians were meddling with the negotiation process. The government’s decision to reconsider those contracts dates from this week and is well perceived. Details are available here. The Lutundula report can be downloaded here (pdf – in french).

Solidarity between the South African and Zimbabwean people – in english. We talked several times about the situation in Zimbabwe in this blog. But our collaborator, Terna Gyuse, in Cape Town, interviewed people from South Africa who show their solidarity with the people from Zimbabwe. It is a high contrast compared with the silence of the political class. That interview shows us that women are the persons the most affected by the lamentable situation in this country. You can download Terna’s interview here: Radio4all.net (- mp3). (or go to thw website).

Economic point of view on the Darfur conflict, the oil perspective – in english. Economic analysis of the Darfur conflict with the oil implication as shown in our blog: here.

Social responsibility of Canadian mining companies – in english. National roundtables were held in the past 10 months where the Canadian government asked the population what can be done to make Canadian mining companies responsible when they operate abroad. The conclusions are written in the “Advisory Group report” that came out this week. The report will be fully analyzed in next week’s show. (go here for more info)

Genetically modified crops, the fight of Zambia and Zimbabwe; the weight of South Africa – in english.

Course au pétrole au Darfour/Oil rush in Darfur

Voici une carte obtenue du Ministère de l’énergie et des mines du Soudan:

Sudan oil concessions in 2006/ Concessions pétrolières du Soudan en 2006

Elle date de mars 2006, et inclut d’énormes blocs d’exploration dans le Nord-Ouest du pays. Les blocs 12 et 14. Les blocs 12 nous intéressent particulièrement car ils sont situés dans le Nord du Darfur.

Voici une carte du Darfour: Darfour

La zone couverte par le bloc 12 représente près du tiers de la superficie du Darfour. Nous avons supposé, en voyant cette carte, que le gouvernement soudanais, malgré les événements tragiques qui se produisent au Darfour, a cherché à attribuer ce bloc d’exploration à des entreprises étrangères mais sans avoir la certitude sur l’identité du partenaire qui décrocherait l’exclusivité. En effet, la carte étiquette le bloc 12 avec le terme “Under processing”, contrairement aux autres blocs où les entreprises qui les détiennent sont identifiées. Or, il semble que des entreprises aurait été prêtes à plonger au Darfur comme l’indique l’Africa Intelligence du 14 mars 2007:

Sans attendre, comme leurs homologues occidentaux, la fin du conflit au Darfour, les groupes arabes, indiens, ainsi que les pétroliers d’Europe centrale affluent au Soudan pour prendre les derniers blocs disponibles au nord du pays.

Mais cela ne nous a pas convaincu puisqu’il aurait pu s’agir du Bloc 14 ou même d’un bloc 13 situé au Nord-Est du pays (invisible sur la carte [désolé, nous avons du la tronquer]).

Or, coup de théâtre, l’Africa Intelligence du 28 mars 2007 nous arrive avec cette nouvelle:

Issu du découpage du gigantesque bloc 12 en deux permis distincts, le bloc 12A, qui s’étend du Darfour Nord à la frontière libyenne, a été confié l’an dernier à un consortium de firmes arabes composé du yéménite Ansan Wikfs (20%), de la firme saoudienne Al Qahtani Sons Group of Companies (33%) et de Dindir Petroleum (15%), filiale de l’Edgo Group jordanien de la famille palestinienne Masri .

Ce serait donc le consortium arabe qui aurait doublé les indiens et les européens de l’est!

On peut remarquer qu’il existe aussi un Bloc C qui empiète aussi sur le Darfur. Il est exploré par APCO Clivenden, une entreprise dont le partenaire suisse, Clivenden, a 37% des parts.

Ailleurs au Soudan on peut remarquer la présence du français Total (Bloc B), britannique Marathon (Bloc B), malaisien Petronas, CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.), Thani de Dubai. On voit que le Soudan a beaucoup d’amis…

Le Los Angeles Time a aussi la nouvelle et fournit cette carte:

Darfur oilThe first map above, is a map we got from the Sudanese Ministry of Mines and Energy. It dates from March 2006 and includes two exploration blocs: 12 and 14. The blocs 12 are in Northern Darfur and they cover almost a third of the province (compare with second map). They are identified as “Under processing”. So we thought Sudan was trying to give them to partners but without knowing which one would get the exploration rights. Africa Intelligence released an information on March 14th 2007, saying that, with most occidental country out of the race (i.e. Darfur conflict issue), a competition between arab, indian and east european partners was taking place. By March 28th, Africa Intelligence revealed the winner: an arab consortium made of the Yemeni Ansan Wikfs (20%), the Saudi Al Qahtani Sons Group of Companies (33%) and the Dindir Petroleum (15%), subsidiary of the Jordanian Edgo Group (Palestinian Masri family).

You may have noticed that another Bloc, Bloc C, also covers part of Darfur. The Company “APCO Clivenden” is one of the partners, and Clivenden is the Swiss owner of this company at 37%:

“Sudan announced in April [2005] that its ABCO [sic: APCO] corporation, which is 37 percent owned by Swiss company Clivenden, had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were “abundant” quantities of oil.”

You also may have noticed the presence, elsewhere in Sudan, of the French Total (Bloc B), British Marathon (Bloc B), Malaysian Petronas, CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.), Dubai’s Thani. Sudan has a lot of friends…

The Los Angeles Time also has the story related to the blocs 12, and we copy it in full here:

The Sudanese government is quietly escalating oil exploration inside the Darfur region, a step that has led to protests from rebel leaders in a volatile area where more than 200,000 people have been killed during three years of fighting.

Political and humanitarian experts say oil in Darfur could deliver much-needed development and investment to the region but that attempts to search for oil now may intensify the conflict by raising the stakes in an already war-torn area. The government has recently awarded three new oil concessions in the region.

Rebel leaders say oil exploration in Darfur should be postponed until a peace deal is signed by all parties and stability returns.

“We are still fighting for our lives and our country,” said rebel commander Jar Neby, who represents a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army. “We need water right now, not oil. We can talk about these issues after peace comes.”

Some political analysts believe that untapped oil reserves might have been an underlying factor in the Darfur conflict all along, explaining why a seemingly barren wasteland of western Sudan would spark such a bitter tug of war between government forces and rebels, eventually drawing the intervention of international players such as the United States, Libya and the United Nations.

“When you don’t find a reasonable explanation, this is what you have to conclude,” said Eltayeb Hag Ateya, head of the Peace Studies Institute at Khartoum University. “I believe there must be something else — oil or some natural resource — about Darfur.”

Salih Osman, a human rights attorney from Darfur, said government suspicions about oil in Darfur explain why regime officials reacted so strongly to rebel attacks in the region, starting in 2003. “I fear this will only make matters worse,” he said, referring to the newly expanded exploration.

The government is accused of arming Arab militias known as janjaweed to attack and destroy scores of Darfur villages over the last three years. Government officials deny supporting the janjaweed and blame rebels for the violence.

A team of Middle Eastern oil companies, including Saudi Arabia-based Al Qahtani Sons Group and Ansan Wikfs, based in Yemen, agreed in November to spend $43 million for drilling rights to a 125,000-square-mile territory. The largely uninhabited area, known as Block 12a, is north of where much of Darfur’s fighting is occurring.

The government’s decision to offer new concessions in Darfur is part of an aggressive search for oil in the northern part of the country.

Since discovering oil in the 1970s, Sudan has become one of Africa’s biggest producers. But most of the current production — worth an estimated $6 billion a year — is in the south, and a 2005 peace agreement with former southern rebels gives Sudanese there the right to break away from the rest of the country in 2011, taking much of the oil with them.

“There’s a real scramble to find oil in the north,” said a government oil official, who, like several others interviewed for this report, requested that his name be withheld because of the government’s sensitivity about speaking publicly. “The likelihood that there is oil in Darfur is quite high.”

The government awarded two smaller concessions east of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, to a Yemen-led joint venture. But attempts to find an investor for a concession encompassing much of the rest of North Darfur state have been complicated by the region’s instability, officials said.

Due in part to U.S. investment sanctions imposed on Sudan in the 1990s, China National Petroleum Corp. is Sudan’s biggest oil partner and purchases two-thirds of its oil. One of China’s oil-producing concessions straddles Darfur, but officials said current production is occurring in the state of Southern Kordofan, not in Darfur itself. Officials at China National declined to comment.

An oil industry consultant who works with several of Sudan’s major oil companies, and who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed that efforts to look for oil in Darfur are aggravating the conflict.

“The main reason behind Darfur is oil,” he said. “This fighting in Darfur had been going on for generations. There is no other reason for this area to have blown like this.”

Others are hopeful that oil might help resolve the region’s crisis by bringing all sides together. The discovery of oil in southern Sudan eventually helped end the two-decade civil war when both sides realized that neither would be able to profit from the oil if fighting continued.

“They will see that it’s better to share in the oil than to leave it for someone else,” said Salah Wahbi, president of Advanced Petroleum Co., a Sudanese joint venture that has invested more than $30 million to explore in a southern Darfur oil concession. “Oil will bring a better life and will bring a better agreement.”

Under a fragile peace accord signed by the government and one rebel group in May, Darfurians have the right to share in whatever oil wealth is discovered.

The increased exploration has not gone unnoticed by Darfur rebels. In late November, two rebel groups attacked a Chinese oil facility in Abu Gabra, located between the states of South Darfur and Southern Kordofan, according to a United Nations report. Both rebels and government troops claimed victory in the clash.

U.S. officials have downplayed speculation about oil in Darfur. Andrew S. Natsios, the Bush administration’s special envoy for Darfur, dismissed criticism by some Sudanese that the U.S. interests in Darfur might be linked to oil.

“We’re unaware of any significant amount of oil in Darfur,” Natsios told reporters recently. “It’s a small amount down in the southeast corner.”

Oil companies, however, have been expanding their exploration, despite security concerns that make drilling in Darfur dangerous. Wahbi, whose joint venture was the first to drill inside Darfur, said some parts of his territory, known as Block C, remain a no-go zone because of the fighting. The company recently got a government extension to conduct exploratory drilling because it has been unable to enter some areas.

“Our workers are foreign contractors, and we don’t want to put them at risk,” Wahbi said.

Before drilling, his company meets with tribal leaders to explain its work, he said. To appease concerns, the company has built six water wells for communities affected by the drilling and treated hundreds in the company’s mobile health clinic.

The company started drilling in late 2004 and accelerated it in 2005 and 2006. So far, workers have hit only dry wells, but three wells recently showed evidence of oil in the past. Company engineers are now chasing the suspected path of the crude.

“Every day we are getting more information,” Wahbi said. “We are getting closer.” He noted that his concession is adjacent to some of Sudan’s top-producing oil regions, controlled by China National and others.

Advanced Petroleum is unique among Sudan’s oil ventures because it is the only concession that is owned entirely by Sudanese investors, including private companies and the state government in Khartoum. Previously, the joint venture included Swiss-based Cliveden Group, but the company sold its stake a year ago because of U.S. pressure over Darfur, Wahbi said.

La responsabilité sociale des entreprises minières canadiennes/ Canadian mining companies’ social responsibility

(English version at end of post)

Voici une nouvelle provenant du site de Miningwatch qui aura, espérons le, un impact positif pour le Canada et les États en développement où opèrent ses entreprises minières. Une bonne part d’entre eux étant sur le continent africain:

Lancement d’un rapport novateur sur les sociétés minières, pétrolières et gazières : Les représentants de la société civile et de l’industrie conviennent d’un cadre de bonne conduite outre-mer

(Ottawa). Le Canada pourrait devenir un chef de file mondial en matière de responsabilité sociale dans la perspective de l’industrie extractive si le gouvernement fédéral et d’autres intervenants acceptent les recommandations émanant du rapport novateur publié aujourd’hui, et s’ils y donnent suite.

Ce rapport est le fruit d’un processus de tables rondes dirigé par le gouvernement, qui s’est échelonné sur dix mois et a réuni, au sein d’un groupe consultatif, des représentants de la société civile, de l’industrie, du milieu universitaire, des milieux syndicaux et d’investisseurs socialement responsables. Le processus a aussi fait intervenir des représentants de collectivités touchées par les activités minières, pétrolières et gazières canadiennes dans les pays en développement.

Le rapport du groupe consultatif présente des recommandations en vue de l’élaboration d’un cadre de bonne conduite pour les sociétés minières, pétrolières et gazières du Canada qui mènent des activités outre-mer.

« On s’inquiète de plus en plus de l’impact environnemental et social, et des répercussions sur les droits de la personne que peuvent avoir les sociétés extractives canadiennes menant des activités dans les pays en développement. Le groupe consultatif s’est attaché à élaborer un cadre de travail efficace afin d’aborder ces enjeux, et les représentants de l’industrie et de la société civile sont parvenus à un consensus important », a déclaré Gerry Barr, président et chef de la direction du Conseil canadien pour la coopération internationale. « Nous demandons maintenant de toute urgence au gouvernement de donner suite à nos recommandations. »

« Les industries extractives canadiennes s’engagent à améliorer leur rendement social et leur performance environnementale et à adhérer aux meilleures pratiques partout où elles mènent des activités », a ajouté Gordon Peeling, président et chef de la direction de l’Association minière du Canada. « Le rapport du groupe consultatif reconnaît que dans les régions où la gouvernance laisse à désirer, les sociétés extractives sont confrontées à des défis imposants. Pour obtenir des résultats positifs, il leur faut donc de nouveaux outils, de nouvelles compétences et du soutien, de même que la collaboration de tous les intervenants. »

S’il est mis en œuvre, le cadre de travail en matière de RSE établira des normes et des obligations redditionnelles pour les sociétés canadiennes. Un bureau de l’ombudsman serait également créé afin d’évaluer les plaintes et de faire enquêter sur celles-ci, et de surveiller si les sociétés se conforment aux normes. Le rapport énonce des procédures visant la suspension des services gouvernementaux aux sociétés dans le cas de non-conformité grave. Il appuie aussi la création d’outils favorisant les bonnes pratiques dans les secteurs extractifs et la conformité au cadre de travail en matière de RSE.

« Les sociétés minières canadiennes inscrites sur le marché boursier au Canada figurent parmi les plus grands investisseurs à l’étranger : elles détiennent des intérêts dans plus de 8 000 projets répartis dans plus de 100 pays à travers le monde », a précisé Tony Andrews, directeur exécutif de l’Association canadienne des prospecteurs et entrepreneurs. « Leurs activités peuvent contribuer à créer de nouveaux débouchés économiques dans les pays en développement. Cependant, il est tout aussi important qu’elles continuent à améliorer leur rendement en tenant compte des attentes en matière de responsabilité sociale des entreprises. Le rapport du groupe consultatif contribuera à l’élaboration de directives et à la création d’outils nécessaires. »

Ces tables rondes ont été organisées afin de donner suite à un rapport unanime présenté par le Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du commerce international, qui invitait le gouvernement fédéral à « mettre en place un processus, en collaboration avec les associations pertinentes de l’industrie, des organisations non gouvernementales et des experts, afin de renforcer les programmes et politiques dans ce domaine et au besoin d’en établir de nouveaux. »

« Les parlementaires ont répondu aux demandes répétées des résidants des villages et des membres des peuples indigènes touchés par les activités des sociétés minières canadiennes, et ils ont exigé que le gouvernement du Canada prenne les mesures appropriées », a souligné Catherine Coumans, de Mines Alerte Canada. « Les membres de l’industrie et de la société civile ont collaboré comme jamais auparavant, et il n’en tient maintenant qu’au gouvernement de mettre en œuvre les recommandations qu’ils ont formulées. »

Vous pouvez consulter le rapport intégral à :
http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-fr.asp

Here is some news from Miningwatch which will hopefully have a positive impact on Canada and on the Developing States where Canadian mining companies are operating. Most of these States are in Africa:

Groundbreaking Report on Mining, Oil and Gas Companies Released: Civil Society and Industry Representatives Agree on Good Overseas Practices

(Ottawa) Canada could become a world leader on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) if the federal government and other stakeholders accept and act on the recommendations of a groundbreaking report released today.

The report comes out of a ten month government-led roundtable process that included representatives from civil society organizations, industry, academia, labour, and socially responsible investors acting as an Advisory Group, as well as representatives from communities affected by Canadian mining, oil and gas operations in the developing world.

The Advisory Group report lays out recommendations for a CSR framework of good conduct for Canadian mining, oil and gas companies operating abroad.

“There have been growing concerns about the environmental, social and human rights impact of Canadian extractive companies operating in the developing world. The Advisory Group has worked together to develop an effective framework for addressing these issues, achieving an important consensus from industry and civil society representatives,” says Gerry Barr, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. “We now urge the government to act upon our recommendations.”

“Canada’s extractive sectors are committed to improving their social and environmental performance and adhering to best practices wherever they operate,” states Gordon Peeling, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. “The Advisory Group report acknowledges the fact that in weak governance zones, companies face challenges that require new sets of tools, skills and support and that all stakeholders must work together to achieve positive outcomes.”

If implemented, the CSR framework would establish standards and reporting obligations for Canadian companies. It would also create an ombudsman office to investigate and assess complaints, and to evaluate compliance with the standards. The report lays out procedures for withholding government services to companies in cases of serious non-compliance, while also supporting the development of tools to promote good practice in the extractive sector and adherence to the CSR framework.

“Canadian mining companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges are the largest outward investors, with interests in more than 8,000 properties in over 100 countries around the world,” adds Tony Andrews, Executive Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. “Their activities can help to create new economic opportunities in the developing world. However, it is equally important that they continually improve their performance in line with corporate social responsibility expectations. The Advisory Group’s report will contribute to the development of necessary guidance and tools.”

The roundtables were set up in response to a unanimous report by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that called on the federal government to “put in place a process involving relevant industry associations, non-governmental organisations and experts, which will lead to the strengthening of existing programmes and policies in this area, and, where necessary, to the establishment of new ones.”

“Parliamentarians responded to repeated appeals for assistance from villagers and indigenous peoples affected by Canadian mining companies and tasked the Government of Canada to take action,” says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. “Industry and civil society members have worked together in an unprecedented way and it is now up to the government to implement these recommendations.”

The report is available at:
http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-en.asp