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Gadaffi scolds Libyans for reliance on oil

William Maclean, Mail & Guardian
(Reuters) Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi has scolded his nation for over-reliance on oil, foreigners and imports and told it to start manufacturing things people need.

The criticisms, in an unusual series of speeches in July and August, have stirred keen interest in a forthcoming annual September 1 address to the nation of five- million marking the 1969 coup d’etat that brought him to power.

“We don’t produce anything. We sell only oil and consume everything,” he said, condemning what he said was a consumer society destined for a sorry future when oil finally runs out.

“The kind of trade in which you produce nothing and import goods in exchange for oil, it’s a catastrophe,” the Libyan news agency quoted him as saying. Libya could have become an economic power like Japan were it not “socially backward”, he said…

[Col. Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Islam] warned Libyans in stark terms against copying what he called the Gulf Arab states’ reliance on desalination plants.

“The Arabian peninsula is living on [desalinating] sea water because there is oil, there is money. But once oil is over there will be no money, no desalination, and people would die.” – Reuters
(28 Aug 2006)

Chad orders foreign oil firms out

Chad has ordered two major foreign oil firms to leave the country on Sunday in a row over taxes. President Idriss Deby gave the order to US firm ChevronTexaco and Malaysia’s Petronas after deciding on Saturday.

“Chad has decided that as of tomorrow ChevronTexaco and Petronas must leave Chad because they have refused to pay their taxes,” Mr Deby said.

There was no immediate comment from the two firms, which are responsible for handling 60% of Chad’s production. The decision leaves only Exxon Mobil remaining in the consortium which handles the country’s oil production. President Deby said his government would take control of the remaining reserves.

The BBC’s Stephanie Hancock in the capital, N’Djamena, says the surprise decision has sent shock waves around the oil industry.
(26 Aug 2006)
Reuters article: Chad Expels Oil Companies.

Oil expulsions ‘will burn Chad’

Fin24, Zambia (financial news site)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – A senior official from Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International warned on Monday that Chad’s move over the weekend to expel two foreign oil firms could further hurt investors’ confidence and hamper growth in the country, which ranked the most corrupt in its survey last year.

In a sudden move over the weekend, Chad President Idriss Deby ordered two foreign firms, Chevron and Malaysia’s Petronas, to leave the country for failing to pay taxes and suspended three ministers who negotiated deals with them.

“We need details on why the action was taken, whose interest will be served by the action and whether procedures they followed are appropriate to the case,” Transparency International Chief Executive David Nussbaum told The Associated Press on the sidelines of an anti-corruption forum in Kuala Lumpur.

“Why it matters is because justice should be done in relative to these firms but also for this country to benefit from international investment and from international firms bringing direct expertise, which it much needs,” he said.
(28 Aug 2006)

Chad leader wants majority stake in oil output

Stephanie Hancock and Betel Miarom, Reuters
N’DJAMENA – Chad must have a 60 percent stake in its oil output after receiving only “crumbs” from a foreign consortium running the industry, President Idriss Deby said on Tuesday.

Such a stake would match the share held in the consortium by two companies, U.S. major Chevron Corp. and Malaysia’s Petronas, which Deby ordered to leave the country three days ago.
(29 Aug 2006)

Bolivia’s Morales replaces head of state oil firm

Carlos Alberto Quiroga, Reuters via Scotsman
LA PAZ, Bolivia – President Evo Morales replaced the head of Bolivia’s state oil company YPFB on Monday and gave foreign energy companies a September 1 deadline to pay new taxes outlined in the country’s nationalisation.

The Bolivian leader named a top YPFB official, Juan Carlos Ortiz, to take over from Jorge Alvarado, who faced fraud accusations.

Ortiz previously worked for foreign energy companies including Brazil’s Petrobras, the biggest investor in Bolivia’s gas and oil industry, analysts said.

The shake-up comes several weeks after Morales suspended key parts of the role of YPFB in the state takeover of Bolivia’s oil and gas resources in a move analysts said highlighted the company’s lack of money and technical expertise.

The implementation of the energy nationalisation has been delayed as a cash-strapped YPFB struggles to take control of the sector.
(29 Aug 2006)

Head of Bolivian state oil company quits

Dan Keane, Associated Press
LA PAZ, Bolivia – The president of Bolivia’s state oil company, Jorge Alvarado, resigned on Monday amid a probe into a contract with a Brazilian company, marking a setback in the drive to nationalize the country’s hydrocarbons industry.

In his letter of resignation, read at a press conference in La Paz, Alvarado wrote that the accusations against him were “an attack by the oligarchy and the reactionary right-wing” aimed at halting the nationalization process.

He said he was resigning “to avoid committing any further harm to the great ideas for change in our country.”

Alvarado was one of the key figures in leftist President Evo Morales’ drive to nationalize the South American nation’s hydrocarbons industry, but his leadership of Yacimientos Petroleos Fiscales Bolivianos, or YPFB, has come under increased scrutiny as nationalization has run into troubles.
(28 Aug 2006)