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PennDrago

Sao Tome Oil

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and it is about bloody time. If I remember correctly Sao Tome sits on the worlds largest untapped oil reserve-- and it sounds like companies are finally willing to start drilling there-- (in the disputed waters between Nigeria and Sao Tome)

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and it is about bloody time.  If I remember correctly Sao Tome sits on the worlds largest untapped oil reserve--  and it sounds like companies are finally willing to start drilling there-- (in the disputed waters between Nigeria and Sao Tome)

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That's not bad news, but still... For one, the government is auctioning off the right to exploit the oil, as though it was their property and their right to sell. Another complaint I have about the arrangement is that the crooked government of Nigeria gets 60% of the revenues. I think we should just refuse to pay this blackmail, and should enforce our rights there with military power as necessary. (bte, that link was broken when I checked -- is there a typo, or was my machine just being cranky?).

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I think we should just refuse to pay this blackmail, and should enforce our rights there with military power as necessary.

That isn't even remotely feasible in the current climate, either in terms of manpower or popular support. In any case, I'm wary about governments using military force to protect property rights in other countries. If you wish to venture abroad then that is a risk you take - the state cannot and should not be responsible for protecting every citizen who has ran into trouble half way across the world, even if they happen to be representatives of multinational corporations.

I'm curious why you believe the companies actually have property rights there in the first place. I'm unfamiliar with the background here - did they own the land the oil was discovered under?

Edited by Hal

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I just checked the link and it worked fine and I am on a different server and computer then before...so I would persume that your computer hates you.

Nigeria getting 60% seems high. Also what baffled me about it is the multicorporation team involved has the right to inspect for Oil for the next 8 years...then has to give up 50% of the territory.

What is strange to me about all this was (according to an article I read...and can no longer recall where) was that a few years ago Sao Tome was literally BEGGING companies to come in and drill and then as opposed to being thankful for the jobs and economic growth that come with a devoloping plant and site they squeeze the companies for everything they can. Yet, then, companies were weary of the idea of Nigerans (I presume this is the correct form for a citizen of Nigera) would swim out to the platforms and kill people in their sleep. I guess 60% is "be nice money. Keep your citizens in check) Yet #3 on the worlds most corrupt country list...well...we'll see.

Yet, still, it will be nice to have a large basin of oil that isn't controlled by the Arabic world. Hopefully, Nigera and Sao Tome don't try to pull the same sort of nationalization of the plants as we saw in the Arabic World.

Edited to Answer Hal's question.

From what I understand, Sao Tome and Nigera was debating who owned the maritime rights (the oil basin is at sea).

Another factoid I've picked up since posting this is that, apparently, 5% of Nigeras oil supply disappears each year (people of influence using that influence to steal the oil and..well..obviously sell for a profit) so I don't know if I would personally want to be involved working with such a government.

Edited by PennDrago

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That isn't even remotely feasible in the current climate, either in terms of manpower or popular support.
I recognise that, so you can slot that in the wishful thinking bin, along with "no taxes". A man has to dream, though.
In any case, I'm wary about governments using military force to protect property rights in other countries. If you wish to venture abroad then that is a risk you take - the state cannot and should not be responsible for protecting every citizen who has ran into trouble half way across the world, even if they happen to be representatives of multinational corporations.
In part, you're addressing the problem of rogue nations which do not respect rights. Here's the extreme that you decidedly don't want to be reduced to: being wary about the police using force in bad neighborhoods to protect the rights of entrepreneurs who take a risk by setting up shop on The South Side. The Sao Tome case is slightly different (let's move on to the next point and I'll elaborate)
I'm curious why you believe the companies actually have property rights there in the first place. I'm unfamiliar with the background here - did they own the land the oil was discovered under?

Actually there is no land: the oil is in unowned territory out in the ocean. At least one company, Environmental Remediation Holding Corporation, is known to have previously established a right to exploit that oil. Because this is unowned "land" (ocean), the right stems from their recognition of its value and their actions to develop that resource. I think Chevron-Texaco had a similar right but it's really difficult to get the cold, hard facts.

The problem is that the governments of Nigeria and Sao Tome are acting as aggressors in threatening the right of companies to exploit this resource. While Sao Tome has a right and responsibility to act in defense of individual rights inside of Sao Tome, they are in no way acting to protect citizens' rights in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea. Were Chevron to unilaterally establish drilling platforms there, there is little question that the troops of Sao Tome, or worse, Nigeria, would be dispatched in an act of aggression to confiscate Chevron's property. I do agree that companies wishing to operate outside of civilized nations have to take responsibility for the dangers posed by operating in the civilized world. So to clarify, while I think the US military should use its power to protect the rights of US companies such as Chevron, I do not hold that coercive taxation should be used to finance such operations. That burden is really for the company, or any interested party, to shoulder voluntarily.

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Because this is unowned "land" (ocean).

Are you sure about this? I was under the impression that the land is simply being disputed as to which country does own the land-- I will have to do more research into this.

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Are you sure about this?  I was under the impression that the land is simply being disputed as to which country does own the land--  I will have to do more research into this.

The question boils down to whether governments own land (no). As it happens, no individuals own that land, and neither government owns it (even though they may lay claim to it), thus the land is unowned.

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That's not bad news, but still... For one, the government is auctioning off the right to exploit the oil, as though it was their property and their right to sell.

Agreed. I cannot imagine any way that the Gulf of Guinea oil deposits could properly belong to any government.

Another complaint I have about the arrangement is that the crooked government of Nigeria gets 60% of the revenues. I think we should just refuse to pay this blackmail,

"We?" Are you a stockholder of ChevronTexaco or ExxonMobil?

. . . and should enforce our rights there with military power as necessary.

"Our" rights? Do you mean ChevronTexaco's rights or the U.S. government's rights? If the latter, how would an American government have rights in the Gulf of Guinea but not an African government? If the former, is it your position that one of the proper functions of a military is secure by force overseas assets for American companies?

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"We?"  Are you a stockholder of ChevronTexaco or ExxonMobil?
Sorry, that was an omission on my part. I'll maintain a shred of privacy in light of my Freudian pronominal slip and leave it unspecified which one.
Do you mean ChevronTexaco's rights or the U.S. government's rights?
The former.
If the former, is it your position that one of the proper functions of a military is secure by force overseas assets for American companies?

That's too narrow: protecting the rights of Americans. Protecting the rights of Americans overseas is a specific instance of that, when no rights-respective government exists "over there".

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Protecting the rights of Americans overseas is a specific instance of that, when no rights-respective government exists "over there".

Well, then, if Nigeria's 60% oil tax warrants military intervention, I wonder if the Marines shouldn't be deployed to other countries that don't treat Americans well.

France, Belgium, Japan and the Scandanavian countries all have income tax rates that exceed those in the U.S. When the Constitution says "provide for the common defense," do you suppose it could mean liberating an American working in Denmark from high taxes?

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