Category Archives: Oil

Election In Sudan

The new year is meant to be a fresh start and a chance to look to the future. It is a time where it is possible to leave all the bad things that happened last year behind, and decide where you want to take your life.

The people living in southern Sudan will have an opportunity to do this on January 8th. For decades, the conflict in Darfur has been documented by reporters such as Nick Kristoff, and stories have been told through the organization Lost Boys of Sudan. But a new chapter will be written once the coming elections takes place.

After years of civil war, and treaties that promised peace that never came, the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, said that he would accept whatever the results of next Saturday’s elections. But this is the same person who is wanted by the international criminal court for the genocide that took place in 2003. It is expected that the south will vote to secede, but there have already been problems with the international organizations which are trying to help. While the United Nations has managed to raise billions of dollars to help those who have been displaced, a lot of that money has not been properly accounted for. A large portion of the money was meant to be used to re-integrate members of the military into society, but it was recently reported that most of the money was spent on staff equipment, salaries, and vehicles instead.

However, the State Department has reported that all the ballot and voter registration drives were completed without hindrance, and at this point the vote is expected to be credible.

The Civil War in the country has displaced millions of families. Leaving people hungry and homeless. This also burdens border nations, and the rest of the continent, where these people migrate to because they have nowhere else to go. If this strife continues to happen, it can create instability for the entire continent. With the world becoming more and more integrated every day, it is important for the international community to help Sudan stabilize and grow its economy, no matter what the results of the election may be.

If the election is deemed to be a fair process, and the south votes to secede, the international community will have to put pressure on President Bashir to make sure they are allowed to do so peacefully. But Bashir has every reason to keep the north and south together. The southern regions of Sudan are where most of the oil in the country is located. Without that, the north will not nearly have as strong of an economy. And if the people in the south vote not to secede, steps need to be taken to make sure what happened in 2003 never happens again.

According to The Brookings Institution, strengthening the rule of law is a key element to helping the Sudanese who have been displaced. Economic opportunities are not the only reason The Lost Boys and millions of others without a home will want to go back. They left because Sudan was not a safe place to live. The Sudanese in the south have lost their trust in the north, and with good reason. But with a strong new and independent government, policies can be implemented to make sure that the people living in southern Sudan are safe.

If the people vote to secede, and Bashir goes back on his word, corporations can divest from the country, and sanctions can be imposed by the United Nations. This will tighten Sudan’s belt and put pressure on the north and force Bashir to implement policies that will stop the atrocities that continue to plague the country.

While the Obama administration has had a lot on its plate the last couple of years, it has only talked, and not implemented policies which can help bring about peace in a region where the children have known nothing but war. This is an opportunity for the international community to come together and create a place that is not only able to help those living today, but for the future as well.

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Filed under Africa, development, divestment, Election, north, Oil, President Bashir, President Obama, south, Sudan, United Nations

>Another Day in Washington

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There are days where I can understand why people hate politics. Then, you realize it’s just another day in Washington. Tony Hayward’s, dare I say, “testimony” yesterday reminded me of a cat with a tail between its legs. Not only was he playing dumb, but he also didn’t take any responsibility. I watched the entire hearing, and around the 1,000 “I don’t know” I was ready to throw my TV out the window.

It’s amazing how many times you can say I don’t know in different ways. “I was not aware,” “I was not involved in that decision,” “I am not qualified to comment on that issue,” or my favorite, “it’s not you it’s me.”

At least BP can stop trying to play the good boy. The television advertisements of Tony trying to look compassionate almost worked. Pundits on TV were describing the CEO as a compassionate figure, even after he said all he wanted was his life back, not even thinking about the eleven people who lost theirs on his company’s rig.
Then of course there was the Republicans, who felt bad President Obama made BP pay $20 billion for the businesses and families affected by this disaster. But Congressman Joe Barton wasn’t thinking about those who are losing their livelihood, he only wanted to score political points. Winning the next election has become so important to some members of Congress that they forget they are actually responsible for running the country.

You would also think a disaster of this magnitude would force Congress to get their act together and pass a climate/energy bill. But no, members of the Senate don’t seem it is fair that businesses like BP pay some sort of carbon tax while America transitions to renewable energy.
The whole situation is politics at its worst and for some reason there isn’t more outrage. According to polls Americans are divided on whether to continue off shore drilling. Of course, I’m sure if BP was planning to build a rig in their back yard, those Americans in favor of more drilling would change their mind.

Jon Stewart had a great bit the other night where he showed speeches of past presidents trying to change American’s energy policy. President Obama’s speech from the oval office wasn’t bad because it was poorly written, it was bad because he didn’t call for anything. He didn’t grab the bull by the horns and take control. He missed an opportunity, and no ones taking responsibility.

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Filed under BP, Gulf of Mexico, Joe Barton, Jon Stewart, Oil, Oil Spill, Tony Hayward

>Screw BP

>Need I say more? There is not a more hated company right now and I don’t feel bad for them one bit. Especially after seeing today that BP knew the Atlantis rig had safety issues from the start. According to internal docments releaed today, BP decided to save money on a “well control” mechanism which may have caused this disaster.

This rig had problems from the beginning. In 2006 it was two years behind schedule because of hurricane Dennis, then of course there was Katrina. At this time BP admitted that the rig failed four tests in the platforms subsea system. BP also had every reason to get the rig running since it would have put them in position to be the leading player in America’s deep water production.

Atlantis was considered the most sophisticated and technologically advanced oil platform today. According to offshore-technology.com, this platform was the “deepest moored floating dual oil and gas production facility in the world.” Now all we’re hearing is executives blaming each other in preparation for the all the law suits they are going to have to fend off.

How Americans are even divided on continuing off-shore drilling is beyond me. Why take this risk again? Develop new energy resources here, starting in New Orleans, and screw BP.

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Filed under BP, Gulf Coast, Katrina, Oil