Peak Oil”: Demand or Supply?

During the Q&A session following the presentation of BP’s 2009 Statistical Review of World Energy, Tony Hayward was asked whether the volatility seen in the oil market in 2008 was a signal of the much-anticipated peak in global oil supply. His answer was probably not what the questioner was expecting to hear:
”BP is unlikely to...

Travelling: London-Syria

Travelling by train across Europe & Turkey was a beautiful and exciting way to get to Syria. Without the teleport effect of airplanes, mountain ranges are more than bumps on a flat surface and the Danube remains a mighty river rather than just yet another waterway. How did I get to Syria: Thursday 16 July...

Industrialising the Cukurova

After a cushy night on the Ankara – Adana Mavi Cukurova night train, we jumped straight into a coach headed east to Antakya. Once the grand city of Antioch benefiting from trade routes running between Europe & South Asia, medium-sized Antakya is the last Turkish town before Syria, and the source of an ongoing border dispute...

Dodging tankers in the Bosphorus

We wake up to a view of corn and sunflower fields fast giving way to rows upon rows of apartment blocks in Istanbul’s outlying suburbs. Unlike the crumbling towers of Eastern Europe, many of these are new and shiny, as Istanbul spreads into the agricultural land to the west. Our Belgrade-Istanbul sleeper curves down to...

Fishing in Rossport

This will be the first in a series of emails from my friend George who is in Rossport, County Mayo, Ireland, supporting the local community in their resistance to Shell’s plans to build a high pressure gas pipeline through their village. Martin O’Donnell is Pat O’Donnell’s brother, whose boat was sunk by masked thugs in June. Walking along the road...

GSOTTO: responding to the climate & energy crisis

This July, Presidents & Prime Ministers met in Italy for the first time since they barricaded themselves inside a red exclusion zone in Genova in 2001 and deployed paramilitary police forces armed with live ammunition against the hundreds of thousands on the streets. Little has changed in the last eight years in the “business-as-usual” discourse the...

Iraqi Opposition to BP’s Rumaila Contract

Iraqi oil workers have come out in strong opposition to BP’s new contract for the super-giant Rumaila oil field, saying they will not allow foreign oil companies Signed in early July as part of the first bidding round for Iraq’s oil, the 20-year contract gives BP and Chinese oil companyCNPC significant control over production from Rumaila, which holds reserves...

Romanian Nodding Donkeys

While the train passes through fields of shiny windturbines in Austria, after descending through the Hungarian mountains down towards the Black Sea, the Romanian plains are full of ‘nodding donkeys’, an ancient means of extracting crude from shallow fields in small quantities. As each ‘donkey’ can only extract so much, fields are littered with hundreds of these...

BP’s extraction operations in Brussels

Only in Brussels for 90 minutes, so not long enough to visit BP’s office on Rondpoint Schumann, adjacent to the European Commission. This provides the company’s easy access for major EU lobbying of various EU institutions. BP — Extracting Influence at the heart of the EU, a report published earlier in 2009 by Corporate Europe Observatory and PLATFORM unmasked BP’s attempts to harness EU foreign policy and legislative...

Waiting for the first train

I’m waiting at Kings Cross – St Pancras with my rucksack for the 12:57 Eurostar to Damascus. The train isn’t quite direct yet — need to change at Brussels, Munich, Belgrade, Istanbul and Adana. I’m leaving London – oil city and finance capital where BP and Shell extract knowledge, loans, social legitimacy and political power, where corporate executives sit...