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China urges restraint in Sudan dispute

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China, the biggest investor in oilfields in the new nation of South Sudan, called for “calm and restraint” as a transit fee dispute threatened to cut off crude exports from the African producer.

News wires  23 January 2012 01:24 GMT

South Sudan said on Friday it planned to halt oil production within two weeks after its northern neighbour Sudan started seizing southern crude to compensate for what Khartoum called unpaid transit fees, Reuters reported.

“The Chinese side hopes that the two governments will fulfil their commitment to protecting the legal rights of Chinese enterprises and those of other partners,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said in comments posted on the ministry’s website on Saturday.

Sudan and South Sudan together made up 5% of China’s crude oil imports in 2011, or about 13 million barrels, ranking seventh among China’s oil suppliers.

Chinese customs data does not differentiate imports from South Sudan, which seceded in July, taking with it about two-thirds of the formerly united country’s oil output.

“Oil is the economic lifeline shared by Sudan and South Sudan,” Liu said.

“We urge the two sides to remain calm and restrained, avoid taking any extreme action and continue working together with mediation by the African Union and other parties to resolve their dispute through negotiation at an early date and to benefit the two countries and their peoples,” he said.

China’s foreign ministry used nearly the identical wording when the transit fee dispute first surfaced in November, Reuters reported.

It has sought to maintain good relations with Khartoum, a long-time ally, and South Sudan, home to investment by state-owned Chinese oil giants China National Petroleum Corporation and Sinopec.

China’s oil imports from Sudan grew by 3% in 2011, but average monthly volumes dropped to 998,000 tonnes from August onwards, compared with 1.14 million tonnes per months in the first seven months of the year.

Published: 23 January 2012 01:24 GMT  | Last updated: 20 minutes ago

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Al Shaabab Acquire Radar Equipments To Spy AU Troops

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International News — 17 November 2011

The rebel militants of Al Shabaab in Somalia said they have obtained radar equipments and other military hardware to fight against African Union and  Kenyan and Somali troops battling the group in the south of the war-torn country, a pro-Al Shabaab website reported on Thursday.

The claim by the radical group comes as row over alleged shipment of arms for Al Shabaab have been growing between Kenya and Eritrea.

Eritrea is accused of sending weapons to the group, but the country has strongly denies the accusation.

“Radar equipments have been brought to some of the Somalia Wilaayaats (provinces) to detect enemy aircraft breaching Somalia’ s airspace, “said Somalimemo, a website used by Al Shabaab.

The site quoting an unnamed official added ” other ‘modern equipments ‘were found to counter the aging Kenyan aircraft fleet”.

The Al Shabaab official did not give further details about where the group got the new military equipment or where they were installed.

Kenyan have lately been carrying out air raids against Al Shabaab targets in southern Somalia where the group controls.

Allied Kenyan and Somali government troops have since early October been carrying out a military action aimed at ousting the militant fighters from the south of the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

The group also asserted they have enlisted the retired senior military officials of former Somali government of Mohamed Siyad Barre to advise on and take part in the fight against Kenyan and Somali government troops.

The radical rebel group of Al Shabaab this week displayed several speedboats and dozens of newly trained fighters carrying AK-47s as well as local traditional fighters armed with spears, bows and arrows in the southern port town of Marka.

Al Shabaab reiterated threats of attacks against Kenyan for sending its troops across the border to Somalia as well as against Burundi and Uganda, two countries who are currently contributing troops to the 9,000-strong African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) based in Mogadishu.

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Obama, the king of Africa

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By Pepe Escobar

If United States President Barack Obama really wanted to get rid of the new bogeyman du jour, Uganda’s Joseph Kony – a former altar boy turned mystical Christian prophet/politico, sporting at least 60 wives – he would order US Attorney General Eric “The Fast and the Furious” Holder to concoct a plot subcontracting the hit to a lunatic Iranian linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

Plan B would be to order the United Nations to tell the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to impose a no-fly zone over Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) “rebels”, and then bomb them to oblivion.

Plan C would be to drone the LRA to death with a fleet of MQ-9 Reapers; yet the nearest US drone base is very far away, in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.

As no unsuspecting Mexicans were available, and the “rebels” in this case are the bad guys, Obama settled for the classic imperial option; he pulled an AfPak and ordered a surge cum boots on the ground, sending 100 US Special Forces to help a corrupt dictator – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni – crush his local bunch of “rebels”.

Anyone may be excused to see Uganda as Libya upside down – because that’s exactly what it is; the dictator in this case gets a good guy billing – one of “our bastards” – while the “rebels” have a pact with the devil. But is that all there is?

I got an urge to surge
The reality in Uganda is an absolute, murderous mess. As much as the LRA “rebels”, Museveni’s government (helped by Washington) has also perpetrated horrendous massacres against civilians. Kony may even be an amateur compared to Museveni – a sort of dictator for life who has just supervised the displacement and mass murder of at least 20,000 Ugandans on behalf of British corporations. Additionally, Museveni basically stole the Ugandan elections early this year.

Obama’s Uganda surge should be seen as a crucial exchange of favors with Museveni – who has sent thousands of Ugandan troops to the African Union (AU) force that is fighting the hardcore Islamist al-Shabaab in Somalia. So while Uganda fights a proxy war for the US in Somalia, Washington helps the dictator to get rid of the LRA “rebels”. No wonder the Pentagon is quite fond of Uganda; Museveni recently got $45 million in equipment, including four small drones.

The LRA – a ragged bunch of hardcore Christian fundamentalists – is based in northern Uganda but spread out between four countries, including the new South Sudan and Congo, in Central Africa. They carry no heavy weapons. They don’t stand a chance of destabilizing the Ugandan government – much less being a “national security” threat to the US. Bogeyman Kony may be in hiding somewhere along the immense Sudan-Congo border, with no more than 400 warriors left.

Uganda’s proximity to the new country of South Sudan is key in the whole equation. So far, for Northern Sudan the LRA has been a convenient, weaponized firewall against Western puppet Museveni. But most of all, this whole area is prime real estate where the fierce battle between China and the Americans/Europeans plays out, centered on oil and minerals, all part of the Great 21st Century African Resource War.

Behold the mineral kingdom
That brings us to Uganda as a new land of opportunity. Ah, the sheer scale of humanitarian warmongering possibilities. For a semblance of success, the initial steps of Obama’s African surge would have to include a military base with a long runway attached, and a mini-Guantanamo to imprison the “terrorists”. If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is; think of the Pentagon’s Africom headquarters soon entertaining the possibility of time-traveling from Stuttgart, Germany, to somewhere in Uganda.

Any student of realpolitik knows the US doesn’t do “humanitarian” interventions per se. Africom’s surge parallels the real name of the game; precious minerals – and mining. Uganda – and nearby eastern Congo – happens to hold fabulous quantities of, among others, diamonds, gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, tin, phosphates, tantalite, magnetite, uranium, iron ore, gypsum, beryllium, bismuth, chromium, lead, lithium, niobium and nickel. Many among these are ultra-precious rare earth – of which China exercises a virtual monopoly.

The mineral rush in Africa is already one of the great resource wars of the 21st century. China is ahead, followed by companies from India, Australia, South Africa and Russia (which, for instance, has set up a fresh gold refinery in Kampala). The West is lagging behind. The name of the game for the US and the Europeans is to pull no punches to undermine China’s myriad commercial deals all across Africa.

Then there’s the inescapable Pipelineistan angle. Uganda may hold “several billion barrels of oil”, according to Heritage Oil’s Paul Atherton, part of a recent, largest-ever on-shore oil discovery in sub-Saharan Africa. That implies the construction of a $1.5 billion, 1,200 kilometer long pipeline to Kampala and the coast of Kenya. Then there’s another pipeline from “liberated” South Sudan. Washington wants to make sure that all this oil will be exclusively available for the US and Europe.

Obama, the King of Africa
The Obama administration insists the 100 special forces will be “advisers” – not combat troops. Think of Vietnam in the early 1960s; it started with “advisers” – and the rest is history. Now, the “advisers” are even expected to fan out from Uganda to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And it’s not even the first time this happens. George W Bush tried the same thing in 2008. It ended in unmitigated disaster because of – what else is new – corruption inside the Ugandan army. Kony was tipped off and escaped hours before an attack on his camp.
So on the surface, we have an uplifting narrative of the first black US president deeply disturbed by the “humanitarian crisis” in yet another African nation, Uganda; i n the perfect cover story for Anglo satrapy Uganda will be propped up as an advanced base for Washington to plunge a dagger inside Islamic Africa.

The official Washington spin hammers the fact that the LRA has “murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children”. Now compare it to devastation perpetrated by Washington, over two decades, on Iraq; at least 1.4 million people killed directly and indirectly, millions of refugees, a Sunni-Shi’ite civil war still in effect and the eastern flank of the Arab nation virtually destroyed.

And compare it to the thunderous silence of the Obama White House as racist eastern Libya “rebels” round up, harass, torture and even snuff out sub-Saharan Africans.

Africa has been fighting like forever against multiple strands of the great white genocidal slave master, aided and abetted by multiple strands of the subservient black dictator/kleptocrat – just to be presented in the early 21st century with an American president of direct African descent who has nothing better to offer than special forces, drones, a militarization surge and hypocrisy-laced “humanitarian” intervention.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

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Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy Approves MOU for LNG Train 2 in Equatorial Guinea

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Ophir Energy plc (Ophir), an Africa-focused upstream oil and gas company, notes the announcement released on 21 April 2011 by the Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy of Equatorial Guinea of the approval and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the commercial structure of the LNG Train 2 Integrated Project in Equatorial Guinea.

The MoU relates to the alignment of the gas producers, the owners of the gas pipeline infrastructure and the owners of  EGLNG Train 1 to develop and implement the LNG Train 2 Project (EGLNG2). Ophir has an established position offshore Equatorial Guinea with an 80% interest as Operator of Block R which covers 1,600km2 and contains the significant gas discoveries Fortuna and Lykos. In 2009 Ophir acquired 1,000km2 3D seismic survey data of the area and has a high impact drilling campaign in place for 2011.

“MALABO, 21 APRIL 2011 SIGNATURE OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING RELATING TO THE INTEGRATED PROJECT OF LNG TRAIN 2

The Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy is pleased to announce that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been approved and signed relating to the commercial structure of the LNG Train 2 Integrated Project in Equatorial Guinea. The MOU was signed by the Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy, SONAGAS GE (the national gas company of Equatorial Guinea), the partners of Blocks O & I (Noble Energy, GEPetrol GE (the national oil company of Equatorial Guinea), Glencore, Atlas Petroleum and Osbourne Resources Ltd.), the partners of Block R (Ophir Energy and GEPetrol GE), the shareholders of 3G Holding Ltd (Union Fenosa Gas and GALP Energia) and the partners of EGLNG Holding Ltd.

(Marathon GE, Mitsui & Co. Ltd and Marubeni Gas Development Co. Ltd).

The signed MOU relates to the alignment of the gas producers, the owners of the gas pipeline infrastructure and the owners of EGLNG Train 1 to develop and implement the LNG Train 2 Project, using the resources necessary to carry out this Project. The planned FID for this project is 2012 with the first LNG in 2016.”

About Ophir

Ophir Energy plc is a UK incorporated holding company with interests in 17 oil and gas exploration projects in eight different African jurisdictions. The Group’s headquarters are located in London (England), with operational offices in Perth (Australia), Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Dar es Salaam/Mtwara (Tanzania) and Dakar (Senegal).

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