Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) of Japan is in advanced negotiations to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from North America, Reuters reported, citing Toshiaki Koizumi, the general manager of TEPCO’s fuel department.
“We have been in negotiations with several projects,” he said.
“We want to procure LNG from the United States and Canada where prices are linked to Henry Hub. The talks have made progress, but I cannot say when they will be finalized,” he added.
Japan’s imports of LNG surged in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake. Power companies account for two-thirds of total Japanese LNG imports.
- BG Group inks pipeline deal for LNG terminal (calgaryherald.com)
Written by Hannah Stone
U.S. authorities have accused a Lebanese man of selling Colombian cocaine to the Zetas and laundering money on their behalf, while using the profits to finance Hezbollah, a militant group based in Beirut.
According to the latest indictment, Ayman Joumaa, aka “Junior,” (pictured) and his partners sold 85 tons of cocaine to the Zetas between 2005-2007, which was later trafficked into the U.S., and laundered some $850 million in their profits for the group, some of it through the Lebanese Canadian Bank. The latest charges do not mention Hezbollah, though Joumaa was accused earlier this year by the Treasury of being part of a drug trafficking and money laundering ring which financed the group, reports ProPublica.
According to the indictment, Joumaa’s group would charge the Zetas 8 to 14 percent for its money laundering services.
The story speaks to some of the U.S.’s worst fears about its enemies in the Middle East gaining ground in Latin America. ABC points out that
U.S. officials have long known about [Hezbollah] operating in South America’s tri-border area in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina where the group runs drugs and large scale counterfeiting networks, according to U.S. officials. In recent years there has been more recent concern about the group establishing a footprint in Central America.
Slate looks at the other side of the deal, pointing out that Lebanon would be a good place for the Zetas to launder money, as it has highly secretive banking regulations, while there is a large Lebanese community in Mexico, with links to the Lebanese banking sector.
The case is reminiscent of a supposed plot revealed by U.S. authorities in October, which involved a representative of the Iranian intelligence service making contact with people he thought were members of the Zetas, in order to order a hit against Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington. As with that case, which did not quite add up, it is worth treating with caution attempts to link Mexican trafficking groups to Muslim militants, which have often appeared to be more based on Washington’s fears than on evidence.
However, U.S. officials were cautious about asserting direct links between the two groups in the latest case, pointing out that “It’s not like there’s a sit-down between the leaders of Hezbollah and the Zetas,” as ProPublica reports.
A version of this article appeared on the Pan-American Post.
- Hezbollah Allegedly Helps Cartels Launder Coke Money (wired.com)
- US Indicts Alleged Drug Smuggler Tied to Hezbollah (abcnews.go.com)
- Government Says Hezbollah Profits From U.S. Cocaine Market Via Link to Mexican Cartel (propublica.org)
- US indicts alleged drug smuggler tied to Hezbollah (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah’s Financing – New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Lebanese man accused of leading drug ring indicted (sfgate.com)
- Despite rise of Mexican cartels, Colombian traffickers still strong in Central America (csmonitor.com)
- Bank ledgers reveal Hezbollah drug racket (smh.com.au)
Production is expected to begin in 2014 and may peak at the equivalent of 45,000 barrels of oil a day, Hess said in a statement today. Subject to U.S. approval, Hess said it will own 57 percent of the field, with Chevron Corp. holding the remainder. BP Plc no longer owns a stake in the project.
Tubular Bells holds an estimated 120 million barrels of oil, Hess said. Plans call for three wells in the field, which lies as much as 4,600 feet (1,400 meters) below the surface about 135 miles southeast of New Orleans, the company said.
The field will be predominantly oil with “good, attractive returns, even though the costs per well have gone up a little bit with the new government regulations,” John Hess, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, said in a Sept. 8 speech.
Hess fell 2 percent to $59.81 at 11:21 a.m. in New York. The shares have declined 22 percent this year.?
- Oil giant BP at ‘turning point’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Diamond Offshore Drilling CEO: Permit Approvals in Gulf of Mexico are Accelerating, Expresses Optimism (gcaptain.com)
- Mexico: Pemex Earmarks USD 1 Billion for Perdido Exploration (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s obligation to free up Gulf oil (mb50.wordpress.com)