Thursday, June 3, 2010

Very Deep Water - Part 2, or The Curse of a Curious Mind

It's been a week since I started this Deep Water thread. I really did mean to have Part Two up before now. The problem is that every time I go to check a fact, I find myself running off on a related but entirely different direction. And every time I dig, the rabbit hole gets deeper. (Well, of course it gets deeper if I'm digging...) And I have to say that this isn't exactly the blog I'd been wanting to write. I mean heck, the Morris Dancers were in town and I didn't take any pictures, or scowl at them, give them the old Celtic middle finger, nothing. I was digging.

This all started because I read Greg Palast. And he's not even all that scary. If you want scary, check out Michael Rupert's "From the Wilderness" blog. He's currently posting links to "World Currency Unit Intended to Rival Dollar". This one has caught my attention as I was told by someone in the financial investment arena that a World Currency was coming as the first step to a One World Government... It's so easy to get distracted looking this stuff up. Sometimes, I wish I had taken the blue pill.

SO, if you remember, we'd just journeyed thru a small bit of Standard Oil's history and it's relationship to British Petroleum. BP, by the way, is the third largest energy company, and the fourth largest company in the world. It is easily the largest Corporation in the UK.

William Knox D'Arcy had become extraordinarily wealthy thru a gold mining syndicate. In 1901, he backed a search for minerals and oil in Persia (which became Iran) after the Shah of Iran gave him a 60 year concession to hunt for oil - with rights to all but a small portion of the country for an initial sum and an annual 16% of the profits. In 1903, the search started - financed by D'Arcy. As his funds dwindled, he sold a significant portion of his rights to the Burma Oil Co, Ltd. In 1908, on the verge of pulling the plug on the project, oil was finally discovered. And so, the Anglo Persian Oil Company (APOC) was formed. In 1913, APOC started negotiations with a new customer, Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. With WWI starting, Churchill convinced the British Government to secure oil for its ships by injecting a major amount of money into APOC. The British Government thus became the hidden power behind the oil company. In 1923, APOC gave £5,000 to Churchill to lobby the British government to allow APOC to monopolize Persia's oil resources (Standard Oil had started sniffing around from its base in Burma). And thus, in 1935, APOC became the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). For its part, Burma Oil took on markets in Burma (now Myanmar), Pakistan, and parts of India, with Shell Oil taking the rest.

In the meantime, APOC had joined with Royal Dutch/Shell and started the Turkish Petroleum Company. TPC had deals going to explore for oil in Iraq but WWI intervened. In a conference after the war, the US muscled in via its Near East Development Co.(the major player being Standard Oil). The rest is, as they say, another story.

Things perked along until 1951, when the pro-western Iranian Prime Minister was assassinated. The Iran Parliament elected a new PM, and nationalized the oil industry. The AIOC was replaced by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Needless to say, the British, Churchill, and the US were not pleased.

In 1953, US President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to organize a coup against the Iranian government - with support from the British Government and financed by the AIOC. The Shah was returned to power, and kept it via his brutal SAVAK police force, trained by the US's CIA and Israel's Mossad. The NIOC renegotiated and agreed to split profits 50-50 with the Iranian Government - but not to let the Iranians have a look at the books. The NIOC gave up its monopolization of Iranian oil, and agreed to a 40% share in a new International Consortium. Another 40% was to be split between the five major American oil companies, with the remaining 20% going to (ta-dum) Royal Dutch Shell (formed to compete with Standard Oil, Royal Dutch Petroleum got 60%, with 40 % going to the British Shell Transport and Trading Company). In 1954, the AIOC became the British Petroleum Company. In 1978, BP either bought or merged with Standard Oil of Ohio.

Shell, by the by, became heavily involved with the natural gas market, and eventually had a nuclear project going with the USA's Gulf Oil. In the 1980's, Gulf merged with Standard Oil of California, which gave birth to Chevron. Shell's USA subsidiary was one of the first companies to leave the Global Climate Coalition. Shell also became heavily involved in Nigeria, and eventually agreed to a $5.5 million legal settlement as long as they took no responsibility for Nigerian beheadings, torture & etc. (With a tip o'the hat to old John D's Nazi connections, no doubt.)

Meanwhile Gulf has become a "new economy" business employing few people but holding intellectual property, brands, and expertise. Gulf Oil LTD is now a subsidiary of Cumberland Farms and its 2,100 US service stations. Gulf had/has a long term investment relationship with the Mellon family and the Mellon Bank. In the 1950's and ear;y 60's, Gulf had production operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, and Kuwait, where it had a "special relationship" with the Kuwaiti government (which also does bad things to human beings). In 1984, Gulf became a part of he Kuwaiti Oil Company along with British Petroleum. In the 1960's Gulf was a primary sponsor for NBC News.

By the way, remember BP with its take from Iran? Well, after the Shah was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq war destroyed the oil refineries, and Iran became a supplier of raw oil. There were negotiations with the Ayatollah Kohmenini. BP got 90%, with 10% going to the Ayatollah and his cronies.

In 1998, BP merged with AMOCO (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana). In 2000, BP acquired ARCO (Atlantic Richfield), and Burma Oil. BP has recently become involved with a Russian company (getting 50% with the rest divided amongst three Russian billionaires)

In 2002, the then Chief Executive of BP Lord Browne, renounced the process of corporate campaign contributions. He set to retire in Feb. 2008, with Tony Hayward taking on the job. Browne, however, abruptly retired in May 2007 when an injunction against the Associated Newspapers (The Daily Mail, etc.) was lifted, allowing them to print details about his private life (keeping a young man whom he introduced quite proudly in social circles).

Coming up : how all this fits together (I think).

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