hdr- the story just gets better

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    from oil& gas international:
    Is West Africa to replace Mideast as oil source?

    (8/5/2002) US President Bush's administration appears to be laying the groundwork for its
    far-from-secret intention to invade Iraq sometime this year or early next, and that includes signing up
    alternative sources for oil imports from producers other than those of the Middle East - none of which
    support the proposed military action other than Kuwait. Now, US Assistant Secretary of State Walter
    Kansteiner is off to Angola and Nigeria to line them up with Russia and Mexico for added exports to
    the USA.
    A closer relationship with the USA could be costly to these countries if Kansteiner gets his way. He
    said African oil is in the US national strategic interest when speaking before the Institute for
    Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Washington recently. The organization, to which
    Kansteiner is close, has strong ties to Israel's right wing Likud Party and presses for the US to shift
    away from Mideast oil in favor of more Israel-friendly sources. In fact, it espouses American
    establishment of a military command in West Africa with a base in Sao Tome and Principe.
    Furthermore, the IASPS would like to see Arab-dominated OPEC disbanded or at least weakened,
    thus Kansteiner is certain to have pressed Nigeria to exit the organization in hopes of garnering a
    portion of the increased production it would be able to export if it quits the cartel. The Bush
    administration has done little to disguise its active efforts at persuading President Olusegun
    Obasanjo to make that move, since he is unhappy with Nigeria's current quota.
    Kansteiner and his friends at IASPS have been promoting the shift to greater reliance on West
    African and Central Asian oil for some time now in order to reduce Arab influence on American
    Middle Eastern policy, and the administration's determination to oust Saddam Hussein from the
    presidency of Iraq makes the change in sources for oil imports even more imperative.
    Nigeria now provides nearly a million b/d to the US, Angola just over 330,000 b/d, and both could be
    shipping considerably more. Only Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Canada export more to the
    US than Nigeria.
    Should such a shift in sources occur and the US be permitted to establish a military presence in the
    Gulf of Guinea, in the minds of many analysts, the region could be "Middle Easternized" -
    dictatorships and oligarchies would be supported by American military strength and would grow
    wealthy off oil revenues at the expense of populace because most of West Africa's oil is offshore,
    away from civil conflict.
    West African oil development should be encouraged and its export to the world's markets expanded.
    Production in the region's leading oil producers is expected to double and in some to triple over the
    next five to ten years and, like other world producers, they will need markets for this growth, but the oil
    producers of the Middle East should not be abandoned to support a faulty regional foreign policy that
    they oppose, either.

    cheers & good luck to all hdr holders
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