Posts tagged Africom
Posts tagged Africom
The U.S. military command in Africa, AFRICOM, has trained thousands of officers on the continent, including the young captain that overthrew his own government in Mali, this year. “If AFRICOM’s protégés have taken careful note of how the U.S. military is routinely used to try and take whatever the U.S. wants in Africa, often without regard for law, custom or prudence, it is not hard to imagine how or why Amadou Sanogo might do the same thing in his own country.”
“The U.S. may talk the talk of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights,’ but in Africa, it has never walked the walk.”
If a tree is judged by its fruit, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is undeniably diseased from its roots to its branches. One of AFRICOM’s fruits, Amadou Sanogo, who is a captain in Mali’s armed forces, and a former AFRICOM trainee, led the recent military takeover of Mali’s government supposedly because he didn’t believe the country’s leaders were doing enough to suppress an armed secessionist movement in the northern territories. The result was disastrous. The African Union was outraged, and in short order, not only were there crippling economic sanctions against Mali, but also the secessionists took advantage of the confused state of Mali’s government and military and secured control of several towns, including the legendary Timbuktu.
While standing hip deep in a mess of his own making, Sanogo ultimately agreed to step down and allow the re-installation of a civilian government. However, at the time of this writing, he has been a continuing obstacle to efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help Mali navigate through circumstances that threaten to destabilize much of the region.
The Washington Post reported that Sanogo participated in AFRICOM’s “International Military Education and Training” program. According to AFRICOM’s website, the program exposes African soldiers “to U.S. professional military organizations and procedures and the manner in which military organizations function under civilian control.” The program description goes on to say that the participants are introduced “…to elements of U.S. democracy such as the U.S. judicial system, legislative oversight, free speech, equality issues, and U.S. commitment to human rights.” Somehow Sanogo emerged from all of that and resolved to not only strip civilians of their authority but to also take over Mali’s government operations.
“Participants are introduced ‘…to elements of U.S. democracy such as the U.S. judicial system, legislative oversight, free speech, equality issues, and U.S. commitment to human rights.’”
Perhaps none of this should come as a surprise. The U.S. may talk the talk of “democracy” and “human rights,” but in Africa, it has never walked the walk. The U.S. stride has been more of an arrogant imperialist swagger. If AFRICOM’s protégés have taken careful note of how the U.S. military is routinely used to try and take whatever the U.S. wants in Africa, often without regard for law, custom or prudence, it is not hard to imagine how or why Amadou Sanogo might do the same thing in his own country.
If in fact it was exposure to U.S. military culture and training that inspired Sanogo’s folly, then AFRICOM has plenty of other African soldiers traveling down that same track. In recent months U.S. Marines have trained Moroccan soldiers in everything from communications to how to stage “a mechanized, motorized, helo-born, combined arms assault.” In Liberia, the Marines conducted a non-lethal weapons clinic for more than 220 Liberian soldiers. The sessions were part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored mission called “Operation Onward Liberty.”
As a matter of fact, AFRICOM is no longer content to provide just training. James Hart, AFRICOM’s deputy director for programs, said that the U.S. “Africa Partnership Station (APS)” which patrols Africa’s coastal waters, and which has been the site for training Africa’s navies, has the potential to do more. Hart said: “How do we take APS to the next level? By moving away from a training-intensive program and organize APS efforts through emphasizing hands-on training and real-world operations.” Real-world operations? What does that mean against a historical backdrop of forceful U.S. suppression of African forces that threaten the strategic and business interests of western governments and foreign corporations?
AFRICOM training appears to be heavily laced with the ideology of Americanism, which history has demonstrated to be diametrically opposed to the cherished goal of Pan-Africanism. So when it comes to Africa’s true military needs, the continent does not need more loose-cannon, AFRICOM-trained soldiers like Sanogo. It instead needs politically conscious, disciplined civilian militias that can keep these characters and various foreign-sponsored mercenaries under control.
“AFRICOM and the Conflict in Mali”
Nii Akuetteh: Why did US trained officers organize the coup in Mali?
If truth is the first casualty of war, military intervention in the name of humanitarian ideals should likewise be the subject of skepticism. Such an approach is called for as the discourse of the Responsibility to Protect civilian populations is becoming a doctrinal principle in the West’s foreign policy toolbox. The notion that these big powers have the right to intervene in other (weak) countries’ internal affairs threatens to transform the foundation, if not the praxis, of international law.
Simultaneously, the ideology of “humanitarian interventionism,” which stands almost uncontested, can be interpreted as legitimizing a hidden political agenda. It has the potential of blurring existing ideological and political differences between neoconservatives, liberal internationalists in the United States and Europe, and a large section of left-wing forces around the world. All these currents have found common grounds in vindicating NATO’s military violations of the principle of national sovereignty. Seen in retrospect the process began with the Cold War’s end and its promised “peace dividend.”
According to Walden Bello, the precedent of the Western intervention in the Yugoslavian conflict without regard to that country’s sovereignty provided the justification for the invasion of Afghanistan; in turn, these two interventions served to legitimize the invasion of Iraq and NATO’s war in Libya. The regime change in the latter case is being turned into a benchmark for future “humanitarian” interventions by the “international community” with Syria next on the list. Removal of the Ba’ath Party from power would make the Middle East free of Arab nationalist regimes and add to the pressure on Iran and last, but not least, enhance the regional position of Israel.
In this connection, the role of the transnational mass media (in alliance with politically motivated human rights organizations) in the mobilization of public opinion for the principle and practice of interventionism should not be underestimated. It was on the basis of an intense media campaign in support of the Western-sponsored Libyan League for Human Rights that the case found its way to the UN Security Council. In this respect, the role of the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news network was of determining importance. Qatar is a key member of the pro-U.S. Gulf Cooperation Council encompassing repressive monarchies whose alliance with the West belies NATO’s professed concerns for human rights and democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The problem with the conceptual framework of humanitarian interventionism is related to its abstraction from geoeconomics and geopolitics as well as disregard for the disparity of power and influence in the world. Notwithstanding the appeal of this discourse, the international system is not a level playing field. In a world where “might makes right,” the acceptance of Responsibility to Protect as the norm in inter-state relations gives the hegemonic powers ideological legitimization for intervening in weaker countries against noncompliant regimes.
Historical experience shows that there are good reasons to doubt the prevalence of humanitarian concerns as the foreign policy motivation of most nation-states. Not the least of which is the tendency of the big powers to cloak their foreign policy behind high-sounding moralistic discourses. The mixing of humanism and war on the part of an imperialist power is, and remains, an oxymoron. “Humanitarian” bombing and occupation are not measures to further peace, and military destruction is neither environmentally friendly nor energy saving.
The Source of Post-Second World War U.S. Strategy
Only the gullible can believe that the United States maintains military bases in about 150 countries and a “defense” budget accounting for more than two-fifths of global military spending simply in order to sustain human rights, good governance, etc. in the world. Unless of course one believes that military Full Spectrum Dominance of the United States is the necessary cost for these goods.
A more realistic position to understand the unfolding of contemporary politics is to look beyond the discourses and contextualize the practice. The guiding lines for U.S. foreign policy were established in the immediate post-Second World War period some sixty years ago. It was in 1948, in the context of the beginning Cold War and the decolonization process, that the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, under the directorship of George Kennan, formulated what was to become the gist of U.S. international strategy. There is no evidence to indicate a deviation from the document’s recommendations in the practice of American foreign policy ever since. Still today, it is instructive to focus on its basic assumptions and strategic considerations as these shed light on the present attempt to remold the world in order to preserve American “exceptionalism”:
We have about 50 per cent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 per cent of its population…. Our real task in the coming period is to maintain this disparity…. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming…. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of altruism…. We should cease to talk about vague, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we will have to deal in straight power concepts.1
The call for “realism” does not of course mean that the emphasis on humanitarian values cannot be used to serve the same strategic interests—that is, the preservation of the unequal distribution of world resources. As the right to intervene in the internal affairs of a country is based on the assumption that such actions are per definition earmarked for Third World nations, it is essential to take the structure of the world system into consideration. In this optic, the development of the ideology and practice of the West with regard to economic, political, and military interference in non-European regions of the world can be seen as the continuation of an age-old historical relationship.
The History of Western Interventionism and the Libya Case
Discarding the history of Western interventions based on the Right to Plunder, the present discourse and strategy based on the Responsibility to Protect is presented as a novelty, i.e. bringing morality in international politics. This is taken at face value by large sections of the Western left with some going as far as to criticize the proto-socialist and populist governments of Latin America for their support of the Qaddafi regime against the armed intervention of NATO in what very early became a civil war in Libya.
Invisible Children, makers of KONY2012, provided an intelligence tip to Uganda’s security apparatus leading to arrests of several suspected regime opponents, according to U.S. embassy cables posted by WikiLeaks.
The San Diego-based group has since 2008 acted in concert with the Ugandan government in coordinating public relations campaigns to promote a military solution against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), while keeping the U.S. administration informed. Key partnerships formed by Invisible Children in Washington, D.C. include lobbying organizations Resolve Uganda and the Center for American Progress’ Enough Project ; groups that have also promoted U.S. military penetration in Africa.
The memos also document that U.S. officials were aware of the Ugandan government’s campaigns to demonize opponents of the military approach by linking them to the LRA as sympathizers or collaborators — even church leader Bishop John Baptiste Odama was implicated.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State declined to comment on the U.S. memos and its contents when excerpts were sent via email message for reaction. Invisible Children’s CEO Ben Keesey didn’t return a phone message left at the San Diego office seeking comment. Additionally, an outside spokesperson for the organization didn’t respond to detailed questions submitted via email message.
It’s unclear whether Invisible Children provided additional intelligence information to the Ugandans beyond the one referred to in the U.S. memo and whether the relationship continues. (The organization didn’t respond to this specific question either. Similarly, The State Department didn’t respond to a question about whether a U.S. NGO was authorized to share intelligence information with Ugandan authorities leading to arrests).
Some legal experts say Invisible Children may be exposed to liability from the people arrested as a result of the tip to Ugandan authorities.
According to Invisible Children’s PR plan to promote armed operations against the LRA outlined in the memos, Ugandan officials and politicians, such as Norbert Mao, backed the military approach, and were to be brought on trips to the U.S. to meet with lawmakers to help build U.S. support. (Later, an LRA Disarmament bill was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, paving the way for deployment of the U.S. military in Uganda, beginning in October, 2011).
Critics contend Invisible Children, by actively engaging in intelligence work for the Ugandan authorities and then promoting the regime’s military approach through campaigns such as “Kony2012” — part one and “Beyond Kony” the sequel released last week — shouldn’t be entitled to its not-for-profit status. The U.S. embassy memos now provide more insight into the working relations between Invisible Children, the Ugandan authorities and the U.S. government — dating to the George W. Bush administration.
The memos highlight an August 10, 2007 meeting in which Invisible Children’s CEO, Ben Keesey, met in Uganda with then U.S. ambassador Steven Browning“…to update the Ambassador on their activities and to describe their efforts to provide to their audiences timely information on conditions in northern Uganda.”
Invisible Children’s current alliance with the Ugandan authorities began after the AFRICOM-assisted military maneuver against the LRA in Congo, code-named Operation Lightning Thunder (OLT), which was a turning point in the war between Museveni’s army the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) and the LRA.
President Obama’s statement on defense strategy announced a stronger U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific, while keeping Africa under the radar. Yet, recent developments unequivocally suggest that the Black Continent has become the new U.S. playground of imperial military conquest. Mali is the country currently caught in the eye of the storm. In this article, written in February 2012 when the latest so-called “Tuareg rebellion” erupted in northern Mali, Rick Rozoff connects the dots between these events and Mali’s pivotal role in the U.S. strategy for Africa, conjecturing that, after Libya, the stage is possibly being set for another foreign intervention.
The press wires are reporting on intensified fighting in Mali between the nation’s military and ethnic Tuareg rebels of the Azawad National Liberation Movement in the north of the nation.
As the only news agencies with global sweep and the funds and infrastructure to maintain bureaus and correspondents throughout the world are those based in leading member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, BBC News and Deutsche Presse-Agentur – the coverage of ongoing developments in Mali, like those in most every other country, reflects a Western bias and a Western agenda.
Typical headlines on the topic, then, include the following:
“Colonel Gaddafi armed Tuaregs pound Mali” - The Scotsman
“France denounces killings in Mali rebel offensive” -Agence France-Presse
“Mali, France Condemn Alleged Tuareg Rebel Atrocities” - Voice of America
To reach Mali from Libya is at least a 500-mile journey through Algeria and/or Niger. As the rebels of course don’t have an air force, don’t have military transport aircraft, the above headlines and the propaganda they synopsize imply that Tuareg fighters marched the entire distance from Libya to their homeland in convoys containing heavy weapons through at least one other nation without being detected or deterred by local authorities. And that, moreover, to launch an offensive three months following the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after his convoy was struck by French bombs and a U.S. Hellfire missile last October. But the implication that Algeria and Niger, especially the first, are complicit in the transit of Tuareg fighters and arms from Libya to Mali is ominous in terms of expanding Western accusations – and actions – in the region.
Armed rebellions are handled differently in Western-dominated world news reporting depending on how the rebels and the governments they oppose are viewed by leading NATO members.
In recent years the latter have provided military and logistical support to armed rebel formations – in most instances engaged in cross-order attacks and with separatist and irredentist agendas – in Kosovo, Macedonia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Libya and now Syria, and on the intelligence and “diplomatic” fronts in Russia, China, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Indonesia, Congo, Myanmar, Laos and Bolivia.
Glen Ford: Americans should oppose US military interventions everywhere
Side Note: The Pan-African News Wire is a great source to keep up to date on what is going on in the continent of Africa, ESPECIALLY in relation to what foreign nations like the USA and China are doing there. Other [recent] articles from the site that I’d recommend are:
It is time to tell the USA to back off. MANY of Africa’s political problems are direct results of the USA’s covert (and overt) military actions on that continent. Whether it’s with the CIA or AFRICOM; and just because many Americans are ignorant of this DOES NOT alleviate them of being responsible for it.
The ancient city of Timbuktu is embroiled in a conflict that is a spillover of last year’s NATO assault on Libya. “With the political & economic situation in Libya becoming extremely hostile towards Black Libyans & Africans from other parts of the continent, thousands of Tuaregs relocated back inside of Mali.” Tuareg forces stated “they want a separate homeland for the people of the north of the country.” while, Mali’s military, which overthrew the country’s elected president, faces sanctions from its West African neighbors.
“The MNLA is led by the Tuareg people who have been marginalized since the post-independence period of the last five decades.”
Timbuktu, the ancient city in northern Mali, has been taken by the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). The ongoing war for the control of the northern regions of this West African state has created a strong reaction from throughout the region.
A military coup took place in the capital of Bamako on March 21 deposing President Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup has drawn condemnation from the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United States, the European Union and other international bodies.
Under pressure from outside and inside the country, the military junta headed by Capt. Amadou Sanogo announced on April 1 that they would re-instate the national constitution and hold elections aimed at a transition back to civilian rule. This came in the aftermath of a failed trip to Bamako by a group of ECOWAS leaders headed by Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso.
The ECOWAS airline carrying a delegation of West African leaders was returned in mid-air amid reports of demonstrations in the capital in favor of the military regime. Later on April 2, the ECOWAS regional organization met in Dakar, Senegal for several hours to discuss the situation in Mali.
According to the Associated Press, “The head of the body representing West African nations says the bloc is imposing financial sanctions on Mali because the junior officers that seized power in a coup 12 days ago have failed to restore constitutional order.” (April 2) After the meeting, the regional ECOWAS leader Alassane Ouattara emerged stating “that sanctions, including the closing of Mali’s land borders and the cutting off of the nation’s access to the regional central bank, would go into effect immediately.”
Side Note: US imperialism - it’s desire to ‘police’ the world in the pursuit of “national interests” - is far reaching. There really isn’t a place on the globe that isn’t being brutalized by it’s militaristic ambitions. Most American’s are rather oblivious to their own countries impact on the world. I, personally, try to keep abreast on as much of it as I can - from Japan, to China, to the Middle East, South America and the continent of Africa and anywhere else the empire plants it foot (or military bases). Long story short: I APPOSE all of it. I do NOT see the USA as being a ‘force of good’ in the world. I tend to find that whenever the USA purports to be doing something ‘good’ for another nation - it ALWAYS has ulterior motives. I cannot support it.
The sequel to the mega-viral disaster that was Kony 2012 may only be 20 minutes long, but financier-turned-humanitarian Ben Keesey still manages to gravely insult the intelligence of an audience clearly more awake and aware than he and the corporate-financiers behind Invisible Children would like to admit. Surely though, they are more than aware of the real revolution they’ve scratched the surface of - a population no longer swayed by slick marketing campaigns and who are more than ready to confront such deception. That is why Invisible Children has not only disabled comments on their latest piece of propaganda, but have also disabled the rating system for their video.
Image: Kony 2012: Part II. Ratings and comments have been disabled exposing “activism 2.0” as the one way predetermined, monolithic, corporate-funded agenda it was all along. (click image to enlarge)
Just like traditional corporate propaganda, Invisible Children has become a one-way marketing operation - while posing as an “activism 2.0” exercise, it denies activists any opportunity to express their views, influence the debate, or sway the agenda in any shape form or way - much like Soros-funded infiltrators did to the Occupy Wall Street movement right before it petered out. You are given the illusion of being a part of something bigger than yourself when in reality you are simply being used by a monolithic unilateral predetermined agenda.
Bigger than Kony: Selling the R2P Pretext
Keesey, in his pro-imperial infomercial, begins by citing a 2005 UN World Summit “outcome” titled “the responsibility to protect” which is drafted verbatim from a 2001 report titled, “The Responsibility to Protect,”- published by the ad hoc “International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The commission consisted of members drawn from the Fortune 500-Soros funded International Crisis Group (Fidel Ramos, Cyril Ramaphosa), the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and members of both Western governments and their armed forces. It is a doctrine created exclusively for the benefit of justifying wars of opportunity, profit, and conquest by former colonial rulers to recommence the golden age of global subjugation and plundering.
Already R2P has been horribly abused in Libya, where violence was purposefully triggered by the very nations behind the R2P doctrine, then insidiously used as a pretext to militarily intervene. Their intervention saw weapons, money, air support, and diplomatic legitimacy granted to vicious, racist, genocidal terrorists, notorious for decades of violence not only in Libya, but in Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO’s assistance to these terrorists, falling under the banner of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), has not only plunged Libya into perpetual chaos, but has seen these rearmed, reinvigorate terrorists carry their campaign as far east as Syria and as far west as Mali.
Ironically, Keesey in his “Kony 2012 Part II” video implicates Syria as another prime candidate for R2P intervention. It is ironic because Syria is another nation ravaged by violence openly fueled by the UN, NATO, and their junior Arab League partners, with the “Free Syrian Army” itself armed, funded, and directed by NATO-backed Libyan LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj all under the pretext of the R2P agenda.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the illegitimate “International Criminal Court” (ICC) once again lends his questionable stamp of approval to Invisible Children’s crusade to “catch Joseph Kony.” Ocampo states that it is a “dream” that we are a “global community protecting each other.” Ocampo is famous not only for his role in lying to the world to justify the Libyan War in the first place, but for his overt deceit during the height of NATO’s Libyan campaign when he claimed Saif al-Islam Qaddafi’s capture in Tripoli was not only “confirmed,” but that his transfer to the Hague was underway. The next day, Saif al-Islam appeared in Tripoli still leading efforts to liberate his besieged nation. It would be months before he was actually captured.
The USA Africa Command, which America calls ‘Africom’, is a military structure of the Defence Department of America. Africom was formed in 2007 during President George W Bush’s second term of office. That was two months after America had bombed a small African country, Somalia, destabilising it to the ashes it is today and to the danger it now poses to Africa and international trade. The coast of Somalia is infested with sea piracy and kidnappings. This is as a result of the earlier American invasion of Somalia, in pursuit of its illegitimate economic interests in Africa. The political instability of Somalia has now caused the problem of ‘terrorism’ for East African countries such as Kenya.
In October 2011, the Institute of Security Studies held a seminar in Pretoria, South Africa, on United States’ security policy in Africa and the role of the US Africa Command. The main speaker was the American Ambassador to South Africa. He presented what was a ‘non-military insider’s perspective on the United States’ Africa Command.’ This way he was supposedly to ‘separate facts from fiction and rumours and deal directly with misconceptions and misapprehensions about Africom.’
The American apologists of Africom suggested that the creation of this American military structure under the American Defence Department ‘has turned out to be different from what the USA government had originally envisioned and what the United States of America had originally perceived, having quickly foresworn locating its headquarters in Africa.’
It seems that even in this 21st century the United States of America government does not respect the sovereignty of African states and the territorial integrity of the continent. If it did, it would know that Africans have national and continental interests and the right to protect them. Assistance should be solicited. Those who need assistance know what kind of assistance they want. The United States of America has no right to prescribe Africom on Africa even at the expense of dividing Africa and weakening the African Union. America wants its own interests to prevail over those of Africa.
Africans have a painful history of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, racism and colonialism by nations that claim to be ‘civilised’ but have behaviour that is contrary to civilisation. They dehumanised Africa’s people and saw nothing wrong with that. They have never shown any remorse for their inhuman deeds to Africans or offered any reparations for the colossal damage they inflicted on Africans. America’s persistence to impose Africom on Africa proves this beyond reasonable doubt.
Uganda suffered unspeakable atrocities under Idi Amin’s government that was installed by Britain under Prime Minister Edward Heath. The British government did not like the socialist policies of President Milton Obote. Idi Amin killed many Ugandans. They included the Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum.
After the overthrow of Idi Amin, there emerged Joseph Kony, leader of what he calls the Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony has murdered thousands of Ugandans. This included kidnapping hundreds of Ugandan children who he forced to join his army to fight the Ugandan government. Many of those children were killed in the senseless war. This has gone on for over 20 years.
The US government never approached Uganda or the African Union or its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, to ask how the United States could help. Now there is discovery of oil in Uganda. Almost immediately, there are reports that US government has sent an army to Uganda to find Joseph Kony and rescue Uganda’s children. Why did America not make this offer long before Uganda discovered this oil wealth? Acquisition of Africa’s resources is the chief purpose of Africom, not the development of Africa.
Some African countries have been threatened with sanctions and ‘regime change.’ One of them is Libya, where Colonel Maummar Gaddafi was killed under the dark cloud of NATO and United States of America. When Africans raise concerns about ‘Africom’ they are said to suffer ‘misconceptions, misapprehensions, rumours, and fiction.’ Now, is the United States of America government prepared to allow Russia or China to establish their own ‘American Command’ and call it ‘Americom’ in pursuit of their national interests in America? How would Americans react to this? Would they go to the streets and say, ‘Welcome messiah!’
Anyway, the architect of ‘Africom’ President George W Bush has said that the United States’ Africa Command ‘will co-ordinate all United States security interests throughout Africa.’ If this is not imperialist arrogance and contempt for the sovereignties of African States, then the proponents of ‘Africom’ must be sent to a mental hospital for treatment.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced Monday that oil has been discovered in northwestern Kenya, but he cautioned that it will take years before the country begins production.
Kibaki called the discovery of oil in the Turkana region a “major breakthrough in oil exploration.” He added that this is the “beginning of a long journey” to make the country an oil producer.
The company behind the find, Britain’s Tullow Oil, said it discovered a 20-meter-deep deposit of oil more than a kilometer below the surface of the earth.
Key find, early stage
Company spokesman George Cazenove said the discovery is significant, but cautioned that it is only an intermediate step in a much larger process.
“Twenty-meters of net oil pay is a reasonable result, it’s certainly something that people in Kenya should be excited by. But the well has a lot further to go, as well, and there may be more oil there, there may not be, so this is essentially a sort of interim result of something that’s exciting, but again, I would stress once more that there’s much more work to be done,” said Cazenove.
Tullow plans to continue drilling the well, to a depth of 2,700 meters, to determine if there is further oil potential.
In a statement, the company said the oil found in Turkana has “similar properties to the light waxy crude discovered in Uganda.”[Emphasis Added]
Cazenove said this is an important comparison.
“It is a valuable parallel because the first well in Uganda was in 2006 and we have drilled, since then, 46 exploration and appraisal wells, and we are about four years away from, we hope, major production, and that’s 2016, so that gives you some idea of the length of time it takes to move from initial discoveries all the way through the value chain right up to production,” said Cazenove.
Great potential of discovery
Tullow has not said how much oil it expects to find in Kenya, but if it is anything like the Uganda discovery it could be a significant amount.
The company already has discovered 1.1 billion barrels of oil in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin region and believes another 1.4 billion barrels are yet to be found.
Cazenove said Tullow has two more wells to drill in Kenya this year and more planned for 2013.
The drilling operations are part of a larger multi-well campaign in Kenya and Ethiopia, spanning an area in excess of 100,000 square kilometers.