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In reply to: gonnfishing on Thursday 04/08/05 08:08am

Too early to tell Gonnfishing....


Status Quo until we hear more from the Coup leaders...


HDR may take a beating today.....




Oil wealth triggers army coup
By Jonathan Clayton

THE deep instability of West Africa was highlighted again yesterday when a group of army officers overthrew the President of Mauritania and set up a military council to rule the Islamic nation, which is on the verge of a huge oil bonanza.

In a brief statement, the self-styled Military Council for Justice and Democracy said that it was putting an end to the ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“totalitarian regimeÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ of President Maaouya Ould SidÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¾Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢Ahmed Taya. It pledged to rule for two years and create the conditions for an ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“open and transparent democracyÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂ.

The successful coup, which came after two failed attempts last year, was led by officers who seized the headquarters of the armed forces and the state radio and television buildings in Nouakchott, the capital.

Mr Taya, who faced mounting opposition to his 21-year rule from Islamic militants and pro-democracy advocates, was out of the country. He was believed to have stopped over in Niamey, capital of neighbouring Niger, during his return from the funeral of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

The coup was led by heavily armed units of the presidential guard which took control of the buildings at about 5am local time and blocked off key access routes to the presidential palace and government ministries.

Short bursts of automatic gunfire were heard, but there were no reports of any casualties. Mr Taya, now in his 60s, seized power in a bloodless coup in 1984 and has ruled with an iron fist. Despite his once close links with Saddam Hussein, he has portrayed himself as a US ally and expressed concern about the creeping influence of al-Qaeda in Africa.

Mauritania, one of the few countries in the world where slavery is openly practised with semi-official endorsement, is reportedly sitting on one billion barrels of oil and 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

Critics say that Mr Taya was using the threat of Islamic militancy to clamp down on any opponents while preparing to share out the spoils among his close associates, mainly fellow Moors, a tiny minority of the countryÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¾Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢s 2.8 million people.

In June 2003, just as major Western oil companies began moving into the country in force, there was a bloody uprising against Mr Taya. It was suppressed only after several days of street fighting and was followed by severe repression of all critics, sparking two more coup attempts last August and September.

In particular the Government accused opponents of links with al-Qaeda insurgents in neighbouring Algeria and accepted offers of US training to help its forces to combat the terrorist threat.

Last May the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, said that Mr Taya was using the supposed threat to resist reform. Elections in 1992 and 1997 returning him to office were widely rejected as masquerades.
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Latest media gos on Mauritania Coup....




Thursday August 4, 10:53 AM
UPDATE: Woodside Seeks Reassurance After Mauritania Coup

  By Stephen Bell

PERTH (Dow Jones)--Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL.AU) said Thursday it plans to contact the leaders of a military junta that has overthrown Mauritania's government.

The company will be "engaging with" the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, a Woodside spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires. The talks at this stage will be limited to "safety and operational matters," he said.

Woodside cautioned that "no meeting has officially been scheduled" with the council, which overthrew Mauritania's U.S.-allied president Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya while he was abroad Wednesday.

The council has named national police chief Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall as the country's new leader.

Woodside's 450 staff and contractors in Mauritania - located both onshore and offshore - have all been accounted for and are safe, the spokesman added.

"Drilling operations have continued after a short delay when the port was closed," he said.

The Stena Tay rig is in the final stages of completing a well suspension, while the West Navigator is installing a development well.

Woodside believes the situation on the ground will become clearer when day breaks in around four hours.

The coup has prompted a share sell-off in Woodside's minority partners in Mauritania, including Hardman Resources Ltd. (HDR.AU) and Roc Oil Co. (ROC.AU).

After slumping as much as 10%, Hardman shares recovered slightly and were down 5.2% at 0245 GMT. Roc shares were down 2.9%, while Woodside shares were down 0.5%.

One dealer said investors are worried about the policies of the new regime.

"It's a bit early to say, but this new government is more in tune with the Islamic population so it's possible the new guys won't be as friendly to western investment values," the dealer said.

In an overnight statement, the council said it was committed to "respect all treaties and international conventions ratified by Mauritania."

Meanwhile, the Australian government has advised its citizens to defer all travel to the west African nation.

"There have been reports of a coup in the capital, Nouakchott, on Aug. 3, 2005, and the situation remains uncertain," Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

"Australians in Mauritania should exercise extreme caution and stay indoors and monitor media reports," it added.

Woodside is the operator of the offshore Chinguetti field, estimated to have up to 100 million barrels. It also operates the Tiof field, which may contain up to 400 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The US$625 million Chinguetti development is due to start producing oil in the first quarter of next year at an initial rate of 75,000 barrels per day.

Woodside was also due to begin a major exploration program this month initially targeting the Sotto prospect, which broker UBS estimates holds 150-250 million barrels of oil.

Sotto-1 is the first of a proposed six well program this year that includes the Colin and Espadon prospects.
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Back stabbed....


This may explain why it was bloodless coup at Mauritania....


It does not paint a pretty picture of the president....




Pressure mounts on Mauritania army after coup
04 Aug 2005 19:42:15 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Ibrahima Sylla

NOUAKCHOTT, Aug 4 (Reuters)......

The U.S. and French ambassadors to Mauritania met the head of the 17-member council, Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall on Thursday....

Vall had long been seen as a close ally of the president, having participated in the 1984 coup that brought Taya to power and served as his security chief for nearly 20 years.

Among the putschists was also the head of Taya's guard, showing that unlike previous attempts to oust him, Wednesday's coup came from within the president's own inner circle.
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In reply to: apache123 on Friday 05/08/05 11:45am

I have held either HDR or ROC during all the recent coups and they have all been storms in a tea cup.


Personally I think it was a forgone conclusion Taya would be ousted sooner or later. It would appear so far that the coup has been responsibly managed and is unlikely to have any bad effects regarding the Aussie oilers.


The new regime is likely to repair the rift with Morocco which should be good for the West Sahara area and reduce any liklihood of border infractions.


So saying all that, the next few days will be important as the international community learns how the new regime will operate in practise.


BKP is a little more disadvantaged by the scenario given the amount of onshore operating areas it holds.

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In reply to: annaliese on Friday 05/08/05 10:06am



It was a good sign that the coup was bloodless and that civilians appear to support the change at the top. Less chance for a civil war.


Mauritania need the economic flow on from oil/gas production, so I could not see the new authority trying to prevent it from happening. If they did, then it would only set them back many years before any western oil majors would try again.


Time will tell if the new authority is any better than the old one.



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In reply to: apache123 on Friday 05/08/05 01:19pm

Its interesting Apache when you look at Angola. All through their civil war the oil industry flourished. Theres no way the party in power (whoever they are) wants to cut off the oil royalty. And without qualified people to run the infrastructure the only way forward is to let the oilers conduct business as usual.

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Sotto has been spudded....


ROC announces that the Sotto-1 exploration well in Mauritania PSC A, commenced drilling on 6 August, 2005 at 2300 GMT. The well is being drilled by the Stena Tay drilling vessel.

Sotto-1 is located approximately 110km southwest of Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, and 42km south of the Chinguetti Oil Field in a water depth of 320m. The planned total depth of the well is 3,330m.

The well is targeting Lower Miocene canyon fill sands of approximately the same age as the Chinguetti and Tiof oil discoveries in PSC B.

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