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Israelis prepare to strike


PRIME Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered Israel's army to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on Iran's secret uranium enrichment sites.

London's The Sunday Times reported that the order came after Israeli intelligence warned the Government Iran was operating small enrichment plants hidden in civilian areas.....

....A senior White House source said the threat of a nuclear Iran was moving to the top of the international agenda.

Defence sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the point of no return after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years.

"Israel . . . cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Mr Sharon warned recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we're making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation."

The order to prepare for a possible attack went through the Israeli Defence Ministry, The Sunday Times reported.......


This could be playing into Irans hands if Israel takes military action.....

This will only add to the propaganda of the Iranian president and could lead to something far more serious for the Middle East region....

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In reply to: apache123 on Tuesday 13/12/05 01:14pm

a possible israeli strike would rattle the oil market that is for sure. not sure what iran could do to retailiate however. i'm sure they'll have delusions of grandeur & believe all of the arab nations will unite to strike at israel but that never happens. iran's only options would be too withdraw its oil supply from the market (a blunt instrument response), or maybe utilise its proxies in places like lebanon or palestine (if they have any) for suicide attacks, or possibly fly one of their decrepit built in the usa c130's & drop a nude bomb on israel (assuming they can get thru iraqi airspace unscathed). i suppose they have scud missiles but i'm sure they can be taken out by patriot missiles.



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In reply to: sook on Tuesday 13/12/05 02:12pm

Hi sook,


yes good call, any Iran response would likely be limited. However, perhaps reducing oil supply might not be so blunt. Israel would only offically threaten Iran with US backing (of course) and I doubt Bush would like the prospect of what even higher oil prices might do to his already unpopular second term....


will be interesting to see how it eventuates anyway




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China muscles in to Africa oil scramble

Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:27 AM ET

By Pascal Fletcher


DAKAR (Reuters) - With a booming economy to match its global ambitions, China is elbowing its way in to join the scramble for Africa's untapped oil riches.


On the same continent where Cold War enemies the United States and the Soviet Union once sparred through proxy regimes and armies, Chinese oil executives now jostle with western counterparts to win exploration, output and supply contracts.


From the rock-strewn deserts of Sudan and Mauritania to the deep waters off Angola and Nigeria, Chinese energy companies are aggressively hunting for new oil reserves to power the world's fastest growing major economy.


China had already blazed a diplomatic trail across Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, offering its support to newly independent states and throwing its weight behind liberation movements and the fight against apartheid.


Today, with its expanding economy ever more thirsty for oil and raw materials, Beijing is working to turn that history of diplomatic goodwill into concrete energy and investment deals.


"China has had an engagement with Africa for years, originally driven by diplomacy, but now there are real commercial imperatives ... the concern is to secure long-term oil," said Antony Goldman, Africa analyst at London-based Clearwater Research Services.


U.S. experts say China now receives 28 percent of its oil imports from Africa, mostly from Angola, Sudan and Congo.


Chinese companies are charging into Africa's oil sector, snapping up partnerships in Nigerian and Angolan offshore blocks, building facilities and pipelines in Sudan and prospecting in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad.


"They're everywhere, they're really going for it," said Catriona O'Rourke, Africa analyst for Wood Mackenzie.




This newest scramble for Africa's oil resources more than a century after the continent's colonial carve-up puts China in direct competition with the United States, the world's single biggest energy consumer.


The United States already gets around 15 percent of its oil imports from the Gulf of Guinea, which groups sub-Saharan Africa's major producers like Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.


Analysts predict this share could rise to 25 percent by 2015 as Washington looks for alternate diversified supplies outside the volatile Middle East and currently hostile Venezuela.


U.S. experts warn this contest for African oil supplies by the world's No. 1 and No. 2 petroleum guzzlers could become an open conflict of interests between Beijing and Washington.


China, they say, is far less choosy about its partners and offers aid, trade and investment unencumbered by demands for transparency, good governance and accountability.


"As China is not a beacon of any of these, the Chinese government's practices in Africa can be expected to undermine U.S. goals," Carolyn Bartholomew of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a July 28 report.


The Commission, which reports to the U.S. Congress, says that while the United States and other Western countries try to use the leverage of assistance or investment to encourage reform in African countries, "the Chinese government is prepared to fill the investment hole without constraints."




Analysts point to the cases of Sudan and Angola, both pillars of Chinese energy investment in Africa.


In Sudan, which is under international scrutiny for what Washington calls "genocide" in Darfur, Chinese state firms have taken a major stake in the oil sector, building a refinery in Khartoum and heavily involving themselves in production.


In Angola too, where some international lenders have balked at putting up funds, China has weighed in with a $2 billion infrastructure loan program linked to oil deals in what Chinese diplomats call "a model of cooperation."


"I think they come with more offerings," said Wood Mackenzie's O'Rourke, saying the Chinese were able to sweeten their investment bids with state aid and cooperation projects, such as rebuilding Angola's war-ravaged railway network.


China's Sinopec company has been allowed to buy into two Angola blocks previously held by European oil majors.


Although U.S. giants like Chevron (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) have huge investments in Angola, where their deep-water expertise is still much needed, China has now displaced the United States as the country's biggest oil customer.


"It's much more difficult for ExxonMobil to say 'we'll build you a railway'," said Clearwater's Goldman.


In Nigeria, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is in talks over a possible deal to take over a refinery and get preferential terms in return on some oil exploration blocks.


In Equatorial Guinea too, western companies' dominance over the oil sector may not last forever. The country's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, offered China investment opportunities during a visit to Beijing in October.


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Snippets of former BP Chief Geophysicist David Bamford comments below;




.....There will undoubtedly be further exploration discoveries in the North Sea but the overall success rate will be low, no better than 1 in 5, and the typical size of an oil discovery will be 10-30 million barrels (reducing over time). More and more well-publicized wells will turn out to be dry. Thirdly, 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“newÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ major provinces are not being found: consider some of the so-called ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¹Ãƒƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“hot-spotsÃÆâ€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’‚¢:

    * The view that 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“Mauritania is hot!ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ÂÂ. This view is less and less supported by the evidence from the drillbit as Woodside and others drill a string of dry holes; total reserves of 500 million boe would be a good result for this province.

.......There is general agreement that the Middle East does contain a very significant volume of undiscovered oil: the Yet-To-Find is probably more than 100 billion barrels and it is very likely that world class super giant fields, containing more than 1 billion barrels remain to be found. This resource could be found by applying existing best in class technology to the more difficult, or currently inaccessible parts of the play system.

.....There are several significant basins still to be explored in Russia, and these will lead the industry into the Arctic in due course.

Summarising the oil potential of proven Russian basins and their extensions, it is easy to conceive of 120+ billion barrels, that is around 35 years at 2005 production rates of ~9.3 million barrels per day.

More speculatively, there are some very large areas of unexplored continent and continental shelf in North East Siberia and the Russian Arctic. This is the harshest prospective environment on the planet and has some enormous practical and cost challenges that industry will have to solve....
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