Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why the surge in Afghanistan ? Part 4

Iran and the Caspian Sea

Iran appears to be a trouble spot and an enemy of the United States and Israel , this because they border the Caspian Sea . The Caspian, with its rich oil reserves has the eye of the US and coupled with our military muscle we have already claimed the region. The US is aligned with Pakistan . Iran has aligned itself with China India and Russia .

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water, by area, on Earth, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 square kilometers (143,244 sq mi) and a volume of 78,200 cubic kilometers (18,761 cu mi). It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded by northern Iran , southern Russia , western Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan , and eastern Azerbaijan . It has a maximum depth of about 1,025 meters (3,363 ft).

The Caspian area is rich in energy resources. Wells were developed in the region as early as the 10th century. By the 1500s Europeans were aware of the rich oil and gas deposits.

English traders Thomas Bannister and Jeffrey Duckett described the area around Baku as “a strange thing to behold, for there issueth out of the ground a marvelous quantity of oil, which serveth all the country to burn in their houses. This oil is black and is called nefte. There is also by the town of Baku , another kind of oil which is white and very precious (i.e., petroleum)."

The world’s first offshore wells and machine-drilled wells were made in Bibi-Heybat Bay , near Baku , Azerbaijan . In 1873 exploration and development of oil began in some of the largest fields, known to exist at that time, in the world. They were developed on the Absheron peninsula near the villages of Balakhanli, Sabunchi, Ramana and Bibi Heybat. Total recoverable reserves at that time numberd more than 500 million tons. By 1900 Baku had more than 3,000 oil wells, 2,000 of which were producing at industrial levels. By the end of the 19th century Baku 's fame as the "Black Gold Capital" was spreading throughout the world, causing many skilled workers and specialists to flock to the city.

By the turn of the 20th century, Baku was the global center for the international oil industry. In 1920, when the Bolsheviks captured Azerbaijan , all private property - including oil wells and factories - were confiscated. After that, the republic's entire oil industry was directed towards the purposes of the Soviet Union . By 1941 Azerbaijan was producing a record 23.5 million tons of oil, and the Baku region supplied nearly 72% of all oil extracted in the entire USSR . In 1994 the "Contract of the Century" was signed, signaling the start of major international development of the Baku oil fields. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, a major pipeline allowing Azerbaijan oil to flow straight to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan , opened in 2006.

The oil in the Caspian basin is estimated to be worth over US $12 trillion. The sudden collapse of the USSR and subsequent opening of the region has led to an intense investment and development scramble by international oil companies. In 1998 Dick Cheney commented that "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian."

Enter Iran

On August 8, 2008 Iran announced that they were in talks with India ’s Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and China ’s offshore oil corporation for the development of oil reserves in the South Caspian Sea region.

The report quoted the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) deputy director Hojatollah Ghanimifard as saying that NIOC has been discussing the issue with India ’s ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of the ONGC, and China ’s state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

NIOC is reviewing proposals to make the terms of the current contracts more attractive to international oil companies by offering them production-sharing contracts for the first time, the report said.

Under such contracts the developer is entitled to a share of production, which allows them to recoup their investment costs and make improved profits.

The Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras is currently drilling three wells in the Caspian Sea.

Iran angered the US because it jumped right in the face of the American oil companies, who have also begun to build their pipe line across Afghanistan , to draw oil from the Caspian Sea across Afghanistan to Pakistan .

If Iran is allowed to continue with its plans, it will be the largest competitor of the US as at least half of the oil reserves are along the Iranian portion of the Caspian.

The US Invaded Afghanistan over the Oil Pipe Line, we invaded Iraq , over its oil reserves, and there was a plan in place to invade Iran.