Oil, Gas (naturally) and related hopes


I suppose you’ve got the whiff of news about the recent discoveries of natural gas and oil. IF the deposits are the sort of gushers that bring big fast cash, I hope the results will be something to be optimistic about. Yet such optimism is hard. Oil and gas and tropics are not a good cocktail. Even in the much adored first world democracies, oil money has an ugly side. When I heard people talk about Sri Lanka as a fossil fuel exporter I have to wrestle down demons. Particularly the vague nasty notions of what life is like in Angola or Nigeria. This clip from the film “Blood Diamond” sums up the gloom of the mood.

I’ve been around long enough to be wary of optimism. But its good to have a bit of healthy skepticism about the easy cynicism that we lean on after the blows of history. With a little bit of effort, we can even have the courage to be hopeful and optimistic without the aid of alcohol. Now that was a hard sentence to write with a straight face. Some of the voices in the head are already sneering from their cushions. I should bravely say that citizens of a voting democracy can make things different. We’ll take our democratic responsibilities seriously. We’ll set aside time from our busy lives to pressure our elected representatives for a fair and transparent energy policy that benefits the whole country. We won’t be an Angola or Nigeria or an Equatorial Guinea but something different and good. Like a cool Ginger beer in a shaded, well breezed veranda.

At this point I can almost feel the sneers of the handful who have bothered to read this far. I know I must seem like an bad cello player trying to deny the tsunami with a bit of shaky Mozart (if he didn’t write anything for cello just insert someone who did). But vut to do ? I’m in a situation where cynicism is no longer an option. I don’t know what’s left. But that’s another story.

18 comments

  1. Haha, at your last paragraph.😀

    Pumping more money into a rotten system wouldn’t do much good, and sadly I fear that’s what’s going to go down. More money = more subsidies = less complaining, but the underlying issues not being fixed.😦

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    • That’s my fear. The nightmare senario is an oil money funded government bureaucracy stuffed with political supporters who have been given do nothing jobs. More fiscal mismanagement and the whole thing will crash quite hard. Hope it never happens.

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  2. not to sound too optimistic but yindia has handled her oil wealth quite well and cairn is from yindia. the gas is 2 years away at the earliest and much can happen in 2 years…lets dance🙂

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    • Yindia has oil???!!!😀 Didn’t know that. I guess the place doesn’t behave live an oil country. If I could dance I wish it would be linke this:

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    • Maf, Cairn is a good small operator. The problem is not with the operator, its with the government.

      I am crossing my fingers and hoping that the discovery will not be commercially viable, if it is that will be the last nail in the coffin.

      Growth is determined by policy, not by resources. All the natural resources in Africa have not brought their countries wealth, they have brought them poverty, war and destruction. The record is pretty bleak the only exceptions have been Botswana and South Africa. Everywhere else, with no exception it has been a disaster, from Nigeria, to Angola to the Congo.

      Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso, a founder of OPEC, complained in 1975: “I call petroleum the devil’s excrement. It brings trouble…Look at this locura—waste, corruption, consumption, our public services falling apart. And debt, debt we shall have for years.”

      See more here

      http://www.economist.com/node/1795921

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  3. Why the cello in particular?

    The two outstanding concerti for the instrument are by Dvorak and Elgar. I rather like Holst’s invocation and have grown to like the Delius double concerto, speaking of which the Brahm’s double is excellent.

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  4. chamira : Thank you😀

    Jack : No idea where the cello thing came from. The dictats of the voices require obedience (sometimes they make North Korea seem like an Athenian democracy) otherwise the phrase will be twirling in my mind till I’m dragged to Angoda😉

    Thank you for the cello mentions. Haven’t heard a many solo performances of the instrument but the little I have ignorantly heard I like very much. I saw a book about JS Bach’s cello suites which seem “popular” but I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard them.

    Kiri : Doesn’t seem so but then again I’m not the most informed!

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