In theory, the concept of a National Oil Company is the most viable solution to resource management in developing countries, only if the true goal of the NOC is to serve the general population and develop a self sustaining oil sector . Local agriculture and industries must be protected through tariffs, anti-conglomerate regulations, and genuine environmental policies. By subjecting oil companies in the Gulf Region to a more competitive, realistic home grown economy, the objectives and nature of the oil company could become more in line with the needs of the general population
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Oliveira's outlook expects the "de-structuring" of the state to continue in the Gulf of Guinea, giving way to a "hyper-privitised state-like entity" that relies on despotic power to achieve, "the narrow scope of its goals".(Oliveira 122)
Members of the private military firm, "Executive Outcomes". Based out of Pretoria, this PMF successfully intervened in the Angolan civil war from 1992-94, "to the point that the company claimed to have won the war"(Oliveira 116)
The company was hired by Sonangol at the "behest" of major oil companies such as Chevron and Texaco
"The resources available to the oil state allow it to confound reality with displays of force that poorer states cannot afford to enact"(Oliveira 113)
Travel between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, "remains possible only by air seven years after the end of hostilities" (Oliveira 109). An physical link between these urban areas seems like an obvious choice for a domestic development project, but the lack of relevance to the oil sector leaves the urban centers secluded.
Point-Noire, Republic of the Congo
"The trend of company involvement in enclave governance occurs on account of the absence of the state rather than because the company wants to accumulate state-like functions" (Oliveira 109).
Chevron's Malongo compound rests on the coast of Cabinda - an oil producing exclave of Angola. Complete with an 18 hole golf course, the compound was allegedly involved in government toruture in 2002 against seperatist prisoners. (Oliveira 108).
The post 9/11 rush to secure oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea has only further empowered the oil elites. Companies like Sonangol exist not to serve the Angolan general population, but to facilitate and maintain oil operations. In order to achieve this process, the private oil sector, and the state authority apparatus work in tandem to secure, "the long term structuring role of the private sector in the governance of strategic areas" while neglecting the needs of populations and areas that are not part of the oil infrastructure.(Oliveira 105).
This picture taken by Pieter Hugo in Abuja, Nigeria, depicts a hyena handler who is part of a larger group of handlers who have put on live animal performances for generations. Oliveira writes of the "human indicators in of the Gulf of Guinea. 'In general', the IMF notes, 'oil producing countries in Africa have not achieved the better social indicators than other Africa countries" (Oliveira 101)
The cash flow involved with the oil sector, provides these states, and NOCs to acquire favorable credit. Using this credit, countries acquire short term loans backed by national oil, that allow them to circumvent the "good governance" required for sustainable development programs.
"Starting with Nigeria, oil states during the boom years realised that, even if the technology was beyond their reach, the ability to "collect and interpret information that affected their negotiating position" was essential and that "a technical elite, even if very small, could play a powerful role in negotiations" - Oliveira pg. 88
Sonangol's website: http://www.sonangol.co.ao/