The Falkland Island Dispute Flares Up Again: The Latest Bulletin

From Merco Press, Falkland Islands, Sunday, January 22:

“Yes, she [the second oil rig] is here and getting ready for Monday. She’s a real nice state of the art baby” said the Falklands sources.

Early in the day the Buenos Aires press, quoting sources at Argentina’s Defence and Foreign Affairs ministries, said that the oil rig, flagged in Bahamas and contracted by Borders & Southern Plc and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd (FOGL), had been detected approaching Malvinas waters.

The rig is expected to begin drilling two wells next week to the south and southeast of the Malvinas Islands.

Since the announcement November 2010 of the contracting of the Leif Eiriksson, “several Argentine offices, among them the Malvinas and South Atlantic Desk at the Foreign Affairs ministry (Ambassador Sebastian Brugo Marcó) and the Office of Strategic Intelligence from the Ministry of Defence (Lourdes Puente de Lopez Llovet),” began tracking the course of the rig from Greenland to the Falklands, with the help of shipping webs on the Internet that show maritime traffic worldwide.

So far two other oil companies have been involved in the current round of exploratory drilling in Falklands’ waters, which started in 2010: Desire Petroleum and Rockhopper Exploration Plc. Between them, they have drilled over twenty wells with the Ocean Guardian exploratory rig, which left for Scotland in mid January.

Both companies found traces of oil and gas in several wells, but the real promising commercial discovery was done at the Sea Lion prospect where Rockhopper estimates there are 500 million barrels of good light crude.

However, to undertake such a task, estimated in over two billion dollars, Rockhopper contracted Bank of America–Merrill Lynch to help find an investor that is interested in sharing such a promising potential.

All this with the background of the escalating conflict between London and Buenos Aires that, according to Argentine sources, makes the whole operation even more risky since there is “an ongoing unsolved sovereignty dispute, with ample support for Argentina from neighbouring countries.”

From Merco Press, Falkland Islands, Friday, January 20:

The British PM revealed that the National Security Council held a meeting devoted to the South Atlantic situation.

“What the Argentines have been saying recently, I would argue, is far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentines want them to do something else,” said PM Cameron.

Argentina’s government has been ramping up its rhetoric over the territories in recent months as the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands conflict approaches.

The Prime Minister was speaking 24 hours after the National Security Council (NSC) held a meeting devoted entirely to the situation in the South Atlantic territories, which are disputed by Argentina.

Cameron told Parliament he called the summit so he could make sure defenses and everything else is “in order.”

“I’m determined we should make sure that our defenses and everything else is in order, which is why the National Security Council discussed this issue yesterday.”

Further on, Cameron added: “It’s very important we commemorate the Falklands conflict in this year, the 30th anniversary, and we remember all those who served and who fought so hard and those who gave their lives and didn’t come home.

“The absolutely vital point is that we are clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the people themselves. As long as they want to remain part of the United Kingdom and be British, they should be able to do so.”

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell branded Argentina’s actions “wholly deplorable” and urged PM Cameron to “remind Argentina they lost the Falklands War and that it’s up to the Falklanders to determine their own future.”

Population of Falkland Islands in July 2008: 3,140, mostly of British stock.


One response to “The Falkland Island Dispute Flares Up Again: The Latest Bulletin

  1. Well, if there’s oil there, it’s the first time there’s been a hint of strategic interest in the place. Otherwise it’s just chest-thumping on both sides. Three thousand people is not enough to go to war for, or spend the resources on, that both sides seem willing to do. (Particularly three thousand people who are not being personally threatened with harm. They may not want to move, but how many people in how many countries move every year not because they want to but because they can’t live where they started out?)

    I don’t say that a bit of oil, or even a lot, is a good excuse for a war, but at least it’s real and not purely symbolic. Symbols are important, but one has to think carefully before sending other people out to die for them, or spending other people’s money to defend them.