Top Oil and Gas Executives Had Major Presence at Bahrain Conference

On Sept. 25-28, top global oil and gas executives flocked to Bahrain for a conference titled, “Shaping the Future: Innovating Beyond Limits.”

The Conference started with a keynote address by Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain. He is currently the longest serving unelected Prime Minister in the world.

As I noted in an article published today, on TruthOut,

What began as a bright democratic uprising in Bahrain, a part of the famed Arab Spring, has transformed into the movement’s tragic sore, where human rights abuses continue every day.

Undeterred by this reality, top oil and natural gas corporate executives have swooped into this tiny Persian Gulf island state…

According to a conference press release, “Over 2,000 oil and gas professionals will converge at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre…[for the] 17th Society of Petroleum Engineers Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference….”

The conference’s executive committee included the likes of Halliburton, ExxonMobil and Shell, among numerous other fossil fuel industry powerhouses.

Bahrain, as many remember, is the bleeding wound of the famed Arab Spring, best covered by Al Jazeera English‘s documentary, “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark.”

The U.S. and its client, Saudi Arabia, were instrumental in quelling Bahrain’s uprising, which was a part of the broader Arab Spring. As I wrote in the article:

[T]he repression could not have happened without the help of Saudi Arabian troops. Saudi Arabia is a close US ally and holder of vast amounts of petroleum. In October 2010, the United States sold over $60 million worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration was silent on the whole affair.

I also noted in the article that Bahrain sits on a vast array of oil and natural gas:

Bahrain is home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and, according to US State Department figures, the small island produces 40,000 barrels of oil per day. A March article written by The Telegraph showed that Bahrain is aiming to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day by 2017.

In July, the Kuwait News Agency reported that Bahrain produces an average of approximately 1.3 million cubic feet of gas per day. That same article revealed that the Bahraini “government [had] recently signed a seven-year agreement with the US-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation for exploring gas in Bahrain, adding that drilling operations will begin soon.” The Occidental web site states that it hopes to produce 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2014.

Preceding the conference, the U.S. sold Bahrain $53 million worth of weapons, despite the fact that brutal human rights abuses take place, at the hands of Prince Khalifa, occur there on a daily basis, as meticulously documented by both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Put more frankly, the weapons are going to Bahrain because the ruling regime commits brutal human rights abuses on a daily basis, and thus, allows cheap oil and natural gas to keep flowing to the United States from Bahrain.

Of course, the U.S. propping up brutal dictatorships in exchange for easy access to oil is not an aberration — it is, instead, the central logic of U.S. foreign policy dating back to 1945. This is best documented by Hampshire College Professor Michael Klare, author of the books Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy and Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum.

Read the whole article, titled, “Top Oil and Gas Executives Had Major Presence at Bahrain Conference.”

For a good and timely interview on topic that aired today, see the Real News Network‘s interview with Michael Klare below:

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