May 18, 2010 — Dean Henderson
In 1872 British Baron Julius du Reuter was granted an exclusive 50-year mining and communications concession in Persia by that country’s Peacock Throne monarchy. By 1921 the British government had installed Shah Mohammed Reza Khan in a palace coup. With their puppet in place, du Reuter’s firm, one of the British Empire’s most important tentacles, busied itself exploiting the rich oil reserves of Iran.
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company grew swiftly, first changing its name to Anglo-Iranian Oil, and later becoming British Petroleum (BP). During the last two decades of the 20th century BP speeded its global expansion, absorbing Britoil and Standard Oil of Ohio during the 1980’s, then swallowing up Amoco and Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) in the late 1990’s.
In 1991 Russia earned $13 billion in hard currency from oil exports. In 1992 IMF puppet Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia’s world leading 9.2 billion barrel/day oil sector would be privatized. Sixty percent of Russia’s Siberian reserves had never been tapped. In 1993 the World Bank announced a $610 billion loan to modernize Russia’s oil industry, by far the largest loan in the bank’s history. World Bank subsidiary International Finance Corporation bought stock in several Russian oil companies and made an additional loan to the Bronfman family’s Conoco for its purchase of Siberian Polar Lights Company.
The main vehicle for international banker control over Russian oil would be Lukoil, initially 20%-owned by BP and Credit Suisse First Boston. A handful of Zionist Russian oligarchs with Israeli passports, collectively known as the Russian Mafia, owned the rest of Lukoil, which partnered with the Four Horsemen in oil and gas developments throughout the country involving staggering amounts of capital.
These included Sakhalin I, a $15 billion Exxon Mobil venture, and Sakhalin II, a $10 billion deal led by Royal Dutch/Shell, which includes Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Marathon Oil as partners. Siberian developments were even larger. RD/Shell was a 24.5% partner in Uganskneftegasin, which controlled a huge Siberian natural gas field. At Priobskoye, BP Amoco operated a $53 billion project, while at Timan Pechora on the Arctic Ocean a consortium made up of Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, BP Amoco and the Norwegian Norsk Hydo ran a $48 billion venture.
In November 2001 Exxon Mobil announced plans to invest another $12 billion in an oil and gas project in the Russian Far East, while RD/Shell announced an additional $8.5 billion investment in its Sakhalin Islands concessions. BP Amoco made similar proclamations. In 1994 Lukoil pumped 416 million barrels of oil making it fourth largest producer in the world after RD/Shell, Exxon Mobil and its majority-owner BP Amoco. Its 15 billion barrels in crude reserves rank second in the world to only Royal Dutch/ Shell. Lukoil also owns 26% of the strategic Russian Black Sea port at Novorrossiysk.
The Soviet Caucasus, with encouragement from western intelligence, soon split from Russia. The map of Central Asia was re-written as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Georgia declared their independence. Oil industry privatizations were quickly announced in these new Central Asian Republics, which border the vast Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves. Already in 1991, Chevron was holding talks with Kazakhstan.
The Central Asian Republics quickly became the largest recipients of USAID aid, as well as ExIm Bank, OPIC and CCC loans. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan were especially favored, since these countries, along with Iran and Russia, comprise the shoreline of the Caspian Sea. The Free Trade Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce sent officials to train Kazakhs in the finer arts of global capitalism. The Four Horsemen moved in swiftly, with Chevron Texaco laying claim to the biggest prize, the $20 billion Tenghiz oilfield, along with one at Korolev. Exxon Mobil signed a deal to develop an offshore concession in the Caspian. Tengizchevroil came to be 45%-owned by Chevron Texaco and 25%-owned by Exxon Mobil. Bush the Lesser NSA and later Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, an expert on Central Asia, sat on the board at Chevron, alongside former Reagan Secretary of State and Bechtel insider George Schultz, from 1989-92. Condie later had a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
Across the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan was receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid. BP Amoco led a consortium of seven oil giants who spent an initial $8 billion to develop three concessions off the coast of the Azerbaijani capital Baku, which had been the base camp of Big Oil in the region before the Bolsheviks overran it in 1917. BP Amoco and Pennzoil (now part of Royal Dutch/Shell) took control of the Azerbaijan Oil Company, whose board of directors included former Bush Sr. Secretary of State James Baker.
In 1991 Air America super spook Richard Secord showed up in Baku under the cover of MEGA Oil. Secord & Co. did military training, sold Israeli arms, passed “brown bags filled with cash” and shipped in over 2,000 Islamist mercenaries from Afghanistan with help from Taliban supporter Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Afghan heroin began flooding through Baku. Russian economist Alexandre Datskevitch said that of 184 heroin labs police discovered in Moscow in 1991, “Every one of them was run by Azeris, who use the proceeds to buy arms for Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
A Turkish intelligence source claims that Exxon and Mobil were behind the 1993 coup against elected President Abulfaz Elchibey. Secord’s Islamists helped, while Osama bin Laden set up an NGO in Baku as a base for attacking the Russians in Chechnya and Dagestan. A more pliant Azeri President Heidar Aliyev was installed and by 1996, at the behest of Amoco’s president, he was invited to the White House to meet President Clinton, whose NSA Sandy Berger held $90,000 worth of Amoco (now BP) stock.
In 2003 the Defense Department proposed a $3.8 million military training grant for Azerbaijan as part of the war on terror. Later they admitted it was to protect US access to oil. As author Michael Klare put it, “Slowly but surely, the US military is being converted into a global oil-protection service”.
With the Four Horsemen firmly in charge of Caspian Sea reserves, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium was born. Chevron Texaco took a 15% stake with the other three Horsemen and BP-controlled Lukoil splitting the rest. The Caspian pipeline was built by Bechtel in partnership with GE and Willbros Group. The pipeline quietly began moving oil and gas in November 2001, just two months after 911.
The Bush Administration then even more quietly planned a series of additional Caspian Sea pipelines to compliment the Tenghiz-Black Sea route. A Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline was built by a Four Horsemen consortium led by BP Amoco. The law firm representing the BP consortium was James Baker’s family law firm, Baker Botts. The BP Amoco pipeline runs the length of the country of Georgia through its capital Tblisi.
In February 2002, the US sent 200 military advisors and attack helicopters to Georgia to “root our terrorism”. Rather ironic since in September 2002 Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivaniov accused Georgia, a staunch US ally, of harboring Chechen rebels. In October 2003 Georgian President Eduard Schevardnadze was forced to step down in a bloodless revolution. According to a December 11, 2003 article on the World Socialist Party website, the CIA backed the coup-plotters.
In September 2004 hundreds of Russian school children were killed when Chechen separatists seized their school building. Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the incident, “Certain political circles in the West want to weaken Russia, just like the Romans wanted to weaken Carthage.” He accused “foreign intelligence services” of complicity in the attacks. His advisor Aslanbek Aslakhanov went further, stating on Russian Channel 2 news, “The men had their conversations not within Russia, but with other countries. They were led on a leash. Our self-styled friends have been working for several decades to dismember Russia… (they are the) puppeteers and are financing terror.” Russia’s KM News ran the headline, “School Seizure was Planned in Washington and London”.
The BP-controlled Lukoil epitomizes the corruption so rampant in Russia since the Soviet collapse. Bribery is a regular feature of Lukoil deals. The company has given luxury jets to the mayor of Moscow, the head of Gazprom (the state-owned natural gas monopoly) and Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev.
According to Kurt Wulff of the oil investment firm McDep Associates, the Four Horsemen, romping in their new Far East pastures, saw asset increases from 1988-94 as follows: Exxon Mobil-54%, Chevron Texaco-74%, Royal Dutch/Shell-52% and BP Amoco-54%. The Four Horsemen more than doubled their collective assets in six years while Russia was plunged into two decades of poverty.
About the author:
Dean Henderson was born in Faulkton, South Dakota. He earned an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where he edited The Missoula Paper and was a columnist for the Montana Kaimin. His articles have appeared in Multinational Monitor, In These Times, Paranoia and several other magazines.
A life long political activist and traveler to fifty countries, Henderson co-founded of the University of Montana Green Party and the Ozark Heritage Region Peace and Justice Network. He is former Vice-President of the Central Ozarks Farmer’s Union and former President of the Howell County Democrats.
In 2004 he won the Democratic nomination for Congress in Missouri’s 8th District.
Dean’s Books Available in print and e-book formats:
Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf…
The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries
Dean Henderson is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network and The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries.
His Left Hook blog is at http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/category/left-hook-columns/
Dean Henderson is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Dean Henderson: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=listByAuthor&authorFirst=Dean&authorName=Henderson