Oil companies fight to carve up Libya


IT HAS not taken long for the hyenas of the giant oil companies to descend on Libya’s oil and gas resources intent on both carving up the country’s wealth while at the same time excluding their competitors.

First off the block was the Italian oil company ENI, which on Monday signed a memorandum with the NATO-backed National Transitional Council (NTC) to restart the natural gas pipeline from Libya to Italy.

The other oil companies, notably the French Total and the British BP, have up until now been a bit more cautious – they are acutely aware that despite all the NATO bombing, the struggle by forces loyal to Colonel Gadaffi and the Libyan revolution is far from over.

Following the Italian move they are now desperate to get a slice of the action.

Libya’s oil industry was nationalised by Gadaffi after the 1969 revolution which threw out the imperialist stooge, King Idris.

The Western oil companies were only allowed back into the country in 2003 and now they are scrambling to take full control of the industry with the backing of the NTC counter-revolutionaries.

Despite only producing two per cent of the world’s oil output, Libyan oil is highly prized for its exceptional quality which makes it extremely profitable for the oil companies.

The ‘rebel’ NTC has set up its own oil firm, OGACO, and its spokesman made it clear that the carve-up has already been agreed, the oil wealth of Libya will go directly to the imperialist nations who created them.

The NTC spokesman said: ‘We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil.’

All three countries abstained on the crucial vote at the United Nations which gave the go-ahead for the imperialist onslaught against the Libyan people.

The Russian and Chinese Stalinists, who wield a veto at the UN and could have stopped this onslaught had they chosen to, are clearly angry that their betrayal of the Libyan people and support for imperialist war is not reaping any material rewards in terms of oil.

A Chinese ministry spokesman attempted a conciliatory note at a recent press conference, saying: ‘We hope that after the return to stability in Libya, Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation with Libya.’

The Director General of the Russian-Libyan business council was more direct in his appraisal: ‘We have lost Libya completely, our companies will lose everything there because NATO will prevent them from doing their business in Libya.’

While the NTC accuse the Stalinist leaders of Russia and China of ‘hedging their bets’ over Libya, the fact remains that without their tacit support the NATO adventure could not have taken place, and their reward for this counter-revolutionary treachery is to be completely sidelined by the imperialists, who now hope to tear up all the existing oil contracts and grab the spoils for themselves.

This, after all, was one of the main reasons for them inspiring and leading the counter-revolution, alongside the need to create a new base for imperialism in the region to act as a bulwark against the Arab revolution.

Standing in the way of this imperialist carve-up is the continued and stubborn resistance of the Libyan people.

The way to support this fight against imperialist aggression and attempt to re-colonise Libya is to mobilise the trade unions in the imperialist countries in all-out strike action against their governments, to bring them down and replace them with workers governments that will go forward to socialism and put an end to imperialist warmongering for good.