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Sunday, December 11

Yemen: The Plot Thickens. What are the USA and KSA up to?

Granted, both these reports are from FARS (part of the Iran state news agency FNA) but I think they deserve attention because the shit is set to hit the fan if there's any truth to them. If the gist of these news reports is true, this might explain Boris Johnson's seemingly suicidal public outburst last week about the Saudis. Maybe British government CYA? 

But then maybe Oil Patch people would tell me this entire situation is old news.  

Sun Dec 11, 2016 - 5:30 [local time]
Economic Expert Discloses US-Saudi Arabia Agreement on Yemen's Oil Reserves


TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior economic expert said Washington and Riyadh had bribed the former Yemeni government to refrain from oil drilling and exploration activities, adding that Yemen has more oil reserves than the entire Persian Gulf region.

"Saudi Arabia has signed a secret agreement with the US to prevent Yemen from utilizing its oil reserves over the past 30 years," Yemeni Economist Hassan Ali al-Sanaeri told FNA on Sunday.

"The scientific research and assessments conducted by international drilling companies show that Yemen's oil reserves are more than the combined reservers of all the Persian Gulf states," he added.

Al-Sanaeri added that Yemen has abundant oil reserves in Ma'rib, al-Jawf, Shabwah and Hadhramaut regions.

He noted that a series of secret documents by Wikileaks disclosed that the Riyadh government had set up a committee presided by former Saudi Defense Minister Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz. "Former Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and the kingdom's intelligence chief were also the committee's members."

Al-Sanaeri went on to say that Saudi Arabia has tasked the committee to implement the project to dig a canal from Saudi Arabia to the Arab Sea via Hadhramaut in order to become needless [sic] of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab straits.

He reiterated that new oil reserves have been discovered in Yemen's al-Jawf province which can make Yemen one of the biggest oil exporters in the region and the world.

Some sources have said that the Yemeni tribal leaders who have Saudi nationality have blocked oil explorations in different areas of al-Jawf province.

The Yemeni expert said that al-Jawf province can become Yemen's economic hub due to having the largest oil and gas reserves and also its fertile agricultural lands.

Al-Sanaeri said that al-Jawf province enjoys a unique status as it neighbors two oil-rich regions of Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Ma'rib province.

On January 8 2013, the Sky News channel reported that Yemen has 34 percent of the world's oil reserves and al-Jawf province has most of the country's oil reserves.

Earlier on Sunday, a senior commander of Yemeni popular committees warned that the Saudi-US coalition has hatched plots to take control of the oil-rich regions in the Western coasts of Yemen.

"The US seeks to take control of the countries' [sic] wealth and capacities under the pretext of fighting against terrorism and protecting the international maritime activities," Abdullah Hassan al-Qora told FNA.

He said that intelligence authorities have gained information saying that the Saudi-US coalition is transferring the US and Israel-made warfare equipment and their mercenaries from other Yemeni provinces to the Western parts of the war-ravaged country.

"The Saudi-US coalition is seeking to increase military attacks against the Western coasts of Yemen in addition to sending fresh forces to those areas to disintegrate the country and take control of its oil and gas resources," al-Qora said.

In relevant remarks in early April, a political analyst and researcher said the US-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen is neither about the longstanding sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, nor about the much-discussed military campaign aimed against al-Qaeda in the region.

"While Western media outlets usually refer to Yemen as a small energy producer, the truth of the matter is the country is sitting on substantial oil and gas reserves, which Saudi Arabia and its allies want to control," the Russian news agency Sputnik quoted US political analyst Phil Butler as saying [in April 2016].

He noted that in addition, Yemen lies at the Bab al-Mandab, a key checkpoint for maritime transit of oil, with 3.4 million barrels of oil passing through it each day.

In one of his previous analytical reports for New Eastern Outlook, Phil Butler called attention to the fact that Saudi Arabia's oil wealth is doomed to falter.  [Pundita note: Near Eastern Outlook is a Russian website, although I don't know whether it's actually backed by the Russian government]

"Given the nature of the country's (Saudi Arabia's) oil reserves, and almost unlimited production for decades, it's possible the Saudis could simply be running out of gas," the American analyst stressed.

In this context, it is hardly surprising that Riyadh has recently adopted an assertive and even aggressive foreign policy approach towards its neighbors. "Running out of the last of the nation's only saleable resource, the Saudi royalty has put their country into a mess, the potential for revolution there being acute, should the people discover the real predicament. 

This is why we see an 'all in' Saudi aggressive stance, on Syria, with Iran, and especially where Yemen is concerned. While Washington think tank evangelists try and play the tensions off as Sunni-Shiite religious friction, new oil reserves are the truth of these matters," Butler wrote.

To illustrate his point, the analyst referred to the 2013 Offshore-mag.com report entitled 'Saudi Arabia dramatically increases rig count, accelerates offshore development.'

"Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi, said that the kingdom would not increase production capacity beyond 12.5 MMb/d for the next 30 years in contrast to earlier calls to increase output to 15 MMb/d to meet global demand. Simultaneously, however, Saudi Arabia has massively increased the total number of drilling rigs in recent months; this year, the total number of rigs is set to hit a record of 170, nearly double the 88 rigs in October 2012," the report stated adding that Riyadh was also exploring and developing "more costly offshore fields."

If Riyadh was not planning to increase its production capacity, why did it rush to install new rigs, especially offshore ones, which are 7 times more costly to run, Butler asks. The analyst believes that Saudi Arabia has been lying for decades about its actual oil capacity. To stay on top, Riyadh has to maintain control over oil reserves beyond its borders, particularly in Yemen. The Western establishment is assisting Saudi Arabia, and with "reason": in November 2005 the Republic of Yemen expropriated its oil basins — the Ma'rib al-Jawf Block — from Hunt Oil Company and ExxonMobil affiliates. "And big oil hates countries taking back their resources," Butler remarked.

The analyst pointed to the fact that the Obama administration has long been aware of Yemen's substantial gas capacity. He quotes Ambassador Stephen A. Seche's 2008 secret cable, published by Wikileaks, which reads "that the governorates of Shabwah, Ma'rib and al-Jawf have high potential for significant gas deposits."

As for oil, according to the detailed 2002 United States Geological Survey (USGS), Yemen possesses vast offshore oil reservoirs in addition to its 3 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, the analyst underscores. That is why neither the Obama administration, nor European governments are rushing to help the Yemenis being bombed and shelled by Riyadh: all of them have their own vested interests in the Middle East.

[END REPORT]

All right; here's volley #2:

Sun Dec 11, 2016 - 12:30 [local time]
Commander Warns of Saudi-US Coalition's Plot to Control Yemen's Oil-Rich Regions

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of Yemeni popular committees [Pundita: do they mean the  Houthis?] warned that the Saudi-US coalition has hatched plots to take control of the oil-rich regions in the Western coasts of Yemen.

"The US seeks to take control of the countries' [sic] wealth and capacities under the pretext of fighting against terrorism and protecting the international maritime activities," Abdullah Hassan al-Qora told FNA on Sunday.

He said that intelligence authorities have gained information saying that the Saudi-US coalition is transferring the US and Israel-made warfare equipment and their mercenaries from other Yemeni provinces to the Western parts of the war-ravaged country.

"The Saudi-US coalition is seeking to increase military attacks against the Western coasts of Yemen in addition to sending fresh forces to those areas to disintegrate the country and take control of its oil and gas resources," al-Qora said.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 12,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

[END REPORT]

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