We don’t really like to talk about big oil and gas directly on the Solar Blog. We’re interested in renewable energy, green energy, clean tech and how that all ties in to efficient home heating systems. Our opinion is that oil and gas are slowly but surely edging their way off centre stage, and that there’s just no need to go around shouting about it too loudly. However, every now and again news breaks that’s just too juicy to ignore. That’s the case today, with an ongoing story involving corruption, bribery, thousands of leaked emails, shadow companies, secret meetings and billion dollar agreements. Throw in some giant companies like Rolls-Royce, Samsung and Halliburton and it’s just too much for me to resist.
Corruption and bribery the world over
The core of the allegations made by Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post are as follows; a Monaco company named Unaoil “carved up portions of the Middle East oil industry for the benefit of western companies between 2002 and 2012,” securing billion dollar government contracts directly as a result of bribery. Backing up these claims are hundreds of thousands of leaked emails and documents from the Ahsani family, who operate Unaoil. Essentially, it is claimed, Unaoil operate by bribing officials in developing or unstable oil producing countries on behalf on giant NGOs in order to secure drilling rights. Take the situation in Iraq:
Between 2004 and 2012, Unaoil corruptly influenced a Who’s Who of the country’s oil industry: the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq turned education minister Hussain al-Shahristani; Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi (who was replaced in 2014); the Director General of the South Oil Company, Dhia Jaffar al-Mousawi, who in 2015 became a deputy minister; and top oil official Oday al-Quraishi.
It’s a similar story practically right throughout the Middle East, with similar allegations of corruption based in Iran, Syria, the UAE, Libya, Kuwait and Yemen.
What’s next for Big Oil?
Unsurprisingly, as this story develops there has been a series of denials made by the NGOs involved. Despite some rather damning email leaks, Unaoil has claimed that everything they do is above board, while many of the companies implicated have denied any willing involvement in bribery and have started their own internal investigation of Unaoil. Looking a little farther down the road, could there be prosecutions resulting from these leaked emails? Might we see a tightening or changing of regulations in some way, shape or form? At this point it remains to be seen. Scandals tend to either pick up steam and attention or disappear entirely when the next big story breaks. It’s not a good day for the big oil giants of the world, however, and from a green and clean tech perspective, that’s got to be a good thing.