Abbas Al-Morshid: The Shale Oil Lie

2022-04-13 - 5:51 p

In the most recent statement made by the son of the field marshal commander of the Bahrain Defense Force, the Minister of Oil in Bahrain, he stressed that no minerals and rocks of commercial value have ever been discovered in Bahrain and that he had referred the matter to the relevant authorities for further research and study. 

This statement comes to put an end to many years of continued lies of oil discoveries, including shale oil, which has occupied local public opinion and has been met with a lot of ridicule and pity. The statements of the current oil minister as well as the former minister Abdul Hussein Mirza in 2011 are contradicting and they deliberately conceal the real information from public opinion.

Lies are usually fabricated in obvious attempts to achieve benefits, escape punishment or cover a shameful incident, which is most likely how the regime in Bahrain behaves, as the familiar rule is that it lies to cover up a scandal or disgraceful actions, such as corruption or law breaking. The shale oil lie was not the only lie promoted by the king based on empty reports. Two years ago, the Crown Prince was active, making visits in Europe to secure investment deals with Italian companies for new oil discoveries in Bahrain. At that time, the official media machine made false news and loud promises about the upcoming discoveries and job opportunities the company will provide when it starts its work.

"At first when we started in 2018, we said 5 years, so we have to be ready by then," the current oil minister said during a virtual seminar hosted by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington in October 2021. 

Was the crown prince deceived by this oil economic project of his or was he the victim of information tampering at a time when he needed an economic push and to polish his shaky image in front of his father's uncle, and with his brother, Nasser bin Hamad's questionable behavior? Perhaps both possibilities are what really happened, which explains part of the package of successive decrees to enable Nasser Hamad, the king's son, in the oil sector, and his announcement of promising investments in the oil sector based on reliance on foreign advice and marginalization of national expertise. 

Major lies usually end in major scandals, a lesson that the government and Bahrain's ruling family have not yet learned. The lie of shale oil first collided with the Saudi decision, not allowing Bahrain to work on exploration.

It also clashed with the cost of production and the collapse of oil prices at the time, and now based on the words of the Oil Minister, none of the king and Crown Prince's promises are sincere. However, the story of oil in Bahrain is unfortunate and so is the story of the Abu Saafa oil field, as the truth of what happened in its agreement with Saudi Arabia was revealed and how it took control over it and its production, making Bahrain's share vulnerable to political blackmailing. According to the maritime border laws, Abu Saafa field is located on the Bahraini maritime border and there is no share of Saudi Arabia in it, but submission to Saudi Arabia and its recognition of its dependency imposed the signing of border agreements that removed Abu Safaa from Bahrain's borders and sovereignty.  The people of Bahrain will laugh at the family's claim in Bahrain to Zubara, which has become a fully sovereign territory of Qatar, and the government of Bahrain's silence on cutting off the largest oil field from its maritime borders is indeed a call for tragic laughter.

In the Minister of Oil's statements lie details of a conflict between brothers over oil wealth, which began with the attempts of Field Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed to appoint his son control over the oil sector and monopolize it as an alternative to political power. This desire faded in the face of the crown prince striving to control the economic power completely, as oil accounts for 80% of the budget of the government he heads. The conflict continued later when the king's spoiled son, Nasser, inserted himself in the wealth distribution discussion after the exposure of the shale oil lie and the lie of new explorations sponsored by the Crown Prince in order to issue successive decrees reshaping the power of the Oil Authority under the auspices of Nasser Hamad. 

Now, as oil prices increase, Nasser bin Hamad's share of oil wealth and the benefits he will gain from those returns will rise without going through any parliamentary control due to the independence of the Oil Authority from the Ministry of Oil, and therefore no effective oversight will take place over current oil revenues. 

Researcher and writer from Bahrain

Arabic Version

المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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