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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

25 February 2006

Welcome, Mauritania

On Friday, Mauritania became Africa’s latest oil producer as it pumped oil from its offshore Chinguetti field. The expectation is that the country could produce 300,000 barrels a day within three to four years. The last country to pump oil out of the ground in Africa was Chad, and the problems it faces are well chronicled. Mauritania, which experienced a bloodless coup in September, is already facing some difficulties which emerge from the fact that the energy minister which negotiated the contract with Woodside Petroleum and the other foreign companies (and who belonged to the pre-coup government) is held under corruption charges. The government has indicated that it wants to revisit some amendments to the contract, though it maintains that the core of the agreement remains intact. That may be true. But I don’t think I am too much of a pessimist to think that we may be hearing some bad news coming from Mauritania some time soon.

“Mauritania becomes Africa’s newest oil producer,” Reuters South Africa, 25 Feb 06 (link); “What’s news: Mauritania,” Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, 13 Feb 06; “Mauritania Loses Some Of Its Hot Spot Luster,” Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, 23 Jan 06



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