Lobbyist group for American oil companies opposes Obamas sanctions on Libya

This is a TP cross-post.

Last week, CAP’s John Norris and Sarah Margon suggested that President Obama respond to the crisis in Libya by engaging Libyan business leaders to convince them that leader Muammar Qaddafi “is a liability they can no longer afford.”  Since Libya is Africa’s largest oil producing country, a good place to start would be the oil industry:

One doesn’t normally look to oil companies to do the right thing. But they now have an enormous vested interest in helping push Qaddafi out. Libya has Africa’s largest crude oil reserves and the uncertainty in that country has already started to rattle markets. If Qaddafi stays on his current course and remains Libya’s leader, there will invariably be calls for an oil embargo from Libya, a proper U.N. war crimes investigation, and possibly a civil war. The oil business will be disrupted for a considerable period under all of those scenarios.

However, it doesn’t seem that U.S. oil companies are eager to do the right thing. Earlier this week, the President announced that the U.S. would unilaterally impose sanctions on Libya because the continued violence there poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security. Mother Jones reports that the business coalition USA*Engage, which reportedly lobbies for oil giants ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, called that approach a “failed strategy.”

USA*Engage “” which has also called for the U.S. to remove the travel ban and trade embargo with Cuba “” feels that unilateral sanctions put U.S. business at a disadvantage. And even though the coalition called Qaddafi’s violent crackdown “profoundly depressing,” co-chair Bill Reinsch told Mother Jones that its partners, including Big Oil, play RealPolitik when operating abroad in countries like Libya:

“The reality is that the oil in all the nice countries has been exploited already, we can’t drill anymore in Norway,” Reinsch said. “I don’t detect any abiding affection for the Libyan government. In the [oil] business, you don’t have any choices.”

USA*Engage won’t officially disclose its membership and among large U.S. oil industry corporations, only Halliburton has confirmed that it is a member. Mother Jones notes that the group “has also made an effort to shield its powerful members from criticism,” which is perhaps why Reinsch tried to disuade Mother Jones from publishing the report. “I think it would be better for the story never to come out,” he said.

A TP cross-post.

9 Responses to Lobbyist group for American oil companies opposes Obamas sanctions on Libya

  1. Cinnamon Girl says:

    Okay, so USA*Engage accepts the Peak Oil idea, at least implicitly. They also appear to accept that we cannot drill our way domestically to oil-dependent independence from foreign sources. A tiny step forward would have them accepting the need to move entirely past dependence on oil as an energy source. Hey, give these guys a gold star for progressive thinking, har har.

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    What is required now?

    An air embargo, sustained by force and a task force briefed with taking out Kaddafi.

    Otherwise millions of people will seek refugee (as they do now) A humanitarian catastrophe in the making, unfolding as we speak.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change in the Arab World ( Part 1)

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change and the Arab World (part 2)

  5. George Ennis says:

    It’s bad enough that these companies helped make Americans addicted to oil. Now they want Americans to prostitute themselves before these tyrants in order to pay for their oil habit, even if that means compromising American democratic values.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sorry, comrades, but I must disagree. What is happening in Libya is not a popular uprising. It is a revolt fomented from outside, which has set out to exacerbate tribal differences to overthrow Gaddafi, or, at the least, split the oil-rich East from the rest of the country. Libya has the highest standard of living in Africa and the highest position on the UN Human Development Index in the continent. If I might be presumptuous, anyone who relies on the Western MSM for a honest accounting concerning state enemies of the West like Gaddafi, needs their head read. The Western MSM have behaved as usual, as they did regarding Saddam’s WMD for disastrous example, as a crude and bellicose propaganda outfit. A few minutes Googling reveals what is really behind this uprising, so reminiscent of that used to oust Aristide in Haiti in 2004. It is the US, seeking, as it has done remorselessly since 1945, to control the hydrocarbon resources of the planet. And the Libyans, cast into a brutal civil war and perhaps about to see their country split into two or more statelets, are the ‘collateral damage’.

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Mulga but the last 42 years this Libya is delivering oil, sorry if i do not know a lot about thtis country but i think this tells a lot.

  8. mobi says:

    It is taking a long time for the public to wake up against fossil fuel industry subversion of good governance.