Pop quiz. Do you know what country exports the most refined petroleum of any country in the world? Take a guess. The US? Nope, we're 5th. Russia? Nope, 2nd.
Did you guess the Netherlands? Because surprisingly that is the actual answer:
Second question, what country gets the largest portion of Russia's exports? Take a guess. China? Nope. Iran? Try again.
Again, very surprisingly (at least to me), it's the Netherlands, and it's all oil that needs refining:
So maybe the Russia/EU rivalry is not quite as hot as it seems going by the MSM? Maybe it is a bit for show and the two are quite dependent on each other?
However, The Netherlands is smart enough to diversify their income streams. Their economy is not too dependent on the single export of refined petroleum.
Here's a treemap showing all their exports proportionally:
As you can see, it's pretty diversified. However, you know what country isn't diversified? Chad. Let's look at Chad.
Here's the same treemap of Chad's exports:
Looks a bit different, doesn't it? Eggs in one basket much? So the price of unrefined oil essentially determines Chad's GDP for that year. Well at least the exports, which make up 37% of the GDP. Great.
Now, guess who owns the equipment to do all this oil extraction? If you read the title, I'm hoping you're guessing Exxon, and you'd be right. 75% of the infrastructure to extract oil from Chad is owned by Exxon, and the other 25% was owned by Chevron, who sold it to the Chadian Government for $1.3 Billion dollars. In 2014.
Where did the Government of Chad get the money for that?! Why they got a huge loan, of course. Who did they get a loan from? Why none other than Glencore, the 14th largest company in the world, who also does extraction of oil and coal, as well as copper and zinc and already has some oil operations in southern Chad. What a coincidence. /s
Meanwhile through all of this, the GDP of Chad has increased from $1.3 Billion in 2001 to $11 Billion in 2015. Almost 10x in just 20 years. Pretty good!
Guess what the revenue of Exxon and Glencore was in 2015, for comparison? More or less than Chad? Exxon had revenue of $218 Billion, and Glencore had revenue of $152 Billion. That's the yearly equivalent of 20 Chads and 14 Chads, respectively.
You've heard of "company towns", where the town is basically owned by one company? Well this is a "company nation" and it's far from the only one.
So really what we are seeing in 2014 is Chevron effectively selling their 25% ownership of Chad to Glencore, and doing it through the Chadian government in a way so they're on the hook for over a billion dollars of additional debt. Debt slavery, but on a national scale, to a whole government. They're also contractually required to pay it off in just 4 years! I don't think they're going to make that payment schedule, which would end in 2018. I wonder what Glencore will demand in return for missed payments. What laws they will have the Chadian government make for them, in return for extending their debt deadlines.
Now on top of all this, in the most recent twist, as of November 2016 the Chadian Government is now suing Exxon for $74 Billion. That is 5x the GDP of Chad.
The government are in a sense biting the hand that feeds them, with Exxon being responsible for essentially 75% of Chad's GDP. Exxon is unlikely to pay, because even though their insanely huge profit for 2015 (not revenue, but income profit) was a staggering $16 Billion dollars, that is still dwarfed by a $74 Billion lawsuit.
Will Chad settle for less than $74 Billion? Is this just a money grab and they won't actually hold Exxon's feet to the fire, and they just want a cut and will settle for a few hundred million? Perhaps. They do have that Glencore debt coming due in 2018, and the lawsuit may be their way to try and get money to pay that debt. A Hail Mary pass for sure.
If they don't back down and neither does Exxon, will the Chadian government use the military and exile Exxon and take over the equipment when Exxon refuses to pay? Or going even more deeply, is this lawsuit perhaps essentially Glencore kicking out Exxon, to gain control of the Chadian market? It would be great to find information on who funded and created the lawsuit, but it seems this information is hard to come by.
This is where the story stands for now. I've searched, and there seems to be a moratorium of news about this since the announcement of the lawsuit 6 months ago. The last I saw, Exxon was "in talks" with the Government of Chad. We will have to wait and see what happens next, but it's clear there's a strong division forming between Exxon and the Government of Chad, possibly being pushed by Glencore.
It seems that Chad is merely a plaything in games played by companies that are 10x bigger than countries. Reminds me of the British East India company, and how they essentially owned India for 100 years before the British Government actually stepped in and took ownership. But this is happening in 2017, and it's about oil.
This is called petro-imperialism. People often think of imperialism in the case of a nation conquering another nation with their army, but it also happens with companies. Companies that are even financially larger than nations, who hire mercenaries to defend their oil equipment and take over governments.
Ever wonder why they don't teach this in school?