As is known, the Nobel Peace Prize 2016 has been awarded to Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos. Admittedly, he has a long record as defense secretary, and now president, in a country that has murdered more union leaders than most others, but of course the Norwegian Nobel Committee never paid much attention to such details anyway.
The peace treaty, for which Santos purportedly recieved the Nobel Prize, was scrapped in referendum, and the Nobel Committee chose to ignore the other party to the proceedings, namely the FARC-guerillas. This is actually somewhat peculiar even by Nobel Committee standards. A Spanish commenter was so impolite as to imply that it may indeed have been different reasons for the award. Seemingly, not everyone in the world is aware that arms exporter and oil profiteer Norway is a super power of peace and humanism. They think we have dubious motives.
The article points to the fact that not only is the leader of the Nobel Committee, Kaci Kullmann Five, a multiple director, but is also a former vice chairperson of the board in Statoil. Admittedly, Statoil is actually quite interesting when it comes to Colombia. The company is a big investor in the country, owning 33.3% of the COL4 project in the Carribean Sea. Statoil also has a 10% share in the Tayrona field and 20% in Guajira Offshore, according to the company’s website.
Colombia has seen a dramatic increase in oil, natural gas, and coal production since the implementation of a series of regulatory reforms in 2003, according to EIA. The country is the third largest energy producer in Latin-America, and the seventh largest crude oil exporter to the US. EIA further reports:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Colombia consumed 1.545 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2012. Oil consumption constituted 40%, followed by hydroelectricity, natural gas, and coal. The country relies on hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs and uses very little coal domestically. Of the 94.2 million short tons (MMst) of coal produced, Colombia exported 87% in 2013. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has grown, rising by more than 54% in the past decade.
But fact is, the guerilla war has been a major drag on the oil and gas production, not to mention the pipelines. Thus, the peace treaty, if agreed on, could become a gilt-edged piece of paper for Statoil. A few bottles of champagne was probably popped at Norges Bank Investment Management as well. The Government Pension Fund Global has 2 billion NOK invested in Colombian companies and 9.6 billion NOK in interest-bearing securities.
The dominating company in Colombian oil industry is the partially privatized “state company” Ecopetrol, 80% owned by the Colombian state. The company is a giant, and is ranked number 346 on Fortune 500. And it is the president, that be the Prize winner Santos, who appoints all board members and in reality decides which companies will be granted a production license.
Is that a fishy smell from the Nobel Prize? Only to unreasonable foreigners who cannot fathom that the Norwegian Nobel Committee only acts in the interest of good, like rewarding regimes that murder union leaders.
Translation Achsel Ford