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Friday, March 22 2019 @ 08:16 PM UTC

Martinelli - "There's Oil in the Darién"

Gold & Mining PANAMA (ACAN-EFE) - Panama's president Ricardo Martinelli said "there's oil" in the dense jungles of Panama's Darién province, and that he would promote the development of mining as well as the extraction and exploitation of other resources in the country while respecting the environment. Martinelli said "even though you won't believe it, I'm going to say something that I probably should not say, that in Panama there is oil in the area of the Darién. We are performing the studies and we have confirmed that the same underground petroleum resources being exploited in neighboring Colombia also exist in Panama." Martinelli spoke on this subject as part of his inaugural address at the opening of the Annual Conference of Business Executives, organized by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives. "Mining is important. It has a great future in Panama. There are many companies interested in investing in the country," added the president. He said his government will promote responsible mining and oil exploitation, so that they "pay dividends to the State, respecting the environment, and with an orderly development." Martinelli said next Friday he would visit a place, whose specific location he did not divulge, to see where people collect oil that comes up to the surface. "I have to see it with my own eyes," he said. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Again, same old story of unfulfilled hopes and promises. Back during the administration of Martin Torrijos there were several companies, specifically wildcat drillers from Texas among others, who actively sought permission and concessions to tap into the petroleum resources that actually do exist under Panamanian soil (on the mainland) as well as offshore. The geological studies were done a long time ago, and in fact the information has been updated with more precise and sophisticated technology recently. These companies got momentarily excited over the possibilities of being able to develop the exploitation of these petroleum reserves, and then the same old trick occurred. The hands came out, looking for bribes. I heard the same stories about how people wanted to charge as much as $10,000 just to get a meeting with a Minister or some important government person who supposedly had the clout and political power to get things done. Of course, all of the companies who were initially interested packed their bags and left. A few years ago I had a very long conversation with one of those Texas oilmen who explained to me in precise detail exactly what had happened, and why they were leaving. He predicted to me then that the exact same thing was going to happen with all of the refinery deals that were supposedly being put together, and of course he was right, they all fell apart, thanks to the cultural Panamanian need to try to suck money out of anyone who wants to invest in the country. One can only hope that Ricardo Martinelli is different. Panama already has the Canal which is being expanded to the point where it will generate $5 billion dollars in revenue every year. There is already at least one gold mine now on line and producing (Petaquilla), a huge copper deposit is about to be developed (Inmet), and if you add oil to the mix then of course all of that adds up to a much more prosperous future for the average Panamanian. It looks like it's all coming together for Panama, soon to be the richest country in Latin America.

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