Martinelli - "There's Oil in the Darién"
Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 02:20 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
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.