Drilling to start in the Falkland Islands, Argentina not impressed
March 9, 2008 8:03 AM   Subscribe

The Great Falkland Islands Oil Boom The inhabitants of the Falkland Islands are preparing for a South Atlantic oil rush which they hope will make them among the richest people in the world. After 10 years of frustrating delays since oil fields containing up to 60 billion barrels of "black gold" were discovered off the islands, oil companies are planning to start drilling within the next 12 months. It may also go down as the catalyst for the "Second Falklands Island War".
posted by Coop (35 comments total)
 
A second Falklands Island War? What a profoundly stupid idea.
posted by geekhorde at 8:30 AM on March 9, 2008


"We're talking about amounts of money that we have not been familiar with previously. But we're islanders. We tend to be pretty phlegmatic."

That's a word I need to add to my vocabulary.
posted by F Mackenzie at 8:37 AM on March 9, 2008


We need those islands for strategic sheep purposes!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:05 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hopefully they'll take a lesson from another island which ran into riches in the form of natural resources...and squandered it utterly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:23 AM on March 9, 2008


Hopefully they'll take a lesson from another island which ran into riches in the form of natural resources...and squandered it utterly.

Another island which ran into riches in the form of natural resources...and squandered it utterly
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 AM on March 9, 2008


Sorry, I think the crown for "island which ran into riches in the form of natural resources and squandered it utterly" has to go to Easter Island.
posted by Flunkie at 9:49 AM on March 9, 2008


Another island which ran into riches in the form of natural resources...and squandered it utterly

Oh, don't worry, half of them have moved to northern Alberta.
posted by oaf at 10:00 AM on March 9, 2008


It's just a rumor that was spread around town.
posted by Abiezer at 10:12 AM on March 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


Oh, don't worry, half of them have moved to northern Alberta.

It's a pretty fascinating phenomenon (Newfounders and Labradorians moving or commuting to Fort Mac in Alberta to work in the oil patch).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:20 AM on March 9, 2008


A second Falklands Island War? What a profoundly stupid idea.

Assuming Argentina makes a more serious effort this time, a second Falklands war will probably be called the Malvinas Liberation War, or something similarly unclever.
posted by three blind mice at 10:26 AM on March 9, 2008


I think Argentina learned its lesson the first time. Anyway, democracies tend not to fight each other.
posted by Dasein at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2008


I think Argentina learned its lesson the first time.
Spectacularly unlikely as it is, I would suspect that the British armed forces are in no condition to fight a third war at the moment.
posted by Luddite at 11:55 AM on March 9, 2008


Yet another good candidate for answer to the question 'what was Tony Blair really doing with that poodle act?'
posted by jamjam at 11:59 AM on March 9, 2008


I would suspect that the British armed forces are in no condition to fight a third war at the moment.

If they've got any submarines available, that's enough to keep Argentina from doing anything useful with the Falklands until Britain can muster enough forces to retake them.
posted by oaf at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2008


It'd be nice if we could share the oil with Argentina.
Not that we will.
posted by seanyboy at 4:52 PM on March 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think Nauru beats Easter Island.
posted by seanyboy at 4:53 PM on March 9, 2008


seanyboy - or put the proceeds into a trust for the Antarctic refuge. I will now put down the crack pipe.
posted by Abiezer at 4:59 PM on March 9, 2008


Spectacularly unlikely as it is, I would suspect that the British armed forces are in no condition to fight a third war at the moment.

Britain only has around 11,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are over 38,000 men and women serving in the British Army today. I think they could handle it.
posted by boubelium at 5:11 PM on March 9, 2008


I think Nauru beats Easter Island.

I don't. It is kind of out of context here though, I have to admit..
posted by Chuckles at 6:34 PM on March 9, 2008


Heh - I worked for a company that provided geology services back in the Falklands oil boom mark one.

I dodged having to go there (no support from anyone in South America so the whole thing was run from the UK which meant flights from an RAF base to Ascension Island, from AI to Stanley and a chopper from there).

A logistical nightmare, and the whole thing ended up in a big "Heh".
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:37 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The idea that humans cut down all the tres on Easter Island leading to a catastrophic and violent population collapse accompanied by frenzied sculptural monumentality is not supported by archaeological data, regardless of what Jared Diamond may like us to believe. Rather, humans arrived (with rats, crop plants, domestic animals, etc) about 1200 AD. The rats quickly deforested much of the island by eating the palm seeds, but the people adapted and achieved a stable population of about 3,000 (not the 15,000 claimed by Diamond). Catastrophic depopulation happened after European contact in much the usual sort of way: epidemics, slavery and outright murder. Many now see the reputed suicide-by-ecocide myth of the Easter Islanders as effectively (a) a convenient yet utterly immoral means to blame a people for their genocide by others and (b) a myth in the form of a cautionary tale, telling us more about western society's angst in the current self-made ecological crisis than about the many centuries long, stable, occupation of Rapa Nui . They did alter the environment substantially, partially acidentally via rats, but not to an unstable state, or not any more unstable state than any other agricultural society. References 1 2 3
posted by Rumple at 6:47 PM on March 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, I would like to add that the Falkland Islands have one of the silliest flags ever.

posted by boubelium at 7:33 PM on March 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Three references to one scientist's position.. Hunt's article sends up a lot of warning flags -- weasel words like "These prolific rodents may have been the primary cause". Also all the strong assurances that his prelimenary bias was opposite to his conclusions (well, not really conclusions if he is still saying "may"). At least four times he points out his preliminary biases and his disappointment..

Not to completely discount Hunt's theory, but the categorical tone of your statement is unsupported by the evidence you've presented. I mean, there are moderately credible voices who attribute the collapse of cod stocks to the harp seal, so..
posted by Chuckles at 9:00 PM on March 9, 2008


Ooops, forgot to include a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Easter_Island#Section_about_Hunt_contradicting_Diamond. It raises some other questions about Hunt's work. Admittedly, without references, and there are no criticisms of Hunt's theory leaping to the top of google results either. This throw away article in the Independent suggests that other researchers are sticking buy their earlier conclusions about the date of first human occupation though..
posted by Chuckles at 9:05 PM on March 9, 2008


Argh!! wiki talk page on Easter Island again.
posted by Chuckles at 9:06 PM on March 9, 2008


Hunt's paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science, a frontline peer reviewed journal, is more convincing to me than the main wiki dissenter, who appears to be into ornithology. But quite right in archaeology things are not usually so simply settled.

It's not just Hunt though -- Hunt did the dates analysis, but if you read the JAS you will see there is strong corroborative evidence from palaeobotany and sedimentology for a late arrival of humans, and the various patterns he either documents or reconstructs are also found on other Pacific islands where causality is better understood (e.g., the islets off Hawaii).

I have some hesitation about the very aggressive methods Hunt took to eliminate unreliable dates, but it is a fact that recent advances in c14 dating have tended to overturn a fair number of established chronologies. A two-date per component standard is fine now, but in the past there may not have been enough organic material or money for such a practice. Also, eliminating marine-origin dates is very aggressive since conservative corrections can be applied for the marine reservoir effect and it would be. Also, as archipelagos such as Hawaii show, people in some cases had a long period of reconnaissance of Pacific Islands before actually moving in, so to speak -- in the case of Hawaii, it was discovered 2-400 years before there are any archaeological sites beyond very transient seasonal camps.. So, Easter Island could have been discovered and rats could have escaped several hundred years before there is a significant archaeological record. However, at the present I don't believe there is any evidence for this.

Certainly there are some examples of Polynesians degrading their environment, making their islands nearly uninhabitable, and having to leave them -- Pitcairn and Henderson Islands, for example, which were abandoned by Polynesians before the Bligh mutineers arrived. But Diamond's version of the story, which is based on his reading of secondary sources (especially the Bahn and Flenley popular books), and which (as Ive noted before around here at various times) is always a little suspect since he prefers telling stories with grand narratives than writing histories, Diamond's version is not really supported by the most recent evidence. Bahn, while holding a PhD in archaeology (in European rock art, it should be noted) is basically a science journalist now. Flenley is well regarded, but he has a dog in the fight since it is his interpretation that is being challenged, and also, it must be said, he is a biogeographer by training and not an archaeologist.
posted by Rumple at 9:55 PM on March 9, 2008


You can bet the UK would win the war a second time.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 PM on March 9, 2008


I wouldn't make that bet, not if it was a question of retaking them anyway. Getting the means to do it down there (almost) thirty years ago was tough enough, and the navy has been downsized considerably since then.
posted by vbfg at 3:35 AM on March 10, 2008


Just send in Prince Harry! He'll be able to see off the whole Argy army on his own, Rambo-style... (Possibly with Maggie on hand to pass the ammunition)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:08 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I beleive she's gone into hospital to be recommisioned, and will be returning with the iron-plated exoskeleton she war into battle during the last Falklands war.
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on March 10, 2008


Does anybody seriously think that the US could stay out of a second Falkland war? They would talk about Argentina being linked to Hugo Chavez and FARC terrorists and start bombing straight away.
posted by Megafly at 2:53 PM on March 10, 2008


I'm not really certain that the special relationship cuts both ways like that...
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on March 10, 2008


Actually, the US was involved in the first Falklands War in a subtle support role. For instance, We provided air cover while the British Fleet crossed the Atlantic. If another conflict broke out (which is highly unlikely) I am sure the US would play a similar role.
posted by boubelium at 4:21 PM on March 10, 2008


Does anybody seriously think that the US could stay out of a second Falkland war? They would talk about Argentina being linked to Hugo Chavez and FARC terrorists and start bombing straight away.

Be nice to see them being drawn into one of our wars for a change... Seriously though, if the soverign country of a NATO member is invaded does anyone seriously think that other members shouldn't help? Virtually the entire populations of the Falklands wants to stay British...
posted by prentiz at 2:22 AM on March 11, 2008


Is there actually any "virtually" to it?
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on March 11, 2008


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