Oil in Haiti, by Dr. Georges Michel , webzinemaker.com, March 27, 2004 [This English translation is an HLLN courtersy for our English speakers. Please refer to the French Original.]
Since time immemorial, it has been no secret that deep in the earthy bowels of the two states that share the island of Haiti and the surrounding waters that there are significant, still untapped deposits of oil. One knows not why they are still untapped.
Since the early twentieth century, the physical and political map of the island of Haiti, erected in 1908 by Messrs. Alexander Poujol and Henry Thomasset, reported a major oil reservoir in Haiti near the source of the Rio Todo El Mondo, Tributary Right Artibonite River, better known today as the River Thomonde. (Perhaps the word Thomonde is derived from de Todo El Mondo?) The deposit of oil in question straddles the boundary between the boroughs of Hinche and Mirebalais in a mountainous area located at the foot of the chain of the Black Mountains, direction due west of Thomond.
The same map indicates an oil reservoir in the Dominican plain of Azua, a short distance north of the Dominican Republic in the town of Azua. According to our information, the latter oil field located in the Dominican Republic had actually been operating in the first half of this century, produced up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day and had closed because it was considered at the time "insufficiently profitable." Also in the Dominican Republic, there was announced, in 1982, a discovery, in front of the plain of the Azua, of a huge oil field offshore at the coast of Barahona. But this deposit has been left untapped.
Those who have traveled from Port-au-Prince to Santo-Domingo can testify that the plain of the Azua and its coastline very much resembles the area of Vieux Bourg d'Aquin and its related coast. Therefore, reasonable chances are that there is hydrocarbon deposits in the counterpart Haitian region, especially as we are told that in the plains of Cayes there is geological evidence of the presence of oil, as well as at the Bay of Cayes, Les Cayes and between Ile a Vache.
In 1975 we bathed in the waters of Les Cayes and noticed that our feet was covered by a sort of black oil seeping from the seabed. A fisherman from the place explained that this was not uncommon in the area.
He reports similar phenomena in other regions of Haiti - it seems so in the plains of Leogane and at the foothills of Morne-à-Cabrit. It's also been reported that there is the presence of oil shale in the province of Grand Anse.
There are still many places on our island (Haiti and Dominican Republic) that meet all the geological criteria for the presence of hydrocarbons. In Haiti, include the plains of Cayes, the plain of Leogane, the plain of Cul-de-Sac, the Gonaives plain and the deserted Savannah, the Plaine du Nord. Ile de la Gonave and corresponding coastlines to the off-shore deposits. In this list, do not forget the large sedimentary basin of the Central Plateau of Haiti.
In the course of the 1950s, the Knappen-Tippen-Abbet company (nicknamed by the local people "the company for small bread and butter") conducted drillings in La Gonave, in the Cul-de-Sac plains, in the Plateau-Central and in the region of Gonaives. All of these drillings had proved extremely promising and the results were beyond expectations. However, the big multinational oil companies operating in Haiti pushed for the discovered deposits not to be exploited. Haiti was neither Saudi Arabia nor Kuwait. At a time when a barrel of crude oil sold for just over a dollar, and the Persian Gulf provided oil galore, there was no reason for these companies to put in production these oil fields deemed much less profitable. Especially while ARAMCO [then known as the Arabian American Oil Company] was, rain or shine in Arabia, at a low price, even to the point of looting the precious oil resources of this kingdom.
[The attitude of these big multinational oil companies was] "We shall keep the Haitian deposits and other such layers of deposits in reserve for the 21st century when the Middle Eastern jackpot are depleted." This is what happened! The wells of Knappen-Tippen-Abbet were numbered, carefully locked or sealed with cement and forgotten.
The reports of the huge drillings were not, it seems, supposed to be made public to the Haitians. Do you think they would ever hand over to a bunch of backward negroes, information that would allow them to work towards their own economic liberation? This would make them too strong and give too much power to little Haiti.
Haitians had to wait half a century or a century for that. However, the successful countryside of the Knappen-Tibben-Abbet company, allowed for a great deal of opportunity to many Haitian schools, preparing primary school students for their certificate and studying in the geography textbook of Haiti from the Brothers of Christian Instruction, to learn that our land had oil reservoirs in the Central Plateau and La Gonave. This, did not fall on deaf ears ...
It is generally known, in all circles, that there are petroleum hydrocarbon deposits in the bowels of the island of Haiti. But the petroleum industry/circles are not eager to put into production these so readily available Haiti oil reserves. Other more important areas were already identified as major oil producing regions of the world. [The thinking was] there will always be time to think about the island of Haiti.
However, [these big oil entities and the powerful nations] did think of us during the Gulf crisis when Kuwaiti deposits, the Saudis and other oil reservoirs were threatened by Saddam Hussein. If the Cubans had not made a great effort by themselves to put their own oil in exploitation, nobody would have done it for them. If it were not for the efforts of the Cubans, Cuban oil would still be housed in the bowels of the earth, as it remains for Haitian oil. The ball is in our camp ...
If the big oil companies are not interested in our oil, we should ask our Cuban neighbors to come help us exploit it. In their dramatic search for oil, the Cubans have developed technology and know-how that we could, in return for their services, yield to the Cubans part of our domestic oil production and give them a share of profits. A mission of government officials and businessmen in Haiti should leave for Cuba in this direction.
The sad case of the international embargo clearly shows that we must fend for ourselves, and especially that we do not have to wait for the OK from the United States when our vital interests are in peril. The whole of our society is aware and sees well how our big northern neighbor has treated us and shall treat us in the future. Haiti will be saved by Haitians and Haitians only, that is the principle lesson of the embargo.
If our oil was available, we would not have been shamefully forced to capitulate after the oil embargo decided in defiance of international law with their infamous Resolution 841, by the great powers now bearing the pompous and ridiculous name of "international community".
Our government, our big businessmen, our ultra-liberal economists, our big smugglers, our Chicago-Servant-Boys, our anti-nationalists and others ruffians, prefer to import [everything, even] air, rather than to put to use the resources of Haiti. With a zeal that is hard to understand, they blindly obey the bidding orders of the IMF and World Bank, and are put together with these two organizations to destroy the Haitian economy, especially our valuable agriculture.
Nevertheless, they find themselves caught out with us. And when imperialism, to meet its gruesome intentions, decides to impose an embargo, the last embargo (there will be perhaps more in the future, who knows?) has proven the need to accelerate economic integration with the Dominican Republic.
Both Republics should undertake, by treaty, to provide each other with some oil no matter the decisions of a third party. A trans-island pipeline, Barahona to Port-au-Prince, could be part of this oil integration between the two countries that share the island.
While waiting to be able to consume our own oil, whose surpluses shall also provide the valuable currency we need, we should increase the country's storage capacity for oil products and consider how to stockpile important strategic reserves on the territory of the Republic. The oil embargo of 1991 is also a strong argument for rebuilding our railways.
Dr Georges Michel
27 mars 2004
Translated by Ezili Dantò of HLLN,
Oct. 2009 [Please refer to the French Original.]
Haiti is full of oil, say Ginette and Daniel Mathurin, [French Original], Radio Metropole, Jan 28, 2008
Scientists and Ginette Daniel Mathurin indicate that under Haitian soil is rich in oil and fuel fossible have already been listed by foreign specialists and Haiti. "We have identified 20 sites Oil, 'Daniel Mathurin stating that 5 of them are considered of great importance by specialists and politicians.
The Central Plateau, including the region of Thomonde, the plain of the cul-de-sac and the bay of Port-au-Prince are full of hydrocarbons, "he said adding that the oil reserves of Haiti are more important than those of Venezuela . "An Olympic pool compared to a glass of water that is the comparison to illustrate the importance of oil Haitian compared with those of Venezuela," he explains.
Venezuela is one of the world's largest producers of oil.
Daniel Mathurin investigations revealed that several previous governments have made it possible to verify the existence of these important oilfields. He recalls that a document of the Fanmi Lavalas party to power in 2004, had specified the numerous sites of oil in Haiti.
According to Daniel and Ginette Mathurin, the Lake District, with cities like Thomazeau and Cornillon, contains important oilfields.
Asked about the non-operation of those sites, Ginette Mathurin said that these deposits are declared strategic reserves of the United States of America. While citing his imcompréhension of such a situation, remember that the Caribbean is seen as the back yard of the United States.
But Daniel Mathurin And Ginette indicate that the American government had in 2005 authorized the use of strategic reserves of the United States. The door should be used by politicians to launch Haitian négiciations with American companies in the context of the exploitation of these deposits adds Daniel Mathurin.
The specialists contend that the government of Jean Claude Duvalier had verified the existence of a major oil field in the Bay of Port-au-Prince shortly before his downfall.
In addition, Daniel and Ginette Mathurin reveal that the Uranium 238 and 235 and the deposit zyconium exist in several regions including in Jacmel. The uranium is used in nuclear reactors for the production of electric energy.
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