Protests Rise against Britain’s Gas Grab in Algeria

Report: 34 hostages killed in Algeria, 26 freed

from Voice of Russia

There has been disputes regarding Britain grabbing additional gas in Algeria. The critical report, Reinforcing Dictatorships: Britain’s Gas Grab and Human Rights Abuses in Algeria, has already been published. Protestors of the campaign launched a strike during the conference at the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning.

Hamza Hamouchene, the report’s author and chair of the Algeria Solidarity Campaign stated: “The Algerian regime, lacking in popular legitimacy, is seeking to deepen its relations with western capitals such as London. Arms and gas deals being made at this investor conference in London directly contribute to the longevity of an authoritarian and repressive regime at the expense of the human rights of the Algerian people.” Hamza Hamouchene has been working with the London-based oil and gas watchdog Platform.

It is well known that Algeria has the largest natural gas reserves in Africa. It is already an important gas provider for Britain.

During the recent briefing from the UKTI Defense and Security Organization it was stated that the country could provide 10% of the UK’s gas that the UK needs.

According to the Freedom of Information Act it is clear that British government is pressuring the Algerian government to improve the energy ties with the UK.

For now, BP is one of the largest foreign investors in Algeria. Their operating fields and assets are worth about $5bn.

On Sunday the UK government have launched the investor’s conference stating that the question of human rights is on their agenda.

“We are encouraged by the improvement Algeria has made on this area in recent years, including lifting the state of emergency in 2011 that restricted freedom of expression and protest, signing the UK’s preventing sexual violence initiative charter and taking a seat on the UN human rights council,” said a spokesman, who also defended Britain’s interest in Algerian gas.

“The UK’s energy security strategy demonstrates our commitment to a transition to a low-carbon energy mix. However, by 2035 global oil demand, although reduced, will still exceed production from existing sources, and global gas demand will have risen.

“The International Energy Agency confirms that efforts to promote investment in gas production globally will have a positive impact on climate change by displacing coal-fired power generation.”

At the same time, BP argues that such connections are useful for both countries. According to a spokesman for the oil company in London, “We are producing natural resources for the benefit of that country under local mineral rights and the gas we produce there goes into the local grid. Using gas instead of oil or coal is a way of reducing carbon emissions.”

The Algerian embassy did not leave any comments. Kevin Smith from Platform said that British agenda is horrible not just for the environment but for democratic rights as well. He said: “UK foreign policy seems to be almost entirely driven by the agenda of securing access to dirty fossil fuels abroad while turning a blind eye to human rights abuses of the regimes they are willing to do business with.”

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