Friday, March 04, 2011

Clinton: China seeks to outflank ExxonMobil

CHINA wants to elbow US oil giant ExxonMobil out of a US$15 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday in an example of the new competition Beijing presents to US interests, The National reports.

She told the senate foreign relations committee in Washington DC that Republican proposals to cut US foreign affairs budget would hit US efforts to compete with China’s rising power on the global stage, Reuters news service reported.

“We are in a competition with China,” Clinton said, citing the PNG LNG project in the Southern Highlands as an example.

“ExxonMobil is producing it. China is in there every day, in every way, trying to figure out how it is going to come in behind us, come in under us,” Clinton said.

The committee heard that ExxonMobil was the majority stakeholder in the PNG LNG project, now in full construction stage, which was due to come on stream in 2014 and was expected to produce 6.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year.

When she visited Port Moresby last November, Clinton warned PNG to avoid the “resource curse”, referring to many countries which were blessed with oil, gas, gold and diamond were now poor as a result of bad management by their governments on the proceeds from those resources.

She urged PNG not to go down that path but learn to use and invest the revenue from the LNG project in long term investments.

Clinton said the US state department would help PNG manage the revenue from the LNG gas project.

The US-based Export-Import Bank in 2009 approved the largest financing transaction in its history to help develop the PNG gas reserves.

In Washington DC this week, Clinton said China was also boosting ties with other states across the Asia-Pacific and other island nations that had long been reliable, if little noticed US allies.

According to Reuters, Clinton said funding cuts that would require a US pullback on everything from support for global health programmes to protection of women’s rights could have a serious long-term impact on US influence around the world.

“If anybody thinks that our retreating on these issues is somehow going to be irrelevant to the maintenance of our leadership in a world where we are competing with China, where we are competing with Iran, that is a mistaken notion,” she said.

Republicans have proposed a 16% cut to US spending on diplomacy and foreign assistance, among other things, saying it was imperative to fight the ballooning federal deficit.

Reuters reported Clinton as saying the US retreat was opening new doors to competitors, noting new media challengers such as Al Jazeera and Russian and Chinese English-language broadcasters were winning “the information war”.

“Let’s put aside the moral, humanitarian do-good side of what we believe in and let’s just talk straight realpolitik,” she said of the various US programmes that could be hit by the budget cuts.

“I also look at this from a strategic perspective, and it is essential.”



No comments:

Post a Comment