Falkland Island Oil

This Guardian article (via L&P) talks about national claims to mineral rights beyond territorial waters -- in particular the UK's claims around the Falkland Islands and Rockall.

My immediate response was to the claim in the article:

the value of the oil under the sea in the region [of the Falkland Islands] is understood to be immense: seismic tests suggest there could be up to 60m barrels under the ocean floor.

60 million barrels.

At $80/barrel, that is worth a bit under 5 billion dollars, or 2.5 billion pounds -- less than a third of the cost of the 2012 Olympics, and probably much less than the cost of setting up extraction infrastructure.

Either The Guardian has lost a lot of zeros, or the oil in the region is utterly insignificant.

Luckily, I didn't get where I am today by believing everything the Guardian told me. Looking at Wikipedia, it appears the Guardian is confusing millions and billions.


It is considered probable that more than 60 billion petroleum barrels (10 kmĀ³) have been generated in the North Falkland Basin

(I also learned that 60 million barrels is about two weeks' current production from the North Sea.)

Things to consider:

In the long term, we cannot hold onto valuable mineral reserves in the South Atlantic. Defending them is justifiable, but probably not practical.

The time to negotiate is now. (Well, I've been saying this for 10+ years, so the best time has passed, but there is still an opportunity). We want:
Argentina is the obvious partner for such a deal, but not the only possible one. Chile is, I believe, the closest mainland. Venezuela has the oil production infrastructure. And if none of them offer anything decent, hey, maybe the US would like a naval base or something. Let the bidding commence.