Deutsche Welle: UK puts business over human rights in Algeria

When British Gas signed its first deal with Algeria back in 1964, it marked the start of lasting energy ties that have seen BP become a leading investor in the North African country.

The Algerian state and oil gas enterprise, Sonatrach, has been contracted to supply the UK with five billion cubic meters of gas by the mid 2000s.

Such lucrative deals form the backbone of a new report by London-based oil and gas campaign group, Platform together with the Algeria Solidarity Campaign(ASC).

Entitled “Reinforcing Dictatorships – Britain’s Gas Grab and Human Rights Abuses in Algeria,” the publication argues that UK eagerness to tap into Algeria’s natural resources during the civil war of the 1990s highlighted its priorities. Priorities, it claims have not changed since.

The activists say David Cameron’s government is now looking to increase Algerian imports of liquid natural gas, and is pushing for closer bilateral ties through trade visits, top-level dialogue and the establishment of a parliamentary group on Algeria. All with a flagrant disregard for human rights…

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The height of silliness. I am sure Algeria is no human rights paradise, but who of the Middle Eastern oil and gas states is?

Germany has cozied up to Russia, paying for a special undersea pipeline, which must have been hugely expensive. The Germans wanted to bypass the inconvenient Baltics and Ukraine. A few years back, Russia was cutting off gas to Ukraine regularly, hence the undersea pipeline.

Is Algeria worse than Russia? At least it has not invaded a neighbouring country. Going to switch gas suppliers now, Germany? What is your choice?