Pump it slowly.

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murdomacleod.jpgSo Murdo MacLeod, Scotland on Sunday's longstanding political correspondent (and tech correspondent, and Gaelic correspondent, well you get the picture), had his leaving do last night.

Drinks were taken, more by some than others (I still want to hear what Mao's point was, Mark).

Murdo's away to work for a substantial oil company in Kazakhstan, and despite him being the bane of my life when I worked for the Parliament's first two Presiding Officers, I'll miss him.

When I say "bane of my life", what I most obviously mean is this article, which appeared ten days after I started work in Parliament.

It was factually correct, except for the species of oak, their colour, the number of them, the cost (massively less), their likely country of origin, the status of contract negotiations at the time. Oh, and the final price of the project, which sadly went a little higher than £280m while I was there.

Update: sources close to Murdo have made clear that this piece was based on dodgy information from a previously reliable former source. And that the subs might have had a hand in it too.

Anyway, back to oil. I corrected his impression that his new employers and my current employers have, shall we say, divergent interests, though. Pump it slowly, I advised him to tell them. If we burn all our remaining stocks of oil and gas more slowly, it'll have less of an impact on the climate. Oh, and his bosses will make shedloads more money if they hang onto what's left of their reserves until prices hit $500 a barrel or more.

I understand they are already aware of this issue, and I'm hopeful that they'll come to the same conclusions I did. Sorry, Gordon.


I do hope your current employers do have divergent interests with the oil companies operating in Kazakhstan given their appalling human rights record. A complaint has been lodged with the World Bank’s Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman on the activity of Lukoil Overseas Karachaganak B.V.’s oil and gas condensate field on behalf of the residents of Berezovka in Kazakhstan. The claim is that the air and water pollutants adversely affecting the health of the nearby residents. It is unlikely in the extreme that there was adequate prior informed consent from the community before the company moved in.

There are also concerns about the particular exploitation of the Uighurs in Kazakhstan and China connected to China’s need for oil and general penchant for repressing their population.

Regardless of how quickly its pumped, its always gonna be dirty.

Will I never learn not to over-simplify?

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This page was published on July 9, 2008 6:14 PM.

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