The Falklanders: Sheiks of the South Atlantic?

Early evening chatter in the Victory bar in Port
used to touch on squid hauls and cruise liner schedules.
Now, as the locals sip on imported pints of British beer, a far more lucrative
proposition is grabbing their attention: oil.

According to the latest seismic surveys, the Falkland Islands are sitting on an
estimated 18bn barrels. Prospecting companies operating on the islands say they
plan to start drilling later this year. With an already affluent population of
about 3,000, Falklanders are anticipating a windfall that could make them one
of the richest populations on the planet.

But the Falklanders aren’t quite the oil barons of South
yet. Naturally, first it needs to be proved if there is
really oil to be found. The oil prospectors are talkling it up, as you’d expect
them to. But they’ve not even got round to drilling yet. With oil prices
plummeting, the margins are growing tighter too.

Then of course there’s the Argentine reaction to think about. If anything is
going to spark another war between these two old foes, it’s billions of barrels
of black gold turning up underneath the Falklands.

To get a taste of what could be to come, the Argentine daily Clarin today ran a heated piece after my piece appeared in The Guardian. It was pointed out
that the oil companies had the temerity to begin exploration without going cap
in hand to the Argentine government for permission.

News of the Falklanders becoming the Sheiks of the South
might just have to wait though. It seems that Prince
William’s time

to do the honourable thing has arrived. The heir to the throne is due to follow
in his uncle’s footsteps and defend Britain‘s fair isle.

Strictly speaking, the Falklands is only an
‘overseas territory’. But then that doesn’t sound quite worth getting out of
bed for. Tally ho William. Do granny proud.