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Brazil's decision to prevent a Royal Navy ship docking in Rio de Janeiro was probably motivated by political expediency but will still raise concerns that Britain is becoming increasingly isolated in relation to the Falklands Islands. South American countries generally back Argentina's claims over sovereignty over the islands, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
In February 2010 Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's radical left-wing president, used his regular television show to address the Queen, telling her that "the time for empires is over" and that Britain should give up the Falklands.
In the same month Lula Inacio Lula da Silva, then president of Brazil, expressed "solidarity" with Argentina and questioned why the United Nations did not tackle the issue of the Falklands.
Shortly afterwards the Argentines claimed a diplomatic coup when Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Buenos Aires that the US would be willing to mediate between Britain and Argentina.
This approach is based on a feeling that it is time for Britain to move over and which view is fuelled by meetings between Latin American leaders who take no account of law or history and encourage each other with prostestations of "thieves" and "imperialists."
The only thing that is going to deter any kind of attack is the reinforcement of the garrison. In this respect, we are reliant on the J2 guys to spot the signs as far into the distance as possible.
It is not beyond the wit of the UK though, through a combination of factors, not to see it coming. If it does happen, it will be too late. There is not going to be the equipment, personnel, political will or leadership necessary to retake the islands if they are lost again.
So, if they are that important, defend them properly.
One has to bear in mind as well, that rattling a sabre makes a lot of noise, like these episodes prove. Drawing the sabre and inflicting the wound, does not. A lot of this is just noise and "buggeration factor", arguably for South American domestic consumption.
Short of us gifting the islands to them on a plate, which I dont think we're quite ready to do just yet (maybe another 4 years or so ), I dont think theres any immediate threat for us to get worked up about.
In happier days, when we possessed a competent Foreign Office and supporting agencies, a long-running yet relatively minor military conflict would have arisen between Argentina and Chile (long frontier to soak up lots of resource)
In 2011, as per previous postings by other on PPRuNe, if the FCs do not object then any military incursion into the Falklands by the Argentinians will be currently met with vastly superior air power, a high attrition rate for skimmers and a Tomahawk storm.
One thing that gets me thinking though. If there was indication of any significant and economically viable oil reserves down that way (which the spook community would know about long before most oil & gas professionals, let alone the general public), wouldn't you expect the usual preparations for securing the bounty?
OTOH, if the indications are that nothing of substance is expected to be found, then why go through all the hassle and expense of stepping up defences?
If there was indication of any significant and economically viable oil reserves down that way (which the spook community would know about long before most oil & gas professionals,
If the spooks know before the oil & gas professionals, then those drilling rigs would be putting exploratory wells into the spooks. Yes the intelligence services pay attention to what is going on in oil & gas but they have to wait like everyone else.
Effectively an appraisal well for the SeaLion field to see how far it stretches and hitting a previously untapped fan system.
Initial estimates from the single drill on SeaLion indicate 170+ mmbo, though if it does stretch as far as the current well then you're looking at closer to a billion barrels.
Oil has been found and is commercially viable. It is too early to say how much but RKH have funding through 2011 for a further 8 wells.
It took 80 wells sunk into the North Sea before commercial oil was found, it is very early days in the Falklands however results are encouraging. I suspect we will see the first Falklands oil sold towards the back end of 2012.
The problem, and the direction of Argentine discourtesy, is in the transportation. All of the FI explorers are relatively small (saying that Rkh tops a billion quid now) hence they need finance to develop and explore the region. Once production starts they will need to hire tankers to deliver the oil to the nearest refinery. If the nearest refinery, due to political pressure from Argentina, is 1000s of miles away then it makes the commercial aspects tighter.
Not impossible, just less profitable overall. The recent rise in the oil price dwarfs these considerations of course.