Presidential prospect Gasim Ibrahim also backs drilling for oil

Leader of the government-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP), business tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim, has vowed to find oil in the Maldives should he be elected president of the country later this year.

Gasim – who owns television station VTV and the Villa group of companies and resorts – has already announced that he would be contesting in 2013 presidential elections. The Presidential candidate is also a member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), responsible for appointing a three-member panel of judges to oversee the criminal trial of fellow presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Gasim is currently campaigning under the slogan ‘Tharaggee Gaimu’ (‘Development Guaranteed’).

Oil exploration has emerged as a key policy for several candidates aligned with the current government, including Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) presidential prospect, Abdulla Yameen.

Gasim unsuccessfully contested in the 2008 presidential elections finishing the race in fourth place with 15.2 percent of the total vote. He finished behind candidates including then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, eventual winner former President Mohamed Nasheed and political advisor of President Dr Mohamed Waheed, Dr Hassan Saeed.

Gasim announced his plans to try and uncover oil during a press briefing held Sunday (February 3), after concluding a trip to France to buy a new aircraft for his company, Villa Air.

Speaking to the media, he claimed there was evidence to suggest oil could be located in Maldives and that technology was now sufficient to make drilling for fuel financially viable.

The chairman of Villa Group added that previous oil expeditions ended in failure because of “lack of technology” at the time and it would still be impossible if Maldivians tried to dig for oil “eighties style”.

“I was the first one who brought the idea to the government. I even spoke of this during the 2008 presidential elections,” Gasim said.

Blessing

Gasim, stressing the importance of seeking oil in the Maldives, said it was wrong to turn away from a blessing given by Allah.

He went on to dismiss claims made by former Deputy Leader and a PPM presidential prospect Umar Naseer, who has claimed that digging for oil could destroy the tourism sector and the country’s economy.

“It is very wrong to turn ourselves away from a blessing given by Allah. On the other hand, with current technological advancements, that oil can be extracted safely without causing any harm to tourism sector,” he said.

During a PPM Rally, Umar Naseer claimed that digging for oil is “too risky” and it would take one oil leak into the sea to ruin the Maldives.

Gasim further said that it was a “baseless and irrational” to suggest that drilling for oil could harm the tourism sector. He added that if the drilling process is carried out within proper standards and with international expertise, such risks are unlikely to take place.

“There will always be a way to get things done. When you know that you have to get the technology to do that. We don’t have to use the technology that was used 70-100 years ago to find oil in the world,” he said.

“The way I see it, it is something we should pursue. If I get to be the President, it would be the first thing my government would turn towards,” he added.

Tested and trusted

Speaking to Minivan News, Spokesperson for the Jumhoree Party Moosa Rameez said his party’s presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim was a “tested and trusted” candidate and that he was “100 percent sure” Gasim would be successful in seeking oil.

“Gasim Ibrahim is very experienced in the field of business. He is very familiar with almost all kinds of industries in the world including the oil industry. He was the first one who pledged to find oil in the country in 2008,” Rameez said.

With the announcement, Gasim becomes the second presidential hopeful who has expressed desires to search for oil within the country.

Earlier, PPM Parliamentary Group Leader and contender in the party’s presidential primary Abdulla Yameen also announced that he would attempt to seek oil in the country if he gets elected.

During a rally held to kick off his presidential primary campaign, Yameen proclaimed that “when the PPM comes to power” it will conduct oil exploration, attract foreign investment and create 26,000 tourism jobs.

“It is very possible oil might be found in the Maldives,” Yameen said at the time.

Referring to Yameen’s pledge, JP’s Spokesperson said that when Gasim first announced that he would drill for oil, it was Yameen’s supporters who “mocked him” and made a joke out of it.

“Now when [Yameen] claims oil can be found in the country, it shows that Gasim was telling the truth from the very beginning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb – who is backing Yameen in the primaries – has told Minivan News that Maldives’ environmental image and commitments are no obstacles to developing of an oil industry.

Adheeb told Minivan News last month the Maldives was “a big nation, and places not in marine protected zones or tourism areas could be explored for oil, like in the less developed north.”

“Oil exploration is a term and [we] cannot conclude something with out the details. Regulations and more planning need to be done,” he said.

Previous oil exploration attempts in 1980 found the cost of retrieving the oil was too high compared to the US$20 (MVR 308) price per barrel at the time. However the present price of US$125 (MVR 1925) per barrel made further exploration feasible.

Yameen was not responding to calls at time of press.

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10 thoughts on “Presidential prospect Gasim Ibrahim also backs drilling for oil”

  1. Without doing the doable projects and exploiting available resources like EEZ fisheries not to mention tourism, transshipment, offshore banking, it is amazing that Maldives politicians are talking of exploring for oil in Maldives.

    Probably there is gold, platinum and rare earth materials in Maldives seabed. Lets assume there is some thing of value. But when grown men like Yameen and Gasim talks of digging gold from seabed, you know how much they can deliver.

    Maldivians may be dumb but not that dumb enough to believe in cock and bull stories.

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  2. If Yamin, Gayoom, Anni, or even Koli mohodhey mentions that Mordis will host soccer worldcup in the coming season, this idiot will get hooked on it like a ravenous rondu.

    God, god, god, please please please do not let this idiot win. Please. I beg you. please.

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  3. I really hope there is no race for oil in this country. It would ruin the environment, disrupt our image and goals of pursuing environmentally friendly alternatives and at the same time all the entrepreneur's will attempt to reap all the benefits from it i.e all the $$$$ that it would cause a mess leaving the ordinary Maldivian to suffer.

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  4. Yeah, history shows us where ever a good amount of natural resources like oil and gold are found, the pretext 'al qaeda' is found. If the politicians play by the rules of the colony United States, then you're safe. If not 350,000 Maldivians are doomed for a civil war and regime change. Perhaps this is what happened

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  5. Dont be afraid. We have to at least try to see if it is there... we need to find other forms of income not for you, but for your children. I support Yamin and Gasim for daring.

    What do you think? Education you get from the school is forever eternal in your mind? I personally dont remember anything I learn from Uni... Its a shame! It takes guts and pure life experience to make a successful person...

    My Uni education earns my bread and butter like the rest of u. But what about everything else? we all know you cant be as successful as Buruma.

    Most things still remain to be done. Glorious
    future.

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  6. May be Yameen and Qasim are deep explorers they would not hesitate going to the extent of drilling the seabed. May the best driller win the race!

    And which oil company would run the Maldives from then on? Villa oil or Burma oil?

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  7. Now all becomes clear why Nasheed was ousted; He wanted to save his nation while these fools would risk destruction of Gods Gift of clean waters, abundant fish and limitless sunshine to drive a solar economy far into the future, all for money and a foul oil industry.
    Nasheed threatened the oil industry and Ibrahims wealthy friends.
    Very sad, very sad.

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  8. @Mohamed Z on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 7:22 AM

    "Dont be afraid. We have to at least try to see if it is there… "

    Someone else has already tried. Royal Dutch spent millions of dollars during the early 1990s and found fish oil, and so packed up and left.

    If Mr Drill wants to drill, then so be it. Let him drill until he's bored of drilling. Hmm, perhaps he won't get bored, boring, drilling, eh? After all it's in his name!

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