Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #544 Return of the Standard‑I.G. Agreement of 1929

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Sub­stan­ti­at­ing a line of inquiry stretch­ing back a num­ber of years, this pro­gram presents infor­ma­tion about the devel­op­ment of the hydro­gena­tion process to cre­ate syn­thet­ic motor fuel. Orig­i­nal­ly devel­oped by the I.G. Far­ben com­pa­ny, the process was the focal point of the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 and pro­vid­ed Nazi Ger­many with much of its fuel in World War II. The hydro­gena­tion process has been revived in the cur­rent eco­nom­ic cli­mate of extra­or­di­nary oil prices. For a num­ber of years, Mr. Emory has been fore­shad­ow­ing such a devel­op­ment, cit­ing the Thyssen indus­tri­al firm’s pur­chase and re-com­mis­sion­ing of the I.G. Far­ben syn­thet­ic oil plant in Leu­na, Ger­many. The largest of I.G.’s syn­thet­ic fuel plants, the Leu­na facil­i­ty was the focal point of the CDU fund­ing scan­dal. Tak­en in com­bi­na­tion with the Thyssen firm’s cen­tral role in gen­er­at­ing the Peak Oil decep­tion (which pro­vides intel­lec­tu­al under­pin­ning to the high price of crude), the resus­ci­ta­tion of the Leu­na plant led Mr. Emory to fore­cast that the Standard/I.G. agree­ment would emerge from dor­man­cy, and the hydro­gena­tion process would become a fac­tor in the com­mer­cial petro­le­um econ­o­my. Indeed, that has now hap­pened. An appli­ca­tion of the hydro­gena­tion process is being com­mer­cial­ly devel­oped to pro­duce ultra-clean diesel fuel and oth­er prod­ucts, backed by major oil and auto­mo­bile firms. Most of the pro­gram con­sists of a re-broad­cast of much of FTR#506.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The his­to­ry of the devel­op­ment of the hydro­gena­tion process; the fore­casts of “The End of Oil” in the 1920’s; an account of the Bat­tle of Leu­na in World War II; review of the Thyssen firm’s pur­chase of the Leu­na facil­i­ty; the cen­tral role of Thyssen sub­sidiary HIS Ener­gy Con­sul­tants in devel­op­ing the Peak Oil decep­tion.

1. Recap­ping of the bulk of FTR# 506, Mr. Emory read the arti­cle that is the key to the theme of the broad­cast. As fore­cast, the hydro­gena­tion process that was at the core of the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 is once again emerg­ing as a com­mer­cial­ly viable process for the man­u­fac­ture of motor fuel. With the price of oil being as high as it is now, the process is being uti­lized to turn nat­ur­al gas into motor fuel. Note that many of the major oil com­pa­nies, includ­ing Exxon­Mo­bil and Chevron—both mem­bers of the old Stan­dard Oil Trust—are involved in the devel­op­ment of this tech­nol­o­gy.

“A nov­el way to cre­ate an ultra-clean fuel for cars that uses nat­ur­al gas instead of oil is on the verge of rapid growth, ana­lysts say, dri­ven by soar­ing oil prices and a thirst for alter­na­tive fuels. Oil com­pa­nies are invest­ing bil­lions in the nascent tech­nol­o­gy, called ‘gas-to-liq­uids’ or GTL, which can be used to pro­duce qual­i­ty diesel and a range of oth­er prod­ucts nor­mal­ly derived from crude. The process was devel­oped in Nazi Ger­many and apartheid South Africa, but in a few weeks will be test­ed on a com­mer­cial scale for the first time when the largest plant so far opens in Qatar. [Empha­sis added.] The Oryx GTL plant, a joint ven­ture between South Africa’s Sasol and Qatar Petro­le­um, is being watched close­ly by com­peti­tors and investors look­ing for the next big thing in ener­gy. . . . Car­mak­ers are also inter­est­ed. Roy­al Dutch Shell is work­ing with Toy­ota, Volk­swa­gen and Daim­ler­Chrysler to cre­ate vehi­cles that run on pure GTL diesel, which com­bines high pow­er with extreme­ly low emis­sions. . . . Shell and Exxon­Mo­bil plan to build much larg­er GTL plants in Qatar. . . . Nige­ria has a plant under con­struc­tion, built by Sasol and Chevron. BP plans to build a plant in Colom­bia. . . .”

(“Oil Giants Look to Gas Alter­na­tive” by Thomas Catan; The Finan­cial Times; 3/6/2006; p. 15.)

2. A pre­vi­ous Finan­cial Times arti­cle dis­cussed the gen­e­sis of the GTL process:

“To be sure, GTL has been around for a while. The basic process was invent­ed in the 1920’s and then devel­oped by Nazi Ger­many and apartheid South Africa—both of which had prob­lems get­ting enough petrol for their vehi­cles. Ini­tial­ly, it was used to turn coal into a liq­uid. [Empha­sis added.] Today, it is used to turn nat­ur­al gas into a clean burn­ing fuel for use in diesel engines, naptha, lubri­cants and a range of oth­er prod­ucts. . . . .”

(“Ambi­tion to Become the World Capi­tol of Nov­el Technology—Gas-to-Liquid” by Thomas Catan; The Finan­cial Times; 5/19/2005.)

3. After dis­cussing the devel­op­ment of the hydro­gena­tion process, the pro­gram high­lights the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 (which took place against the pre­dict­ed “end of oil” cri­sis that has been revived in the form of the “Peak Oil” decep­tion). The pro­gram then describes the wartime sig­nif­i­cance of the Leu­na plant—I. G. Farben’s largest syn­thet­ic fuel plant. The Leu­na facil­i­ty was the focal point of a deci­sive strate­gic bomb­ing cam­paign in 1944. Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion of the Thyssen firm’s acqui­si­tion of the Leu­na facil­i­ty in 1993, the pro­gram notes that the Peak Oil decep­tion orig­i­nates from HIS Ener­gy Con­sul­tants, a Thyssen-Borne­misza Indus­tries sub­sidiary.

4. Not­ing the promi­nence of the Thyssen inter­ests in the gen­er­a­tion of the Peak Oil decep­tion and Thyssen’s pur­chase of Leu­na, Mr. Emory spec­u­lates that the delib­er­ate infla­tion of oil prices would lead to the res­ur­rec­tion of the hydro­gena­tion process. (Hydro­gena­tion was con­sid­ered too expen­sive to com­pete with nat­u­ral­ly-derived petro­le­um.) In addi­tion to the enor­mous prof­its derived from the high price of nat­u­ral­ly-pro­duced crude, the par­ties to the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment are posi­tioned to derive still greater prof­its from syn­thet­ic fuel pro­duc­tion. To more ful­ly appre­ci­ate this path of inquiry, be sure to exam­ine relat­ed broad­casts, par­tic­u­lar­ly FTR#511, which fea­tures the orig­i­nal dis­cus­sion of the Standard/I.G. agree­ment. In FTR#534 we exam­ine the geno­ci­dal Nazi phi­los­o­phy under­ly­ing the peak oil decep­tion. Note, also, that the oth­er pri­ma­ry appli­ca­tion of the hydro­gena­tion process was in apartheid South Africa, itself an out­crop­ping of Nazi Ger­many.


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