For a relatively small drilling operation, China National Petroleum Corporation’s (CNPC) project in Afghanistan’s Sar-e-Pul province has a large footprint. These efforts are part of a rapid change in Chinese strategy. Until two years ago, Chinese strategists regarded Afghanistan as solely an American concern: Washington broke it, and Washington should have to put it back together. Now, Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are the largest investors in Afghanistan’s extractive sector and Afghan officials speak of Chinese investment as central to ensuring that the national government in Kabul will remain in power after 2014.
An undersea gold rush could be coming soon with the rising cost of minerals and advancements in technology opening the seafloor to mining – environmental concerns not withstanding.
The potential for exploiting undersea reserves is higher than any time in history. Incentives for undersea mining are rising metal prices, the high profitability of mining companies, declining yields of land-based nickel, copper and cobalt sulphide deposits (over years of mining), as well as new advancements in the machinery that’s used to extract and process mineral rich rocks from the seabed.
The shale gas revolution has taken its time to arrive in Europe. But after years of watching the US plunge head-first into natural gas exploration and of reaping the rewards, Europe’s politicians are now deciding whether to join in.
The first major battleground for European natural gas exploration is likely to be in eastern Europe, where the prospect of greater energy security from Russia is a big issue. It is also possible to detect Cold War overtones to the approach taken by the US oil and gas industry and its government.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
Like an army, science needs the high ground. This is true when it comes to oil exploration and especially so in the rugged landscape of Norway. The Virtual Outcrop Geology (VOG) group at the Norwegian Centre for integrated petroleum research (CIPR) is working to capture this vantage point in a distinctly 21st century way, by using UAVs to seek out oil by helping geologists build 3D models of the terrain. We tend to think of oil exploration as taking place on desert plains or out in the ocean, but finding oil deposits depends on having a comprehensive understanding of local geology
Rare Earths, Oil, Gas, Other Commodities Up For Grabs As Arctic States Grants China, India, Japan, Other Select Nations ‘Observer Status’
It won’t be long before the essential raw minerals and commodities of the planet’s Far North such as rare earths, oil and gas get gobbled up by the industrialists.
On Wednesday, the Arctic Council granted China, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore new Observer States status. Essentially, the six nations gained rightful entry to listen in on meetings of the council, as well as propose and finance policies. Observers, however, do not have powers related to decision making within the council.
Foreign companies are getting ready to undertake the risky business of exploring for oil in war-torn Somalia, a quest that could trigger new conflict as the Western-backed government struggles to stop die-hard Islamist insurgents.
“The world’s leading oil companies are increasingly accepting that their quest for new reserves will take them into challenging new territory,” the Financial Times observed this week. “In regions such as the arctic, the problems are technical. Around the Horn of Africa, companies must calculate whether political and security risks will put too heavy a burden on their production costs.
While Yemen is undergoing drastic social, political and economic changes, Saudi Arabia, the region’ super-power is ever increasingly looking nervously as its southern border, fearing that its unruly neighbor’s crises might spill over onto its territories and thus undermine the security of the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has now announced it will resume the construction of its border-fence barrier, which will run across the entire 1,800 Km of the Yemen-Saudi border demarkation line. This titan project aims essentially to cage out Yemen, preventing not only groups from infiltrating Saudi Arabia but also foiling any factions’ hopes to reignite a decades’ old border dispute with al-Saud.
Two pipelines in the highlands of northeast Myanmar will soon begin pumping oil and gas into China, representing a major step in Beijing’s quest for energy security. The $2.5 billion pipeline project, scheduled for completion this month, is part of China’s land-based network of import routes that includes completed pipelines from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia. In a region increasingly defined by its quest for energy, the new pipelines could help China tip the geopolitical landscape in its favor.
Israel’s rapprochement with onetime strategic ally Turkey is a vital element in Ankara’s drive to become the intercontinental east-west energy hub in the Mediterranean and many expect it to produce an energy alliance that will transform the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has transformed his country’s economic prospects through a wide-ranging diplomatic drive aimed at restoring Turkish leadership in the region. He has long sought to transform Turkey, which has no energy resources of its own, into the unassailable central hub for transporting oil and gas from the eastern Mediterranean, the new hot zone, to Europe and maybe to Asia as well.
The icy Arctic is emerging as a global economic hot spot — and one that is becoming a security concern for the United States as world powers jockey to tap its vast energy resources and stake out unclaimed territories.
Diplomats from eight Arctic nations, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will meet this week over how to protect the thawing region as its waterways increasingly open to commercial shipping traffic. U.S. officials estimate the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.
The Cyprus issue, energy security and the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone were examined during a meeting in Athens between the Defence Ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Fotis Fotiou and Panos Panagiotopoulos, respectively.
Fotiou also discussed with Panagiotopoulos the situation in the wider south-eastern Mediterranean region and Turkish threats against Cyprus with regard to oil exploration.
Singapore’s first liquefied natural gas terminal has received its first commercial cargo, putting the island country on course to become a major gas trading hub. The Singapore Ministry of Trade said the $1.7 billion terminal will allow Singapore to access competitively priced gas globally. The cargo, from BG Group, was sourced from Equatorial Guinea in Africa, Channel News Asia reports. The two-tank plant will have an initial throughput capacity of 3.5 million tons per year.
The map comes from this recent reporting project on U.S. energy security by nine student journalists at the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative. The reporters explored all aspects of energy security, from presidential rhetoric on the subject to the oil markets themselves to a breakdown of U.S. military operations to stabilize the oil supply. And the site has plenty of charts and graphs. To accompany the map above, Dana Ballout has a piece looking in more detail at all the potential oil choke points.
Over the past five years, Chinese businesses have been expanding their footprint in Latin America in a number of ways, beginning with enhanced trade to ensure a steady supply of bulk commodities such as oil, copper and soybeans. At this year’s Boao Forum for Asia, for the first time a Latin American sub-forum was created that included the participation of several heads of state from the region.
Huge placards proclaim “Yes to disarming,” “No to a state of militias,” on the building housing the Tripoli offices of Mellitah, a joint venture between Libya and Eni, the Italian oil and gas group. They are a reminder of two days of deadly clashes between rival armed groups from the towns of Zintan and Zuara over who should guard Mellitah’s oil and gas complex in western Libya. The firefight last month left at least one dead and several injured. It also disrupted production and caused a temporary halt in natural gas exports to Italy before the army finally came in to restore order.
The Kurdish government will sell oil and gas directly to Turkey in a deal that so far has bypassed the Iraqi government in Baghdad, which has warned the Kurds not to sign separate energy accords. Turkey may also take the Kurdish government’s stake in concessions operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. on the enclave’s border with the rest of Iraq, one of the people said.
“Large-scale oil exports would change the economic position of Kurdistan,” said Robin Mills, head of consulting at Dubai-based Manaar Energy Consulting and Project Management. “If this deal goes through, it’s an aggressive move by Turkey that really means busting relations with Baghdad.”
Looking forward, more gas transport options in Europe are forecasted. The next five years will see the realisation of a considerable number of ambitious interregional projects, including new supply routes: West Nabucco, Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, TAPI and Russia-South Korea, which could be possible route alternatives for Gazprom’s South Stream. The trend towards greater European integration ramps up the enforcement to overcome national boundaries and focus to a greater extent on a Europe-wide network.
The Turkish energy minister, Taner Yildiz, says his country would be open to the construction of a pipeline to distribute Israel’s newly discovered gas.
“The issue may become an important topic that the two can cooperate on,” said Ozel. “The Israelis have already made a suggestion to send some of their gas by pipelines to Turkey. And this fits well with Turkey’s grand desire to be the grill full of pipelines from north to south, from east to west, and therefore become on energy matters, if not a hub, certainly an indispensable transition place.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left for Benin on Sunday for his first stop on a three-nation West African tour that will also take him to Ghana and Niger, the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer.
Energy will be high on Ahmadinejad’s agenda during the trip and Benin said talks with President Thomas Boni Yayi would also focus on education and agriculture. According to the World Nuclear Association industry group, uranium from landlocked Niger is trucked to ports in neighbouring Benin for export, with most of it sent to Areva subsidiary Comurhex in France.
Israel is set to send warships to the eastern Mediterranean for a joint military exercise with Cyprus, according to a report which appeared in the Cypriot Fileleftheros daily on Tuesday and which was cited by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou confirmed that the joint exercise, which will include the participation of four or five Israeli warships, is due to start on April 25, the report said. Fotiou also noted that the exercise will focus on the security of the eastern Mediterranean region and that of gas companies.
On November 14, 2006, a man going by the name Paul William Hampel was arrested at a Canadian airport on charges of being a Russian spy. Hampel’s carefully constructed identity portrayed him as a successful businessman, yet for a decade his company did no business. Only months before his capture, the same apparatus used to create his alias was also employed by a very different spy agency – the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency —to build a secret prison in Lithuania, where U.S. agents interrogated suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. Earlier again, it was used by the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to cheat the Oil for Food program.
Israel’s huge new offshore gas resource offers its enemies an obvious target and gives its navy, long overshadowed by other branches of the Israeli armed forces, a big job that will require extra spending.On patrol boat 836, circling two gas platforms in choppy Mediterranean waters, Captain Ilan Lavi flipped through pictures of the possible threats: boat bombs, drones, submarine vessels, rockets and missiles. “We have to build an entire new defensive envelope,” said Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department who talks as knowledgeably about the financial aspects of the gas industry as he does about security.
In October, the government started a new program of “nationalization of the elite.” That’s a term that was thought up by Konstantin Kostin, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin. Kostin says the Kremlin is aiming to change the mentality of many elite Russian business people, who see Russia as a country to exploit, but who end up going to live elsewhere. Other sources close to the Kremlin agreed that there was another motivation for these laws. They said that this “nationalization of the elite” was a direct response to the mass protests last year demanding honest elections in Russia. “The government is convinced that there are foreign governments behind these protest movements,” said one source.
Afghanistan plans to put four or five oil and gas extraction and minerals mining projects out to tender for development this year, as the strife-ridden country reaches out to investors to help develop its vast resources. The projects involves the exploration and development of oil, natural gas, iron ore, copper and gold, the country’s minister of mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, said last week.
“We plan to put out tenders in two new basins for oil and gas exploration this year and two more next year or 2015,” he said. “Afghanistan has the potential to be more than self-sufficient in oil and gas.” While the country is currently one of the poorest in the world judged by GDP per capita, the US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that Afghanistan’s mineral resources were worth some US$1 trillion.
Only too aware of the threat of east Mediterranean supply if Europe is able to diversify away from Russian gas dependency, Moscow has been steadily feting Israel to buy into a piece of the action.Moscow has already advanced a $3.5 billion loan and attempted to gain more leverage over Cyprus’ economic and energy assets during the recent bitter negotiations in the banking crisis.
The Kremlin is playing a much bigger game. Gazprom is already eyeing a role in the development of Israel’s gigantic Leviathan gas field. With its estimated 25 tcf of gas Leviathan is due to come on-stream by 2016. And the eastern Mediterranean bonanza is potentially huge. The US Geological Survey estimates the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin contains around 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
Recently discovered gas in Mozambique could transform the country into a major player in the world LNG market, speakers said at a public event in Brussels. But some of them warned against high expectations of prosperity and warned that revenues won’t come fast.
The aggregate gas reserves of Mozambique and Tanzania potentially have the same size as those of Australia, which has become a leading supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Asian market, which accounts for two-thirds of the global LNG demand and is growing fast.
Call them American strategy’s Odd Couple. Working together, the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force could be the best defenders of U.S. policy in the Arctic Ocean, a theater that will expand and contract each year and where threats will — cross your fingers — remain modest in scope. Think about it. One partner is an aviation force, the other a sea service. One operates under Pentagon jurisdiction, the other under the Department of Homeland Security. One is a combat arm designed to break things and kill people, the other a constabulary agency meant primarily to execute U.S. law in offshore waters and skies and render aid and comfort following natural disasters.
Another military exercise led by the Pentagon was the Saharan Express 2013. The real purpose behind these exercises of course was revealed by Omar Wad, a spokesperson for the Senegalese Marine Forces General Command, who said “The safety of marine space is a main bet for Sahel countries because it will protect oil that passes everyday through the Atlantic Ocean. Commodities passing through the ocean, especially along the shores of countries participating in the exercise, represent 80 percent of world commodities.”
As it tries to play Russia off against Europe to salvage its economy, Cyprus has embarked on a high-stakes poker game that could see almost everyone lose. Its banks shattered by exposure to Greek debt, the island state urgently needs a way of bailing out its financial system. Cypriot policymakers hope they can begin to monetise as yet undeveloped offshore gas fields and position themselves as a vital source of energy for Europe. However, such income is still years away and delusions of becoming the Qatar of the eastern Mediterranean in the 2020s may prompt Cyprus to overplay its hand now.
China is financing the construction of Kyrgyzstan’s first major oil refinery, and excitement is building in Bishkek that the facility could enable the Central Asian nation to break Russia’s fuel-supply monopoly. At the same time, some observers express concern that the project may stoke local resentment, or become enmeshed in political infighting. The refinery in Kara-Balta, about two hours west of Bishkek, is expected to produce 600,000 tonnes of fuel annually, enough to end Kyrgyzstan’s dependency on Russian imports.
Pakistan risks sparking US sanctions if it pursues its plans with Iran to build a $7.5 billion gas pipeline linking the two nations, a senior US official said in a renewed warning Monday.
“We have serious concerns, if this project actually goes forward, that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “We’ve been straight up with the Pakistanis about these concerns.”
The NATO oil pipeline in Turkey, which has so far been used solely for NATO purposes, will opened for civilian use, according to a source in the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources who prefers to remain unnamed. The goal of expanding the use of the pipeline is to deal a harsh blow against oil smuggling. The legal procedures and amendments to regulations concerning limits on the pipeline’s use are expected to be completed soon. The pipeline is roughly 3,000 kilometers long. The ministry source told Today’s Zaman that at present only 20 percent of its capacity has been utilized.
Along the way the Kazakh government inked uranium supply deals with India,China, and Japan. Not even the U.S. has been immune to Kazakhstan’s uranium market expansion: in 2007, KazAtomProm, a state-owned company, bought out Toshiba’s share in nuclear power plant builder Westinghouse. U.S. politicians are in on the Kazakh uranium game as well.
If all this sounds odd, it’s only because Kazakhstan is more normally known — if people know of it at all — as an oil state. But Kazakhstan’s quest for it’s “World Bank for Uranium” always had a political element, part of a national narrative suggesting an inevitable future of progress and growth.
Gabon, the oil rich central African state, has embarked on a charm offensive to strengthen its trade relations with Kenya and Tanzania as it seeks to sell its expertise on oil and management of natural resources to the region. In exchange, Gabon hopes to tap into knowledge on wildlife management, expertise in information and communications technology (ICT) and agriculture from the two states. In an interview with The EastAfrican, Andre William Anguile, Gabon’s ambassador to Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia said the Central African state is weighing the option of setting up an embassy in East Africa’s economic hub.
Pakistan’s Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr. Asim Hussain, said that Iran with the cooperation of Pakistan’s State Oil (PSO) will set up an oil refinery in the Southwestern city of Gwadar. Talking to reporters after holding a meeting with Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, he said that the refinery would refine 400,000 barrels of oil per day. He added that President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari would soon visit Iran to finalize the agreement on establishment of oil refinery.
A pound of uranium is currently traded on the spot market at $ 42 a pound, which is ridiculously low. The price may rebound. I had a long discussion with two leading experts uranium last week. They worked on uranium in both the private sector as in the public sector since the 1970s. They attended all the twists and turns of history.
Both specialists have strong arguments to suggest that the uranium price increase this year and in the future. “The uranium ore,” remarked one of them, “Today is where gold was 10 years ago. We expect prices four to six times higher in the years to come. “
EU countries have said Zimbabwe can start selling diamonds and gold in Europe if it holds democratic elections. The deal – between Belgium, the home of the world’s largest diamond exchange, and the UK, the former colonial power in Zimbabwe – says the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZDMC) will be taken off the EU’s blacklist one month after the vote, expected in July. Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders told press in Brussels on Monday (18 February) that ZDMC will get off the hook automatically, unless all 27 EU countries agree “the elections have not been peaceful, transparent, credible or they have reasonable grounds to believe ZMDC has been involved in activities undermining democracy during the election.”
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.
A number of developing nations have sold or leased much of their farmland to foreign investors. The list is led by Liberia, whose arable land is 100 percent under foreign ownership.
The process is known as “land grabbing,” and it is affecting countries in Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Around half of the farmland of the Philippines is owned by foreign investors. In Ukraine, American companies have secured over one-third of the country’s farmland. Population growth in countries like India and Brazil is driving up demand for cereal crops, and investments in farmlands offer the chance of solid returns.
China’s acquisition of a strategic port in Pakistan is the latest addition to its drive to secure energy and maritime routes and gives it a potential naval base in the Arabian Sea, unsettling India.
The Pakistani cabinet on January 30 approved the transfer of Gwadar port, a commercial failure cut off from the national road network, from Singapore’s PSA International to the state-owned China Overseas Port Holdings Limited. The Pakistanis pitched the deal as an energy and trade corridor that would connect China to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the world’s traded oil, overland through an expanded Karakoram Highway.
For starters the SCS’s geographical location dictates that it is one of the most important bodies of water in the world. Forget the Persian Gulf, because China calls the SCS the “Second Persian Gulf.”
The EIA reports begins: “Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important trade routes in the world. The sea is rich in resources and holds significant strategic and political importance.” More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the Straits of Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok, with the majority continuing on to the SCS.
The disputed Reed Bank in the Spratly Islands is estimated to contain up to 5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, according to a newly published report by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Quoting data from the US Geological Survey, the EIA estimates the disputed Spratly Islands territory may contain significant deposits of undiscovered hydrocarbons. “USGS assessments estimate anywhere between 0.8 and 5.4 (mean 2.5) billion barrels of oil and between 7.6 and 55.1 (mean 25.5) tcf of natural gas in undiscovered resources,” the EIA said in the Feb. 7 report.
French energy giant Arvea operates two uranium mines in Niger – the world’s fifth largest uranium producer – at Arlit and Imouraren. As al-Qaida-linked militant fighters have been driven back into desert and mountains refuges around Kidal by French troops, Paris has sent dozens of special forces reservists to protect Arvea mining sites and secure uranium supplies.Chad is another country that would have potentially suffered from a jihadist takeover in Mali. “Chad is a mayor oil producer and hosts one of the biggest French military bases in Africa. The N’Djamena government is also very close to the French government,” said Bello.
Mining has been part of human life for thousands of years. Its effect – social, economic and ecological – is profound.
The pace of mine development has also accelerated in the past number of years, with the search for new resources intensifying as demand for the staples of industrial production and construction, such as iron, aluminium and copper, soar. It’s also, of course, big money. Countries such as landlocked-Mongolia have been dramatically altered by the rush to carve up the earth.
Israel’s first large gas field, Tamar, is due to begin producing natural gas next April. It is an economic bonanza for the state, and a security nightmare for the navy, tasked with protecting the huge area, much of which is outside Israel’s territorial waters.
“These fields have strategic significance and could be easily a target for our neighbors,” a senior naval official in charge of planning, told The Media Line in an exclusive briefing in his office in Tel Aviv. “Usually to protect an area, we just make a sterile zone around it. But we can’t do that in international territory.”
Japan and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement this weekend that will allow Tokyo to make emergency requests for additional supplies of crude oil, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported in its Feb 8 edition.
The agreement would set up a telephone hotline between the two governments to allow Japan to quickly seek additional oil supplies in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as terrorist attacks, unrest in the Middle East or a spike in the price of oil. Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to sign the pact, Nikkei said.
Cyprus on Wednesday signed an agreement with French energy major Total to conduct exploratory drilling for gas and oil in two blocks off its southern shore. The deal comes as Cyprus aspires to become a regional energy hub with the prospect of oil as well as natural gas being tapped beneath the sea bed. Total signed a deal to exploit blocks 10 and 11 that are adjacent to a large natural gas find in block 12 and said it seeks to proceed in drilling for oil as well as gas reserves in the said blocks.
US Consul General Michael Dodman has said that the US State Department will impose sanctions on Pakistan if it carries on work on the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project. He added it was a clear policy of the US because Iran had violated the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and was continuing nuclear proliferation.
He stated this while talking to selected journalists here at a local hotel on Monday.When asked that Pakistan as an independent country can chalk out a policy which suits it to address the energy crisis, he said that the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project was against the US laws so they will not support Pakistan in this regard.
China announced today that a multi-million dollar deep-sea base will be built off its eastern coast in 2013. The project, worth an estimated 495 million yuan (about $80 million), is said to be for the purpose of mining for rare metals and natural gas deposits in the ocean bed.
What officials did not mention is that the base is just miles from the headquarters of China’s North Sea Fleet, in the coastal city of Qingdao (aka Tsingtao, where the beer gets its name). Qingdao lets out into the Yellow Sea, an area that includes North and South Korea and Japan and poses what some analysts say is one of the world’s worst security dilemmas.
Europe should not worry about bailing out crisis-hit Cyprus because the island’s huge untapped gas reserves will benefit the European Union by making it less dependent on Russian energy, analysts say.
Despite struggling under a Greek-exposed debt mountain, the east Mediterranean island sits on potentially huge energy wealth in excess of 600 billion euros, a Royal Bank of Scotland report said. Cyprus hydrocarbons company chief Charles Ellinas says the island will be exporting to Europe by 2019 with a view to meeting 10 percent of the bloc’s energy needs.
Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.
The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.
Last Friday, the Kurdish regional government stated that it had begun shipping crude oil to Turkey over the past week. That, of course, displeased the Baghdad government, which has now declared that it may seize such unauthorized oil exports and sue companies engaged in such dealings.
The Washington Post reports that the threatening notification was first spotted on the State Oil Marketing Organization’s website. The move will undoubtedly put further pressure on already-strained relations between the Iraqi central government and that of the Kurds—coming shortly after both parties apparently were prepared to go to war and troops were deployed along the internal border just two months ago.
Oystein Michelsen, head of domestic production at the Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA (STO, STL.OS) was all smiles Tuesday, as he handed over to the government the strategically important plans to develop the country’s massive gas export infrastructure into new areas north of the Arctic Circle. “The field is important to maintain our capacity to export gas to Europe. We have falling production on a number of fields; we need to add capacity,” said Mr. Michelsen. “It’s also strategically important for us to shift our activity northwards.”
In November 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jointly addressed the Turkish parliament, an event that buttressed Turkey’s role in the region as an honest broker for peace. The Peres address was the first ever by an Israeli president before a Muslim parliament.
Turkey and Israel at that time were weighing the construction of an “infrastructure corridor” between the port cities of Ceyhan and Haifa, which would have included five separate underwater pipelines for oil, natural gas, electricity, water and communications. There was also speculation that these pipelines could go through Northern Cyprus.
Walking around the Uyuni salt flats, all you see is a dry and crusty white nothingness stretching to the horizon. But underneath this almost-lunar landscape in Bolivia’s Andean plateau is half the world’s lithium – the lightest metal on the planet, used in the batteries that drive a host of modern gadgetry and a potential power source for electric vehicles. Now Bolivia is cashing in on the value to be added to this precious resource, with the opening of the country’s first lithium processing plant.
Rosneft reported one of the largest rises in crude output among the Russian oil majors last year. More crude from state-owned top producer Rosneft kept Russian oil output the highest in the world last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Energy Ministry data showed on Wednesday.
Crude output edged up almost 1% to a new post-Soviet high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), but the increase could halt this year due to depleted oil fields in West Siberia. Russia’s oil output, the world’s largest, edged up almost 1% in 2012 to a new post-Soviet average yearly high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd).
Syrian rebels severed one of the civil war-wracked country’s major natural gas pipelines, state media reported Monday.The Los Angeles Times reported rebels had seized oil fields and attacked other strategic targets in an attempt to deprive the Syrian government of much-needed cash.
The destruction of the pipeline north of the city of Dair Alzour Sunday wiped out production of an estimated 1.5 million cubic meters of natural gas that had fueled fertilizer factors and power generating plants, the Syrian Arab News Agency said.
United States Senator Richard Lugar has urged the Obama administration to break Russia’s energy monopoly in Europe and called on congress to lift limitations on deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in Europe.
His critical report, “Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe”, and the proposed LNG for NATO Act came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline in the Russian Black Sea town of Anapa. Senator Lugar urged the US administration to do more for European energy security by supporting the Southern Corridor from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe.
Russian involvement in natural gas developments in the eastern Mediterranean is motivated by more than a desire for profit or the pursuit of political ends. It is also a defensive action to protect Russia’s national income from competitive supplies of natural gas from new prospective exporters into Europe.
Russia depends on oil and natural gas revenues for at least 70% and perhaps 80% of its federal budget. This causes the Russian government to be vulnerable to declines in international oil and gas prices, to international competition for oil and gas sales, and to disruptions or complications relating to its domestic production and processing.
In 2010, Guinea alone represented over eight percent of total world bauxite production, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have a combined share of 6.7 percent of the total world copper production, and Ghana and Mali together account for 5.8 percent of the total world gold production, while Ethiopia also accounts for one-sixth of the world’s tantalum production.
A World Bank report issued in October claimed consistent high commodity prices and strong export growth show that African countries need to value the economic importance of their unexploited natural resources.
Tanzania and Malawi plan to seek mediation from former heads of state in Southern Africa to help resolve a long-running border dispute over Lake Malawi. The lake is believed to have rich oil and gas reserves.
Foreign ministers of the two countries are scheduled to meet former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, chairman of the forum, on Friday as part of a regional effort to resolve the border impasse.
After the Queen’s visit to the Foreign Office this week, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the southern part of the British Antarctic Territory will now be known, at least on British maps, as “Queen Elizabeth Land”. Within hours of this announcement, made in acknowledgement of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and her service to the country, the story was top of the tweeting trends in the UK.
‘India can expect rising civil unrest as result of massive land grab by investors for commercial projects’
A new research has blamed Indian government agencies and investors for a growing spate of violent clashes in the nation’s forest and tribal areas.
The research, released on the eve of an international conference on land and forest rights, claimed that a massive transfer of resources from the rural poor to investors is underway in India, inciting resistance and conflicts in virtually all states of the country.
American influence is overriding Pakistan’s dignity, sovereignty and interests and being compromised without considering national interests.
Pak-Iran gas pipeline, one of the most vital, yet long-delayed project, which was necessary for the survival of the country had been abandoned ending hopes of revival of shambling economy. Dr Murtaza president of PEW has expressed strong dismay over the project to meet ever-increasing energy requirements is being abandoned over the dictation of Washington
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and a new generation of drug gangs (known locally as “Bacrims”) are increasingly turning to gold mining to finance their terrorist acts, reveals a report released Thursday by political risk firm Exclusive Analysis.
“FARC and drug gang involvement in gold mining increases extortion and property damage risks, particularly in Antioquia and Putumayo,” said Carlos Caicedo, head of Latin America forecasting. The expert says that funds coming from mining operations are now the main income source for the revolutionary groups.
Kyrgyzstan, whose economy heavily depends on a single gold mine’s production and funds sent home by migrant workers and lacks the energy reserves of some of its neighbors, is one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Republics.
Apart from widespread poverty, another key problem in the country is drug trafficking and consumption. The country is situated on the so-called drug trafficking Northern Route, transporting drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe. More than 20 percent of the trafficked drugs remain in Kyrgyzstan.
The competition for Caspian gas supplies is usually seen as a contest between Europe and Russia. China, although acknowledged to play a role, is generally seen to be a marginal player. But at a recent Chatham House event titled Rebalancing the World Energy Markets: The Role of China, Russia and Central Asia it was underscored that Chinese energy demand will have a profound effect on energy markets: in Russia, Central Asia, and Europe. Central Asia is also a vital part of the equation, with one speaker calling it “the fulcrum point” in Russia-China relations.
The Indian Navy is set to partially commission a secretive new strategic base on its east coast next year that will be the home port for its warships that sail to South East Asia, the South China Sea and the Pacific.
Yesterday, navy chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi had said his force was also practising to deploy in waters that China claims in the South China Sea to protect India’s oil interests off the coast of Vietnam.
Canada on Friday allowed a Chinese state-run oil giant to move forward with $15 billion takeover of a domestic energy company, but the government indicated that such deals might not pass muster in the future.
The deal — the acquisition of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or Cnooc — is the latest effort by the Chinese government to find new sources of oil and natural gas reserves to help drive the country’s growth. The state-run Cnooc has been active, striking several partnerships in Canada and the United States.
Today, as the U.S. forges closer regional alliances, critics worry that it will again team up with unreliable governments and police and military institutions with troubling human rights records, a kind of rerun of the 1980s.
Those concerns have served to limit the expansion of U.S. involvement. That, in turn, has prompted criticism that the U.S. is not doing enough, given the severity of the problems. U.S. officials estimate that 84% of U.S.-bound cocaine passes through Central America.
China is muscling into Iraq’s oil sector as Baghdad grapples with defections by international majors like Exxon Mobil and Chevron of the United States and France’s Total. This is part of Beijing’s drive to secure oil and natural gas resources in the Middle East and Africa as U.S. influences wanes.
China’s clout in Iraq, along with other parts of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, is bound to increase as the Americans’ diminishes.
The Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus had long been looking for appropriate international conditions to begin prospecting for petrol and natural gas and speeded these operations up after becoming a member of the EU in 2004. It prepared the way legally by signing exclusive economic zone agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel and then waited for a propitious set of circumstances to begin drilling. Just around this time in 2010, Israel announced that it had discovered about 685 billion m3 of natural gas in its Tamar and Leviathan fields.
We are just north of the Amazon Basin, riding a boat on the Ikabaru River. The passengers are people who buy gold and diamonds. They stop at each of the illegal mines that appear as craters on the river’s edge. They carry small weighing scales that seem very accurate, magnifying loupes, burners to melt the gold and separate the mercury, and some large spoons to collect it. They are also carrying bags full of cash.
The United Arab Emirates has laid down a 400 km pipeline from Habshan fields in Abu Dhabi to Fujairah terminal on the Gulf of Oman, which has the capacity of exporting 2 million barrels oil per day to Asian markets in case of any disruption in its shipment from the Strait of Hormuz.
The UAE has started using the new pipeline in July this year, which was constructed by China from which three fourth of the country’s production of oil can be exported, which is about 2 million barrels a day. The UAE is also increasing Fujairah’s storage and off-loading capacities.
Sri Lanka, the “pearl” of the Indian Ocean, is strategically located within the east-west international shipping passageway. Like the old Silk Road that stretched from the ancient Chinese capital of Xian all the way to ancient Rome, modern China’s strategic and commercial supply line extends over the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea to include the focal transit port of Sri Lanka at the southern tip of India. Today, over 85 percent of China’s energy imports from the Middle East and mineral resources from Africa transit through Sri Lanka and other so-called “string of pearls” ports.
The recent increase of Iraqi troops in resource-rich contested areas is fuelling fears that the subsequent escalation of tension could develop into full-scale war between the Shiite Iraqi government and the area known as Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iraqi encroachment on the city of Kirkuk is one of the reasons for the recent escalation as the Kurdistan Regional Government has issued a number of statements compelling Iraq to back away from this area, threatening war should it continue with its current aggressive policy.
This week, Robele Ababya wrote a piece titled “Likely war over the Blue Nile River?” that highlighted the growing concern in Ethiopia over the future of Egypt’s tenuous democracy that has seen massive unrest in recent days.
Ababya wrote: “The matter is so serious that I gave it a rather scary title after a lot of soul-searching, but the arrogant stance of prominent Egyptian leaders begged for it as mentioned in the paragraph below – notwithstanding my long held dream that democratic Ethiopia and Egypt will one day emerge as powerful allies working together as keepers of stability and engines of economic growth in the region and beyond in the African continent.”
THE ex-Soviet states of Central Asia are engaged in an increasingly bitter standoff over water resources, adding another element of instability to the volatile region neighbouring Afghanistan.
Plans in mountainous but energy-poor Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for two of the world’s biggest hydro-electric power stations have enraged their powerful downstream neighbour Uzbekistan which fears losing valuable water. Russia as well as the other Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also being pulled into a dispute which dates back to the allocation of resources when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.
In Greece, the state-owned energy industry is for sale. Under pressure from the EU, the government their majority in the Greek gas company Depa, the gas network operator DESFA and participation in the oil company Hellenic Petroleum (Elpe) sell. The Russians are in addition to Japanese, Italians and Azerbaijanis to the main bidders.
Gazprom has long been in the Greek business. There were Russians who built the gas pipeline from Bulgaria south to Athens. Today, the Russian monopoly supplies three quarters of Greek natural gas imports.
Iran agreed with Venezuela on Monday to build some oil reservoirs and refineries in the Latin American country, semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
Iran has inked agreements with Venezuela to invest 200 million U.S. dollars in building four reservoirs for storing oil products. In addition, Iran will design and construct some small refineries in Venezuela, Fars News Agency said.
The race for a share of the enormous reservoirs of fossil fuel — an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil alone — beneath Greenland’s ice sheet in the Arctic Circle is heating up. Some four years after the US Geological Survey came out with its estimates of huge oil and gas reserves in the region, periodically, in ways big and small, the stakes are being raised by the “Arctic Five”.
China’s natural enemies are mainly regional rivals with competing resource claims, for instance over water, territory, fishing rights and the treatment of Chinese immigrants. The good news for the West is that these problems are concentrated geographically around China. The bad news is that the West will naturally be dragged in as a counterweight to Chinese power. This, of course, is happening already: for the last 20 years or so, the West has sided with the Japanese, South Korean, and Indian militaries in disputes against China.
Israel, Greece and Cyprus are to set up working groups to examine the possibility of a power cable and an energy corridor connecting the countries. This was agreed at a meeting held today in Cyprus between Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau, the Cypriot minister of industry and commerce and the Greek deputy energy minister.
The energy corridor is intended to enable future exports of gas from Israeli and Cypriot reserves to Greece via a pipeline, liquefaction installation, or other technology.
Strategic oil reserves will be needed if Iran seeks to close the choke point Strait of Hormuz because overland pipelines can only carry one-third of the oil supplies that move through the waterway, an Arab energy group has warned.
The reduction in oil exports from the gulf, as well as a complete halt to natural gas shipments, an Iranian closure, even one lasting a few weeks, will batter the global economy by sending energy prices soaring unless steps are taken to ensure that the shortfall is covered.
The Caspian Sea region is an often-overlooked one, compared to the Middle East, when assessing the antagonisms of world powers. However, this hinterland of Eurasia is of great importance for a whole range of issues.
The Caspian Sea dominates on a geo-economic level Central Asia, Caucasus, Southern Russia and the upper part of the Middle East. More than 10 billion tons of oil reserves are to be found there along with trillions of cubic meters of natural gas, most of them still unexplored or underdeveloped.
Mali’s vast potential wealth lies in mining, agricultural commodities and oil. And these proven reserves are not currently exploited. Interestingly enough, Ghana and Mali together account for 5.8 percent of total world gold production. These assets are the true focus of US and UK interests in Africa – not humanitarian concerns.
In August, the state-owned China National Gold Corporation announced a $3.9 billion bid to acquire African Barrick Gold, Tanzania’s largest gold miner — a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp (ABX).China seems to have the Midas touch in Africa, steadily turning vast natural resource wealth into gold through investments in oil, gas, and mineral projects around the continent.
What happened in the ME is that we also supported dictators – we supported Mubarak, we supported the Saudi royal family which is a very totalitarian Government, we supported the King of Jordan…Iran. And so through their support of these dictators they were able to suppress any pro-democracy movement that might be inclined to nationalize, their fear was that some of these countries would elect a pro-democratic government that would want to nationalize their oil industry.
The idea of building a commercially and politically viable gas pipeline from Russia’s Sakhalin Island fields across North Korea to provide a long-term supply to South Korea has been percolating for years as an enticing potential win-win-win for all three countries. The underlying logic of mutual economic gain and potential stabilizing benefits of energy interdependence has kept open the channels for consultation among the parties
Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s number-one oil producer. As of last week, that title belongs to Putin Oil Corp – oh, whoops. I mean the title belongs to Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company.
Rosneft is buying TNK-BP, which is a vertically integrated oil company co-owned by British oil firm BP and a group of Russian billionaires known as AAR. One of the top-ten privately owned oil producers in the world, in 2010 TNK-BP churned out 1.74 million barrels of oil equivalent per day from its assets in Russia and Ukraine and processed almost half that amount through its refineries.
For decades, almost half of Germany’s gold has been stored deep below the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Now, with the euro crisis swirling, German politicians are asking their central bankers to take stock of the reserves. Some even say that the gold should be shipped home.
The world’s markets may believe that the worst of the financial crisis in Europe is over after three turbulent years, but those people who control the purse strings of the world’s businesses are not breathing any easier. An annual survey of finance directors from global business consultancy BDO finds that the crisis over too much government debt in Europe remains one of their key concerns — so much so that Greece is considered a riskier place to invest and set up business in than war-torn Syria.
According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), Vietnam now ranks third in terms of proven oil reserves for the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam held 4.4 billion barrels (bbl) of proven oil reserves as of January 2012, a marked increase over its 0.6 bbl in 2011. The increase is in part a result of Vietnam’s exploration and development efforts of its offshore fields. Experts claim that as Vietnam intensifies its exploration activities the figure will increase since Vietnam’s waters remain largely under explored.
Over 160 promising oil and gas fields, 60 of which are currently being developed, have been discovered in Turkmenistan, the representatives of the national fuel and energy complex said on Friday at an investment forum in Ashgabat.
As noted, Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world on the natural gas reserves. Its total geological reserves are estimated at 71.21 billion tons of standard fuel, with 53 billion tons of the resources and reserves of onshore fields, and 18.21 billion tons falling to the share of offshore fields.