In addition to being a major market for energy supplies, Turkey’s role as an energy transit hub is increasingly important. Turkey is a key part of oil and natural gas supplies movement from Russia, the Caspian region, and the Middle East to Europe. The country has been a major transit point for seaborne-traded oil and is becoming more important for pipeline-traded oil and natural gas. Growing volumes of Russian and Caspian oil are being sent by tanker via the Turkish Straits to Western markets.
Much to the chagrin of the United States, China has the innate ability to negotiate major energy deals in the midst of conflict. PetroChina’s state-run parent company, China National Petroleum, or CNPC, was the first oil company to secure a contract in the Iraqi oil fields following the fall of Saddam Hussein, and today both it and CNOOC are two of the most active oil comapnies there. With Russia and the West at a standstill over the recent events in Ukraine, it appears that CNPC is about to seal another energy coup.
“Egypt plans to take actions to escalate the situation against Ethiopia,” said a western diplomat in Cairo, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But the exact implications of these actions [are] still unclear.” Egypt’s main concern is water security, as the country faces a future of increasing scarcity. Nearly all of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile, and its population of 83 million is growing at nearly two percent annually.
Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East. The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.
U.S. producers have signed contracts to supply Asian LNG buyers, including GAIL India Ltd., Korea Gas Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co., at prices that undercut what Qatar is being paid. Canada, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania also plan new LNG export plants, according to Bloomberg Industries data. “The global LNG market is going to loosen, and that has a big impact for the Qataris,” says Trevor Sikorski, a gas, coal and carbon analyst at consulting firm Energy Aspects Ltd. in London.
The project involves building a wall running perpendicular from the coast and then branching off into a T, extending around 20 miles and studded with turbines that would channel and concentrate the power of tidal water. Beijing provided $3.3 million for feasibility studies that are under way in China. Construction is at least a decade away, though initial findings suggest that shallow waters on the Chinese, Korean and European coasts could be suitable.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday the European Union should form an energy union to bolster its energy security and lessen its dependence on key gas supplier Russia whose annexation of Crimea has caused a tense stand-off with the West. Russia, which provides around one third of the EU’s oil and gas, sent shockwaves through the international community with its military intervention and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula two weeks ago.
Maybe God has a soft spot for pirates. That would explain the Strait of Malacca, a natural paradise for seafaring bandits. Imagine an aquatic highway flowing between two marshy coasts. One shoreline belongs to Malaysia, the other to Indonesia. Each offers a maze of jungly hideaways: inlets and coves that favor pirates’ stealth vessels over slow, hulking ships. It’s a narrow route running 550 miles, roughly the distance between Miami and Jamaica.
The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has earned 12 billion dollars from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline since 2005 when oil from Baku was first pumped, Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz said on Monday.
During his speech in the Turkish province of Adana, Yildiz underlined the importance of BTC pipeline for the region and stated that TPAO has 6.5 percent of the shares in the BTC crude oil pipeline.
Libyan troops fought with rebels occupying oil ports on Saturday after fighters attacked an army base where military reinforcements were preparing for an offensive to break the blockade, local residents said. The central government in Tripoli gave Jathran a two-week deadline on March 12 to end a blockade of three oil ports or face a military assault.
Last Sunday, US forces stormed a tanker that had made it as far as the eastern Mediterranean after loading crude at one of three ports Jahtran’s men have occupied.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia have soured since Ethiopia began construction on the 4.2 billion dollar Grand Renaissance Dam in 2011. Egypt fears the new dam, slated to begin operation in 2017, will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, which 85 million Egyptians rely on for almost all of their water needs. Officials in the Ministry of Irrigation claim Egypt will lose 20 to 30 percent of its share of Nile water and nearly a third of the electricity generated by its Aswan High Dam
The Siberian land mass is officially 52,000 square kilometres bigger after an enclave in the Sea of Okhotsk was recognised as part of Russia’s continental shelf. The decision comes from the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The treasure trove includes hydrocarbon resources exceeding one billion tonnes, believes Donskoy.
As political violence in Venezuela rolls on, Cubans say they are hearing reports that Havana is making energy or military preparations for a possible disruption of its tight alliance with the South American nation. Cuba’s stagnant economy depends overwhelmingly on Venezuelan subsidies estimated at well over $6 billion a year — even more than the former Soviet Union once provided to the Caribbean island.
There is a tongue-in-cheek saying in America — attributed to Mark Twain, who lived through the early phase of the California water wars — that “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” Sanaa in Yemen risks becoming the first capital city to run out of water. If Bangladesh bears the main impact of China’s damming of River Brahmaputra, the resulting exodus of thirsty refugees will compound India’s security challenges.
Australia has committed to purchasing the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, its prime minister said on Thursday, continuing a trend amongst Asia-Pacific nations to protect commercial maritime interests amid rising regional tensions. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Australia will acquire an undisclosed number of the surveillance aircraft once they become available. The U.S. Navy is still testing the Triton and has plans to buy 68, with the first due in service in 2017.
Its location on the Han River helped give Danjiangkou the seeming good fortune to be chosen as a keystone in China’s solution to a worsening water crisis. Starting next year, about 9.5 billion cubic meters (335.5 billion cubic feet) of water from the Danjiangkou Reservoir will travel from here to over 100 cities—including Beijing—in northern China, where water is scarcer than in the south. Signs in the town proclaim it to be the “fount head” of the central route of the South-North Water Diversion Project (SNWDP).
India is contemplating energy pipelines from the Gulf again — this time running under the sea, rather than traversing Pakistan. With international sanctions on Iran fading as a result of a nuclear agreement, an energy pipeline may be the most positive regional consequence. The new plan proposes to transport oil and natural gas through deep sea pipelines via Oman in a process where Iran, and even Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan energy can feed the pipeline for an ever-growing Indian market. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s foreign minister, raised the possibility with Salman Khurshid during their meeting on Friday.
“Military officials in Zimbabwe said details of the airbase plan were sketchy and mostly classified due to the veil of secrecy around President Robert Mugabe’s relationship with China’s Red Army. A sizeable number of Chinese troops are reported to have their boots on the ground in the Marange diamond fields, which have since been cordoned off as a high level security zone,” said the publication. It added that a senior Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) officer based in Harare confirmed that there were rumours of the impending establishment of the airstrip as a “follow up to a military treaty signed between China and Zimbabwe in July 2005”.
Recent news Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were planning to sell off their raw uranium supplies has put a spotlight on Russian nuclear deals that went relatively unnoticed in the West. An investment strategist observed recent Russian nuclear deals including a pact with Sri Lanka are part of a greater geopolitical game to lockup the market for nuclear fuel, which may increase global uranium prices. Marin Katusa, Chief Investment Strategist at Casey Research says Russian nuclear pacts with Sri Lanka, Hungary, Belarus and the Middle East go beyond nuclear fuel sales.
The military build-up in the Arctic is underway. In 2014 Russia will create a new military structure, which will be called the Northern Fleet – United Strategic Command (NF-USC). General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces informed that the mission of the new unit would be the protection of Russian national interests in the Arctic. The active work in this direction started last year, after President Putin’s televised appeal to the Minister of Defense “to pay special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic.”
Russian energy giant Gazprom provided a record share of 29.9% of gas supplies to the European and Turkish markets in 2013. Gazprom broke a record set in 2011 of 150 billion cubic meters of gas, or a share of 27%, according to reports of Interfax, as cited by dnevnik.bg. The data is provided in a prospectus published due to a new Eurobond issue by Gazprom. The document cites an official evaluation of Gazprom of the European gas market in 2013, which amounted to 451 bcm, of which Gazprom supplied 161.5 bcm.
Offshore exploration areas patrolled by the IAF are located within the Israeli Economical Exclusion Zone (EEZ) spanning up to 200 miles from the israeli coastline and adjacent to the Cypriot EEZ. Aircraft patrolling these areas could benefit from a landing base in Cyprus in case of emergency, or when required to maintain persistent surveillance over remote areas. Israel is operating on maritime patrol missions the Sea-Scan maritime patrol aircraft, S-365 Dolphin helicopters helicopters and Heron-I unmanned aerial vehicles.
A host of Ethiopian army commanders have voiced their readiness to protect the country’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project, currently at the heart of a major row with Cairo due to Egyptian fears the dam could threaten its traditional share of Nile water. State-run television reported that military commanders had visited the project site, during which they had voiced their readiness to “pay the price” to protect the dam, which they described as a “national project.” According to state television, the visit – the first by military commanders to the site – came as part of activities marking Ethiopia’s Army Day.
Syria’s new 25-year energy deal with Russia, a key ally of embattled President Bashar Assad, could open the way for Moscow’s eventual move into the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean. The Dec. 25 agreement gives Russia’s state-controlled Soyuzneftegas exclusive exploration, development and production rights over 850 square miles of Syria’s Exclusive Economic Zone in an area known as Block 2 roughly between the coastal cities of Banias and Tartous. The deal gives the Russians, one of the world’s leading energy producers, their first real foothold in the Levant Basin, considered to be rich in natural gas.
Western militaries may lose access to critical materials needed for weapons and other systems, because of the growing demand for new technologies, questionable supply lines and production in unfriendly or dangerous countries, NATO documents show. “Key strategic materials are those that are crucial in the manufacture of sophisticated military hardware or components such as airframes, gas turbines, rocket motors, munitions, armor and electronics,” according to a newly released NATO request for information. “These materials are becoming increasingly scarce.”
China appears to be buying an expensive insurance policy for natural gas imports from Central Asia with its plans to build a pipeline through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Since 2006, China has invested heavily in developing gas imports from Turkmenistan, opening its Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CAGP) across Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan at the end of 2009. So far, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) has built two strands of the CAGP and plans to complete a third on the 2,000-kilometer (1,242-mile) route to Xinjiang this year.
Iran, China and Russia are apparently one force against the US and its allies and want Pakistan to strengthen its ties with Tehran whereas Washington is pressing Islamabad to purchase gas from Qatar and Turkmenistan to meet domestic needs. In this scenario, two blocs are in the process of making – one comprising Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China if the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project gets under way. Russia and China are in favour of Pakistan opt for this project According to experts, the US wants to strengthen ties among Pakistan, Afghanistan and India by pushing them to work on the Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
Iran and Iraq – at least theoretically – hold considerable reserves of crude oil and jointly have the potential to match Riyadh’s crude output capacity. The US’ EIA says that Saudi Arabia has a proven oil reserve of about 267 billion barrels, far ahead of Iran’s 151 billion barrels worth of reserves and Iraq’s 143 billion barrels of proven reserves. But combined, Iran and Iraq would have the capacity to possibly shift the balance of power, as this could challenge Riyadh’s capacity to stabilize the markets. And this carries ominous consequences too – for the global crude markets – some are now arguing.
A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. A European law is being drafted whose original aim was to prevent corporate money-laundering. The objective, supported by the UK, was to force companies to disclose on a register the money and other assets held inside trusts or equivalent legal arrangements.
Oman, which faces Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, said it’s poised to start raising cash for a $3 billion rail line offering an alternative route for oil and freight shipments that funnel through the 21 mile-wide channel. By circumventing the Strait of Hormuz the railway would dilute the impact of further closure threats to a waterway through which some 20 percent of crude supplies pass to reach global markets, equal to 35 percent of seaborne traded oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Turkish Naval Forces directed a warship to intervene in the seismic exploration being carried out by a Norwegian ship that had entered a Turkish naval authorization zone off the southern part of Cyprus on Saturday.The Norwegian ship was operating on behalf of Greek Cyprus in its search for oil and gas in the east Mediterranean. Turkey does not recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign country and insists that the Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas flouts the rights of Turkish Cypriots to any gas-generated wealth while undermining negotiations to reunify the island.
After running one of the world’s biggest and most controversial private military groups, Blackwater founder Erik Prince is starting a new venture providing logistics for oil and mining companies in remote and dangerous parts of Africa. China is increasingly looking to Africa to meet its ever growing demand for natural resources. Trade between the two reached an estimated $200 billion (121 billion pounds) this year. With 85 percent of Chinese imports from the continent being oil or minerals, Prince sees an opportunity.
Members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum discussed setting up a common bank to finance joint investment projects, the new head of the group said. The bank was discussed at an earlier meeting of the 13-nation group and “has not been followed up recently,” Iran’s Mohammad Hossein Adeli said in interview today from the group’s headquarters in Qatar’s capital Doha. “The idea of helping each other in investment, in financing projects, and in long-term plans for investment is something that has already come up,” he said.
Hard to believe that our mundane social media banter could have an impact on the civil war raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than a decade. The problem isn’t the content of these messages, it’s the devices used to send them. Smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices often have electrical components made from so-called “conflict minerals”—gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten—taken from mines in the DRC, where armed groups take a cut of the profits to fund their violent campaigns.
Argentina will seek legal punishment, including prison sentences, for anyone who drills for oil in the Falklands and the surrounding waters it claims as its territories, the country’s newly created Malvinas secretary has told the Guardian. “We will go to the international courts. It must be known that Argentina will defend its claim,” Filmus told the Guardian at his office in the ministry of foreign affairs. “Whoever doesn’t obtain authorisation will not only face administrative consequences but will also face prison sentences.”
There is a breakout of new rebel petro-states, but the mother countries are fighting back: Baghdad says it will sue anyone who buys unauthorized oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, and Libya has threatened to sink any tanker attempting to load crude from its insurgent east. The brinksmanship challenges a more or less iron-clad rule of energy—regardless of the obstacles thrown in its way, oil almost always finds its way to market. To the degree the trouble goes on, oil prices are likely to continue to gyrate because of the loss of crude supplies to the market. But the local hunger for oil revenue may lead to compromise.
Militias in eastern Libya said this week they would sell oil from seized facilities to foreign companies and protect arriving tankers, leaving government officials scrambling to keep the country unified as multiple groups demand autonomy and threaten to pull the country apart. As Tripoli has steadily lost ground in certain quadrants of the country’s east, rebels have put the nation at risk economically. Libyan oil revenue is already down because of the capture of three port terminals in August. The insecurity in the east and the disruptions in Libyan oil exportation are putting the government in a precarious position.
When a Chinese businessman first approached Malagasy farmer Jean Manantsoa, 47, in April last year with an offer to lease his family rice fields, Manantsoa had no idea of the untapped pockets of potential natural wealth beneath. The Chinese lied to the villagers. Feeling pressured by the representative of the company, Madagascar Southern Petroleum Company (MSPC), Jean signed an open-ended lease for five million Malagasy ariary a year (£1,420). He received the first year’s payment but nothing this year even eight months after the 1 April deadline.
The stakes could not be higher for China, the largest investor in South Sudan’s oil sector, as fierce fighting continues between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of his former deputy. Some of the largest oil fields China operates are in areas controlled by fighters backing Riek Machar, the country’s vice-president until he was sacked in July. Oil production has already dropped by 20% since the onset of the conflict three weeks ago and more than 300 Chinese workers have been evacuated. The spectre of their Libyan experience also weighs heavily on the Chinese minds.
Although the garments are destined for the US, Europe and Japan, South Korean companies reap much of the financial gain, playing the role of middleman between laborers and Western brands. Korean-owned factories employ legions of low-wage workers, churning out clothing for fashion-hungry markets. Now, South Korea has emerged as a behind-the-scenes actor in the crackdown. The embassy admits that in recent weeks it has been running a backdoor campaign to protect Korean business interests. This campaign has included turning to the brutal and battle-hardened Cambodian military to implement security measures.
The west’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint cheaply is fuelling a dirty war in Honduras, where US-backed security forces are implicated in the murder, disappearance and intimidation of peasant farmers involved in land disputes with local palm oil magnates. More than 100 people have been killed in the past four years, many assassinated by death squads operating with near impunity in the heavily militarised Bajo Aguán region, where 8,000 Honduran troops are deployed, according to activists. Farmers’ leader Antonio Martínez, 28, is the latest victim of this conflict. His corpse was discovered, strangled, in November.
Sudan and South Sudan have begun talks to deploy a joint force to protect oilfields in the South threatened by rebels, Sudan’s foreign minister says. The news comes after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir flew to South Sudan to discuss the unrest there with his counterpart, Salva Kiir. At least 1,000 people have been killed since violence erupted on December 15. Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced in the conflict, which has taken on ethnic undertones. President Kiir is from the majority Dinka community while his rival Dr Riek Machar is from the Nuer group.
Somaliland:A Special Paramilitary Unit known as the “oil protection unit” Formed to Guard oil installations
“The introduction of the special trained and equipped units whose mission is to guard and protect oil installations and Genel personnel in order to fulfill our shared aims”, stated the Energy minister. We shall work with our partners we shall embark on a major public awareness and engagement with the community and to establish a security protective force known (oil protection unit) as the to protect to ensure the safety of Genel employees while performing their job before any major operation begins.
China stepped up its engagement with South Sudan this year, pledging $43 million (€31.5 million) to conduct a geological study to help the Juba government allocate mining licences in its efforts to map the country’s mineral resources. South Sudanese officials believe the oil-rich new nation also has unexplored deposits of gold, diamonds, copper, uranium, manganese and iron ore. Earlier this year, South Sudan introduced a mining law aimed at drawing foreign investment but it will take time to develop the sector because of the absence of almost any infrastructure or geological surveys.
Sources told The Express Tribune that a Pakistani delegation recently attended a meeting of the SCO in Moscow that formed the energy club. Under this forum, Pakistan is expected to get financing for gas import projects like the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and LNG supplies to overcome the energy crisis. According to sources, all member countries of the energy club would give their inputs, which would be picked by donor nations for financial support.
The Israeli navy is getting two German-built frigates under a $1.37 billion contract that will build up its maritime firepower, officials said. Their primary mission is expected to be protecting the Jewish state’s rich natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. The warships, which the Israelis are expected to pack with their own weapons and electronic systems, such as the Barak 8 medium-range air defense system produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be the most advanced surface vessels in the Israeli navy. The frigates will reinforce three advanced Super Dvora Mark III missile corvettes, known as Sa’ar 5s, currently on order from state-run IAI’s shipyards in Haifa.
The story of Western Sahara is one riddled with injustice and cruelty, but its latest chapter is particularly shameful. On Tuesday, International Human Rights Day, the European Parliament voted to approve an agreement that not only provides moral cover for the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, it provides material support for it. The EU agreement grants access to Moroccan waters for European fishing companies, the majority of them Spanish, in return for payments of around $55m. It also provides access, in direct contravention of a UN legal counsel statement from 2002, to Western Sahara’s waters.
The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has approved a deal to sell the country’s debt-ridden natural gas monopoly to Russia’s state energy company Gazprom for $1. The decision, backed by 78 deputies in the 120-seat parliament, hands Moscow control over a strategic asset in the Central Asian state in exchange for a guaranteed supply of fuel. Under the agreement, Gazprom will gain control over pipelines, gas distribution stations and underground storage facilities owned by Kyrgyzgaz.
Canada intends to lay claim to the North Pole as part of a bid to assert control over a large part of the resource-rich Arctic, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Monday. Baird said Canada had filed a preliminary submission to a special United Nations commission collecting competing claims and would be submitting more data later. The move could raise tensions with Denmark and Russia, both of which also look set to lay claim to the North Pole on the grounds it lies on a continental shelf they control.
Earlier in October, Putin stated strongly that Russia would never “surrender” its Arctic area. Indeed, Temp airfield located on Kotelny Island, the largest of Russian islands in Novosiberian region, is being reactivated. The airfield has been operational beginning in 1949 then, 20 years ago, its activity was suspended, and the infrastructures preserved for future use. Since then, Russian policy towards Arctic has become more aggressive and one of the elements of that policy is to reinstate the aforementioned airfield for Russian Air Force planes.
Yemen is looking to become the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) latest member, adding that Sana’a has widely benefited from taking part on the sidelines of Gulf summits for the past seven years. The foreign minister also said that Yemen has laid out a number of risks and security concerns facing the country, which include the flow of refugees from the Horn of Africa and al-Qaeda’s infiltration in the country, pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported. Kurbi also said that his country needs assistance to secure an important corridor that links the East and the West in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb.
The Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) will have a huge impact on Europe if Turkmenistan and Iraq also become suppliers, energy expert and vice director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies Paolo Magri told AA. When asked whether the recent deal between Iranians and the UN Security Council’s permanent members and Germany (P5+1 countries) will lead to Iran also becoming a TANAP supplier, Magri expressed it is too early to make assessments on the matter.“Iranian oil was extremely relevant to Europe. Sanctions are preventing us from importing. If Iran comes to back to the market, it will be a big support to these corridors,” he said.
Gulf oil producers expect the resurgence in Iraqi exports to cause fierce competition to sell to Asian markets, which may put pressure on prices in the coming months especially with oil production rising in the U.S. and possibly more Iranian crude on the world markets if sanctions are eased, OPEC officials said Tuesday. “Everyone is looking at Asia at the moment to secure deals because demand for our crude in the U.S. will drop sooner or later and Asian markets are our safe haven. Iraq is already trying to undercut Gulf producers there,” said a Gulf delegate at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The Chinese, investing heavily in Africa to secure its oil and other raw materials for their expanding economy, are spearheading a new era of railroad building to unlock the continent’s interior. This is an echo of the long-gone colonial empires when a century ago British and French engineers first opened up Africa to plunder its riches. The railroad frenzy is being accompanied by a massive push to build several major ports along the coast of East Africa to accelerate exports across the Indian Ocean, mostly to China, India and Japan, as well as lay down a network of oil and gas pipelines to these ports.
An uncomfortable prospect for global exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will unfold in India this week — buyers from countries that import 70 percent of the world’s LNG will meet to discuss how to get a better deal. …The meetings may herald the early stages of an Asian buyers’ club for natural gas in supercooled form transported on ships. Should such a grouping gain traction, a historical precedent would be the formation of the International Energy Agency, which was set up by western economies to counter OPEC after the first oil shock in the 1970s.
The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China’s Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bihar in Northern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region. This interconnectedness would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, minimise overland trade obstacles, ensure greater market access and increase multilateral trade. Leaders hope the economic corridor will bring back to the days of the ancient Silk Road and its south-western trade route.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) may price its crude oil futures contract in yuan and use medium sour crude as its benchmark, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals. China, which overtook the United States as the world’s top oil importer in September, hopes the contract will become a benchmark in Asia and has said it would allow foreign investors to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary. “China is the only country in the world that is a major crude producer, consumer and a big importer.
Unprecedented plans by an international oil consortium to drill in waters off the disputed Western Sahara are making waves, with activists warning the move could scupper chances of resolving the conflict. The region remains bitterly contested, nearly 40 years after its annexation by Morocco, a move never recognised by the international community. A surge of interest in its potential subsea riches, coupled with Morocco’s unaffordable energy bills, has pushed oil exploration up the agenda, threatening to enflame tensions if any discoveries are made.
Although the term “energy security” is now ubiquitous in political speeches and the media, international relations scholars have only just begun to rediscover the topic after a 30-year hiatus. The 1970s oil shocks prompted a wave of research in the 1970s and 1980s but did not produce systematic theories about oil and war. Emerging scholarship assesses the potential threats to energy-importing countries and examines how energy security issues shape importers’ foreign policies, including their decisions to use military force.
It was 1993, and Shahid Javed Burki, then director of the World Bank’s China operations and later Pakistan’s caretaker finance minister, was calling on the then vice-premier in Beijing. China’s “all-weather friend” is an integral part of its “look west” policy to find economic sustenance for landlocked western provinces. This is why China in 1986 started working on a 600-kilometre highway across the Karakoram mountain range connecting Kashgar in Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s northeast.
In a statement certain to be ignored, Greece has urged Turkey to comply with international law and to withdraw its occupying forces from Cyprus, where they have had a presence since seizing the territory in 1974. “The international community, with the exception of Turkey, respects the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and confirms with every opportunity that the proclamation of the breakaway state is legally invalid,” the statement said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in South Korea on Wednesday to push a pet project for a new major trading route linking Asia and Europe by rail that requires prying open North Korea. Putin hopes his brief visit will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project, which envisages an ‘Iron Silk Road’ uniting the rail networks of South and North Korea and connecting them to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Russia took a first step in September, when it completed a 54-kilometre track from its southeast border town of Khasan to the North Korean port of Rajin.
Iran will lead a club of the world’s biggest natural gas exporters as its own shipments abroad are hampered by U.S. and European Union sanctions that force the country to burn off billions of dollars worth of the fuel. Mohammad Hossein Adeli, the country’s former deputy foreign minister, was elected secretary-general of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, whose 13 member countries hold 60 percent of the world’s reserves, the group said in a statement. Adeli, vowed to turn the Persian nation into a “major player among the gas exporting countries,” he told reporters after a group meeting in Tehran.
France receives almost 80% of its energy from nuclear power, more than any other country in the world. The state-owned energy giant, Areva, which mines for uranium and builds and operates nuclear plants, gets a third of its uranium (French) from two mines in Niger, where it is the second largest employer after the state. Later this year, Areva is expected to begin extracting uranium from a site called Imouraren, which is thought to contain the second largest uranium deposit in the world.
The 2014 budget unveiled last week by tiny East Timor is a $1.5bn spending plan funded almost exclusively – 95 percent – by lucrative oil and gas revenues. One of the fastest-growing budgets in the world in recent years, it ballooned from $64m in 2004 to $604m in 2009.
That the budget depends on a single, finite resource that could be depleted in a generation has some worrying the country may fall victim to the same “resource curse” that has seen other developing countries lose their wealth to inexperience, mismanagement and corruption.
The U-S.-led shale boom will have a lasting impact on global energy prices and push crude oil prices down to $80 a barrel, according to an analysis by Germany’s BND intelligence agency obtained by Reuters on Thursday. The BND said the U.S. shale boom would have a greater impact on global markets than it predicted in a previous analysis earlier this year. The effects from the unconventional production of oil and natural gas in the United States will be pronounced over the next 10 to 20 years,” the report said.
The possibility of a new “gas war” between Russia and Ukraine inched closer on Tuesday, as the Russian state energy giant Gazprom complained that Kiev had outstanding debts of over half a billion pounds and demanded swift payment. Gazprom’s concern comes a month before Ukraine is due to sign up for closer ties with the European Union, a deal that has infuriated the Kremlin. The complaint brought back memories of crises in 2006 and 2009 in which Russia turned off the gas to Ukraine, leaving many European nations that rely on pipelines passing through the country without energy in the middle of winter.
French nuclear energy giant Areva signed a deal with Mongolia’s state-owned Mon-Atom on Saturday to develop two uranium mines in the Gobi desert, officials said. Areva said in a statement that the agreement would create a company that would be 66 percent owned by Areva and 34 owned by Mon-Atom, and that Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation would take an equity interest. Further details of the deal, which was signed during a visit to Mongolia by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, were not immediately announced.
Algeria plays a critical role in the international oil and gas market. It is the third largest natural gas producer in the Arab world after Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the leading gas exporter in Africa and an energy supplier to France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, US and China. The EIA estimates Algerian proven crude oil reserves at 12.2 billion barrels but its real geological prize is its 160 trillion cubic feet reserves of natural gas. Opec economists in the Vienna secretariat estimate that Algeria could well double its oil and gas production in the next decade.
China’s global hunt for crucial energy supplies is taking it into America’s backyard, with two Chinese state firms winning production rights to a multi-billion-barrel deepwater oilfield off Brazil. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) each took a 10 per cent stake in Brazil’s “Libra” field, alongside three other companies, at an auction on Monday. Beijing is seeking oil, natural gas and other raw materials to keep the world’s second largest economy moving. “Everyone is scrambling for resources worldwide,”
Indeed, China is the first-mover in the Afghan resource space, having won the massive copper concession at Aynak in Logan Province — with routes to the mining project patrolled up by US and British troops — and China oil giant CNPC pumping the first Afghan crude under a 25-year contract, concluded in late 2011. Most recently, Chinese President Xi Jing Ping declared 2014 a “key year” for Afghan-Chinese relations, and when Xi met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leader’s two advisors were the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Mines and Petroleum.
Russian army special forces units have had their first training sessions in Arctic warfare, under plans to boost the country’s military presence in the region, a Western Military District spokesman said. Russia has officially set itself the goal of deploying a combined-arms force by 2020, including military, border, and coast guard units, to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic and boost Russia’s military security. According to the Russian military, two arctic brigades will be deployed in Russia’s extreme north over the next few years.
To date, China occupies more than 20,000 square kilometer of Gilgit-Baltistan covering Shaksgam, Raskam and Aghil valleys. Chinese nationals are once again in the newspapers of Gilgit-Baltistan, this time for smuggling heavy precious metals and gems out of the region. Similar reports also appeared last year when they tried to smuggle uranium, gold and copper from Gilgit-Baltistan. The Chinese model of mineral exploration fails to support Gilgit-Baltistan’s economy since the corporations do not provide jobs to the locals and deny a share in the revenue to the resource-owners.
Middle East oil and gas production growth prospects have been dimmed by a slump in exploration license awards, drilling activity and average reserves found per well over the last few years, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie.
There was a sharp rise in licensing for international oil companies in the Middle East in the last decade – ranging from Iraq oil exploration to Qatari LNG projects – with drilling activity and the reserves found per well surging in the years that followed as a result.
Kenya has moved a step closer to becoming an oil exporter after a new discovery in the north of the country. British company Tullow Oil announced in late September that drilling work had revealed the presence of oil in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs. The company will now carry out further tests. For the company, which began drilling in Kenya last year, this is the fourth consecutive discovery of oil there. Earlier this year, the firm decided there was enough oil for commercial exploitation of reserves in the country’s Turkana area.
The news came three days ahead of the German federal elections on September 22 and went nearly unnoticed: Eon, Germany’s biggest energy group, signed a gas deal with Azerbaijan. The company will import 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas over the next 25 years from the Shah Deniz field, Azerbaijan’s biggest natural gas field in the Caspian Sea. The natural gas will be imported starting in 2019 through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The construction of TAP was decided in June of this year.
The Chinese presence in the Tanzanian economy is growing rapidly as the eastern giant intensifies its quest for natural resources and a gateway to other African states. But many Tanzanians are concerned that their country will not be the main beneficiary of the big government-to-government deals and worry about the secrecy surrounding them. Details are hard to uncover as the infrastructure contracts are not awarded by competitive tender and government ministries are extremely reluctant to provide information. Tanzanian MP John Mnyika complained that not even Parliament is informed.
If managed well, the theory goes, the mining sector could be the backbone of a sustainable economy, fund national security, and stabilize the government. But the country’s natural resources could just as easily undercut Kabul’s efforts to stand on its own by exacerbating corruption, forcing a sell-off of prized assets to foreign investors, and becoming yet another source of violent conflict. Based on its handling of the mining sector, observers say, it looks like Afghanistan is on course to join the raft of countries afflicted by the “resource curse.”
Less than 500 miles northeast of Syria, another secular Muslim dynasty is clinging to its fifth decade in power amid increasing calls for greater freedom and less corruption. What Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has that his counterpart Bashar al-Assad doesn’t is strong U.S. relations and a steady stream of oil cash to temper the opposition. Buoyed by the third-largest oil reserves in the former Soviet Union and $40 billion of investment from BP Plc (BP/) and its partners, Aliyev is betting he can overcome protests and avoid the fate of other Muslim autocrats.
Israel is being advised to take legal, and possibly even military action in response to Lebanon’s issuing of an offshore energy exploration license that encroaches on Israel’s territorial waters. Early last month, Lebanon issued licenses in five blocks of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). One of those licenses expanded the territory into Israel’s EEZ, with Lebanon announcing that the area had a high potential for natural gas discovery.
Globes reports that international law experts are telling Israel that it must respond – either in court or through military force – or risk losing some of its maritime territory.
Such squandered wealth symbolizes a wider challenge in Burma, an impoverished country whose natural resources—including oil, timber and precious metals—have long fueled armed conflicts while enriching only powerful individuals or groups. In a rare visit to the heart of Burma’s secretive jade-mining industry in Hpakant, Reuters found an anarchic region where soldiers and ethnic rebels clash, and where mainland Chinese traders rub shoulders with heroin-fueled “handpickers” who are routinely buried alive while scavenging for stones.
The government hopes that once new oilfields near Lake Chad begin production, output will hit 200,000 bpd next year and 300,000 bpd by 2015. Those are ambitions plans for the vast desert country, but it still wouldn’t come close to the output from Africa’s biggest producers like Nigeria, which boasts about 2 million bpd, or Angola, which peaked at around 1.7 million bpd this spring. Still, oil exports are invaluable to the Chadian government; they bring in about $1.2 billion annually, or 80 percent of revenues.
In October, a tour group of 20 of China’s top tycoons will be paying a different kind of luxury visit to America. The tour is organized by Gopher Asset, an asset management firm, and the aim is for these Chinese super-rich to investigate how Single Family Offices (SFOs) operate in the United States. A SFO is a private company that manages investments and trusts for very wealthy individuals or families. According to the latest Wealth-X and UBS World Ultra Wealth Report 2013, China has more than 10,000 individuals whose net worth is over $30 million.
Russian Arctic Coast Sees More Maritime Traffic: How The Kremlin Is Supporting Cargo Vessels Using Northern Sea Route
“Last year, cargo shipments via the NSR [Northern Sea Route] rose 53 percent year on year to over 1.26 million metric tons. In 2013, this figure has already amounted to 1.5 million metric tons,” Putin said.The Russian government has allocated $1.48 billion to modernize the port of Sabetta so it can handle the increase in maritime traffic and building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility there. The LNG export facility will allow tankers to move the energy resource to Asian markets where demand is extremely high.
You are reading this on a smartphone, then you are probably holding in your palm the conflict minerals that have sent the biggest manufacturing trade group in the U.S. into a court battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At stake in this battle between the National Association of Manufacturers and the government is whether consumers will know the potentially blood-soaked origins of the products they use every day and who gets to craft rules for multinational corporations—Congress or the business itself.
In Niger, government officials have fought a Chinese oil giant step by step. In neighboring Chad, they have been even more forceful, shutting down the Chinese and accusing them of gross environmental negligence. In Gabon, they have seized major oil tracts from China, handing them over to the state company. China wants Africa’s oil as much as ever. But instead of accepting the old terms, some cash-starved African states are pushing back, showing an assertiveness unthinkable until recently and suggesting that the days of unbridled influence by the African continent’s mega-investor may be waning.
A new report commissioned by the Greenland government has concluded that the country has full sovereignty over commodities trading, including for uranium, which is regulated by international treaties on non-nuclear proliferation. The report was kept confidential for more than six months but recently published as Greenland’s parliament prepares to vote on 24 October on whether to allow the extraction of radioactive substances in Greenland. The outcome of the vote is expected to be a clear ‘yes’.
In early September China became a full shareholder in Kashagan, buying a share of CanocoPhilips. Partially, this is a very serious factor, because initially the mega-project was thought to be the resource base for the pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and the main oil flows would go to the West. China’s participation in the project means that at least 1/10 of its oil will go to the East. The necessary infrastructure exists already – the Chinese have built a pipeline through the whole of Kazakhstan. Parallel to this, they are developing gas infrastructure.
Considering all the network of interests, the armament drive and regular independent and joint military drills become evident. What aggravates the situation is that the five Caspian states have not come to an agreement on the status of the hydrocarbon-rich sea. Its hydrocarbon resources are distributed unevenly along the coast, so every country claims for more area. They tend to show their strength and try to involve non-regional players to have them join their side.
Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have signed a deal to develop three gas fields that span their maritime border and contain reserves totaling nearly 12 trillion cubic feet.
“We’ve signed the accords for (the Loran-Manatee bloc, the largest of the three), and today we signed (the accord governing) how we’re going to operate those fields,” Venezuela’s Rafael Ramirez, who heads state-owned oil giant PDVSA, said Wednesday.
Huge Natural Gas Fields In The Eastern Mediterranean are Set To Transform Cyprus Into European Energy Hub
Cyprus plans to become a regional hub in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea for the export of liquefied natural gas as the small island and its neighbors sit on huge offshore reserves, Cypriot officials say.
The nation’s aspirations are driven by recent discoveries in the Levant Basin, a stretch of sea that extends from the coasts of Israel, Lebanon and Syria and is estimated to contain 122 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The proposed $18 billion (Dh66bn) economic corridor linking Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and Kashghar in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province by road, rail and an energy pipeline, could be described as a “game changer” for the whole region.
The two countries recently inaugurated the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Secretariat in Islamabad, where they also discussed laying an oil pipeline from Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan to western China. The proposed pipeline might eventually be connected with Iran.
Burgeoning OPEC for LNG?: India, Japan join forces to control costs of liquefied natural gas imports
Japan and India are planning a liquefied natural gas importers’ group in a bid to reduce the ‘Asian premium’ and diversify their import sources. “The LNG prices in Asia are substantially higher than those of other major consuming regions such as Europe and North America,” Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan and M. Veerappa Moily, India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said in a joint statement on September 9 after a meeting in Tokyo.
Even as much has been written about the regional and global actors pursuing their pitiless agendas in Syria, one sub-plot in the vicious drama has remained relatively unexplored. And that is the gas resource and its routes from production to the market. The past five years have seen discoveries of immense energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean; both the Levant Basin located along the shores of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza and Cyprus and the Nile Basin north of Egypt. Almost the entire Syrian oil was exported to the European Union (EU).
With a subtle motion of the hand” China took away the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) pipeline project from USA and became yesterday the chief controller of gas resources in Central and South Asia.
Somebody else’s ideas and plans have been expropriated by means of contract for sale of 25 bn cu m of gas per year concluded between State Concern Turkmengas and Chinese Company CNPC. The deal will increase the total volume of Turkmen gas supplied to China up to 65 bn cu m.
Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy Thursday agreed to create a bilateral committee aimed at delineating the two countries’ maritime zones despite possible objections by “third countries” and pointed to the prospect of a three-way cooperation with Cyprus. Speaking after talks with Venizelos in Cairo, as daily Kathimerini reports, Fahmy stressed that “each country has its own interests and it does not concern us if third countries are bothered by this,” apparently referring to Turkey.
Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh said earlier that imports of gold and crude oil in considerable quantities were exerting a deplorable effect on the trade balance deficit. He indicated that the government was pondering a possible reduction of purchases abroad by increasing purchases of gold inside the country. In particular, it might buy gold from temples, he said. Officials on the cabinet of ministers deny the presence of any plans to buy out temple gold at the moment.
European countries are losing out to China in their quest to source natural gas from the Central Asian states. Moving away from dependence on Russia and Middle East hydrocarbons was a key energy objective of European countries in the 1990s, and the oil and natural gas resources along the Caspian Sea was seen as a vital alternative. Instead, European oil dependence on Russia and the Middle East has grown from 75% in 2000 to 84% by 2010. In addition, EU reliance on gas imports has also risen from 49% to 62% during the period.
Qatar’s LNG supply to the world will not be affected if the US launches an attack on Syria, a senior official has said. When asked whether there will be any consequences on the LNG supply routes going out from Qatar in the event of a US attack on Syria, Nakilat’s managing director Mohamed Ghannam said: “I see no reason (for it to get affected in any way).” According to him, Qatargas and RasGas will be able to honour their commitments for the supply of LNG and Nakilat will be able to deliver the cargoes as scheduled .
Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate, besides Iraq. But after two and a half years of war, exploration is at a standstill since international oil companies once operating in Syria have abandoned their operations as the violence escalates and sanctions target Syria’s energy sector.