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.
Turkey plans to buy a share of the Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project using its state pipeline company, Botas, the minister of energy and natural resources old the Sabah newspaper Monday. The new pipeline project will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to southern Italy and on to Western European markets. Competing with the TAP pipeline was the proposed Nabucco venture, which was designed to carry natural gas over 2,050 miles from Turkey to Austria to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia. The major shareowners of the Shah Deniz consortium, the largest offshore gas field in the Caspian Sea off Azerbaijan, decided to move ahead with TAP in June.
Natural gas basins could turn the Mediterranean into a “sea of prosperity,” but there is a risk that politics may hamper economic progress, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned. “The biggest problem in the eastern Mediterranean is not the existence of reserves, it is the potential that politics may supersede the economy,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, told daily Hürriyet. “If this settles down, I believe eastern Mediterranean gas will raise the prosperity of regional countries and could become an important alternative to Russian gas,” he said.
Insatiable demand for minerals and rare earth elements, coupled with dwindling resources on land have stakeholders across the world looking to a new frontier: the deep sea. Advancing mining technologies are making the prospect of exploiting seafloor minerals—including gold, copper, zinc, cobalt and rare earth elements (REEs)—not only possible but also imminent, with commercial licenses to be granted by the International Seabed Authority from 2016. China has a stronghold on REEs, controlling a staggering 97% of global production.
Chinese oil giant Sinopec will pay $3.1 billion for a one-third stake in the Egyptian oil and gas business of US firm Apache Corp. it said Friday, as China builds up its access to global energy reserves. The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, marks Sinopec’s first entry into Egypt’s upstream oil and gas sector, according to a company statement. It is the latest major Chinese resources acquisition abroad and comes after CNOOC, another Chinese state-owned energy giant, bought Canada’s Nexen in a $15 billion deal last year despite political opposition in that country.
An ambitious program of railway expansion in Russia’s Far East opens up the prospect of creating rapid new trade routes between Asia and Europe. At least $17bn is to be invested in modernising the ageing Baikal-Amur (BAM) and Trans-Siberian railways. Supporters of the plan say that it will create a total of half a million jobs and boost industry in Siberia and the Far East region, pointing out that there is already a shortage of rail capacity for transporting freight. Described by former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev as “the construction project of the century”, critics recall the building of BAM 50 years ago.
Israeli gas partnerships are in talks to sell natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan fields to customers in Egypt. In a notice to the TASE on Friday, Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) confirmed, for the first time, that talks were being held. Energy market sources said today that the oil majors that operate Egypt’s two liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants were participating in the talks with the Israeli partnerships. These plants are currently only operating at partial capacity because of the natural gas shortage in Egypt.
North American energy companies are planning to use drones to monitor their pipelines—in part to check for potential gas or oil leaks, but also to limit “third-party intrusions,” a broad range of activity that includes anything from unwanted vehicles entering restricted areas around pipelines to environmental activists. The Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), a multi-national organization funded by some of the world’s largest pipeline operators like BP, Shell, TransCanada and Enbridge, is leading efforts to research and develop unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology for pipeline monitoring.
The issue of energy security is often cast with a rather narrow net inordinately focused on security of supply issues. This bias is readily understood in practical terms. We understand simply and immediately an energy supply problem if we pull up to the gas pump and there is no product to put in the tank. So while supply security is admittedly an essential component of the energy security genre, a singular focus on this aspect alone skews a broader and more profound understanding of how energy, and particularly power, if denied, is part of the larger energy-security and for that matter human landscape.
A 21st-century “gas Cold War” has arisen between the U.S. and Russia, with Edward Snowden serving as the illustrative protagonist. President Obama, upset over Russia’s asylum offer to Snowden, recently cancelled a summit with President Putin. With access to the free flow of oil and gas resources a central tenet of U.S. national security policy under the Carter Doctrine, there’s no guarantee this new Cold War will end well. Paralleling the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — The New York Times calls it a “gas OPEC” — GECF is a bloc of countries whose mission is to fend off U.S. and Western power dominance of the global gas trade.
Kurdistan is on the verge of an oil boom. The semi-autonomous region of 5.2 million people is completing a pipeline for direct crude exports to Turkey by the end of the year, bypassing central government authorities in Baghdad. The region’s reserves are as much as 45 billion barrels, the local administration estimates, enough to meet U.S. demand for almost seven years. “Exports are what we’ve been waiting for since 2007, so the pipeline is very big and instrumental for a company like Gulf Keystone,” Kozel, 46, said in a telephone interview. “We are a public company, and consolidation is the next phase in Kurdistan. But that’s not in our plans now.”
Central Asia has shrunken from the world spotlight since the disintegration of the famed Silk Road of antiquity, but remains well endowed in natural resources. Kazakhstan alone sits on the list of the world’s top 10 oil producers, and holds a whopping 15% of the world’s uranium. It also packs a punch when it comes to iron, gold, zinc, and coal. Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas (Russia is #1), and Uzbekistan holds as much oil as Libya. And due to the “Stans”‘ prime location, they are conveniently placed where they can serve both the European and burgeoning Asian markets, a prospect that Russia has done its best to block.
Thorium is a tantalising power source for future decades and generations. It is far more plentiful in nature then uranium. This would ensure a sustainable fuel cycle for thousands of years on a planet where a population of over nine billion is anticipated by 2050. It is fertile – not fissile – and can only be used in conjunction with fissile materials as a nuclear fuel. Like uranium, because of its energy density, it is far more cost effective than the hydro carbons and the so called “renewables”.
Possible deals said to be in the works with Exxon Mobil, Russia’s Lukoil PetroChina Co, China’s largest oil explorer, may join with United States-based energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp to co-develop the West Qurna oilfield in Iraq, which would make the Chinese company the biggest single foreign investor in the Iraqi oil industry. An industry source close to the company confirmed to China Daily that the two companies are holding talks, but added: “It is not a good time now to release the details of the ongoing talks.”
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with US energy services giant Halliburton to facilitate technological exchanges that will help increase production, the Russian company said Tuesday. “One aspect of cooperation will be special technical seminars for employees of Gazprom Neft, with the aim of getting to know the main ways in which Halliburton uses its technology,” Gazprom Neft said in a statement posted on its website. “Some of the most important topics will concern work with tight oil reserves, unconventional resources and deep-water drilling.”
No. President Enrique Peña Nieto is proposing constitutional changes that would open the door for private companies, including international oil majors, to explore for and produce petroleum in partnership with the government and its oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos. The company, known as Pemex, has had a monopoly on production for 75 years, and will remain state-owned. Mexico will keep ownership of the reserves and will share profits with oil companies that find and produce the oil. That is a big change from the past, where Pemex only paid companies a fee for contract work, but it falls short of sharing the oil itself, which many oil companies wanted.
In an attempt to give a greater economic role to the regional grouping, Russia is encouraging the strengthening of the ‘energy club’ within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In recent years, SCO member states have sought greater energy cooperation. This follows a formulated dialogue and integrated concept for the creation of an energy club. SCO member states want to create a unified energy market for oil and gas exports, while promoting regional development through preferential energy agreements.
Russia is intent on transforming its Arctic coastline into a commercially viable alternative to the Suez Canal. In 2011, President Vladimir Putin said: “I want to stress the importance of theNorthern Sea Route as an international transport artery that will rival traditional trade lanes in service fees, security and quality.” Russia uses icebreakers to escort commercial vessels, and charges fees for the service. In 2007, it launched the Fifty Years of Victory, a nuclear-powered behemoth able to break 2.5 metres of ice at speed.
“It’s hard work but worth it,” Garcia says. Amazon Indians like Garcia, who inhabit a Denmark-sized region along the borders with Venezuela and Brazil, have for decades made a living exploring the rain forest for valuable rocks that contain tantalum and tungsten, both of which are used to manufacture smartphones and other mobile devices. While the Indians do the digging, they rely on another, more powerful group to get the ore to market: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. The rebel army uses the cash it makes from selling metals to help finance one of the world’s longest-running guerrilla wars.
Cyprus, Israel and Greece have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of energy and water. Speaking after the signing of the MoU, Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said “this is a monumental moment for the cooperation among the three countries”. “The MoU is a framework which will determine the number of activities that the countries have agreed to jointly pursue, such as energy security supply, environmental concerns and a number of other issues which are common for us three”, he added.
Iraq’s Kurdistan region has started to export crude oil by truck to an Iranian port for shipping to Asia, industry sources say, using a trade route that is likely to anger both Baghdad and Washington The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has reportedly approved a second route for crude through Iran after Turkey, although a KRG official denies any crude was going through Iran yet. Iraq’s Kurdistan region is exporting crude oil by truck to an Iranian port for shipping to Asia, industry sources say, using a trade route that is likely to anger both Baghdad and Washington.
South and East Asia have become the world’s major oil consumers, but they lack the supply. Energy security thus lies at the heart of Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. Jean-Pierre Lehmann and Suddha Chakravartti explain how China, India and their smaller neighboring economies are scrambling to find ways to secure and deliver enough oil from suppliers to consumers. The vastness and heterogeneity of Asia contrast with the relative compactness and homogeneity of Europe. Nevertheless, Asia does exist as a geopolitical, geo-economic and analytical entity.
A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas to Europe via a pipeline to Turkey. They are also studying options to export gas to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Avner Oil & Gas said on Tuesday. “The partners are negotiating with various officials,” Avner, one of the partners in the project, said. Recoverable gas in the Levant Basin, which lies largely in Israeli and Cypriot waters in the eastern Mediterranean, hold some 3.5 trillion cubic metres of gas, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated.
Giant submarines filled with small underwater drones to protect the seas. The concept sounds like something out of a science fiction movie or a particularly trippy Sealab 2021 episode, but the U.S. military thinks it is very doable–and that it could help augment American sea power. This week, DARPA announced their new Project Hydra, an early-stage effort to fight the “rising number of ungoverned states, piracy, and proliferation of sophisticated defenses“ through autonomous underwater vehicles. Hydra itself would center around a submarine that discreetly injects unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles into warzones.
Circle of Blue, with the Wilson Center, is looking at what’s probably the most important drama unfolding on the planet today, and that’s this confrontation between water, food, and energy. We created a project called Choke Point: U.S. Then we backed up and said, “Let’s take a look at China.” Our next Choke Point lens is to take a look at India, the world’s second-largest, second-most-populated nation. Keith Schneider: In the ’60s and the ’70s, the policy was to make energy, electricity, and water free to the agriculture sector in a nation that knew serious starvation.
The Arabian Peninsula Seas contain two of the most important strategic waterways in the world: Bab Al-Mandab and Strait of Hormuz. Without them much of the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa and South West Asia would make little sense. The Red Sea is moderately integrated into the regional level but it is much more deeply integrated into international level. National pride, regional developments, international commerce and worldwide political events all have played a part in shaping in the Red Sea Region as it exists today. The “new” Red Sea Region should be characterized by regional cooperation.
Mongolia’s fairytale economic boom is developing cracks. The failure of the country’s fifth-largest bank and delays to the development of its giant copper mine underscores fears that its growth potential is built on shaky foundations. Yet greater economic realism may ultimately be welcome. The surprise insolvency of Savings Bank, which controlled about 8 per cent of Mongolia’s banking assets, has rattled the country’s economic cheerleaders. The central bank closed down the lender and transferred its deposits to a state-owned rival after it ran up bad loans worth $109-million (U.S.) – more than twice its capital, according to Fitch Ratings.
Rosneft, Russia’s newest energy giant, is a key pillar of this initiative. As one of Putin’s favoured firms, Rosneft owes a great deal of its success to Kremlin’s state-centred energy strategy — itself a part of a larger strategy to re-establish Russia as a global power. In that context, efforts to develop the company seem to have gained pace over the past years, and Russia’s currently rank, first with its 12.7 share in world oil production as of 2012, would likely to stay same, at least in short term.
Amid signs Israel’s effort to patch up relations with one-time ally Turkey is in difficulties, the prospect of exporting gas from offshore fields to Europe via a pipeline under the eastern Mediterranean to Turkey would seem to be dimming. That suggests more interest in a liquefied gas system aimed at lucrative exports to Asia via the Red Sea. Either way, Israel’s navy is trying to figure out how best to protect the Jewish state’s expanding gas industry– and if current plans work out, oil production as well — from a wide spectrum of security threats that seem to be growing by the day.
The gas from Myanmar, pumped from offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal, is not expected to reach China via the new pipeline until next month or September. But at full capacity, it will deliver 12 billion cubic meters each year of additional supply to China. This is nearly 30 percent of current annual imports and one-twelfth of the country’s 2012 gas consumption. Beijing fears its maritime oil and gas imports could be targeted in a selective blockade of the straits led by the U.S. Chinese leaders call this potential vulnerability their “Malacca Dilemma.”
China’s oil security is tightly linked to economic and foreign policies. Rapid economic growth requires resources, and the Chinese are prowling international markets for gas, oil, minerals, and timber. Beijing has worked relentlessly to establish ever-new supply relationships on every continent. China’s quest to confidently secure foreign oil supplies support the dominant rationales behind its energy security policy largely because the country’s increasing dependence on foreign oil is perceived by Beijing as a weak spot—a strategic vulnerability.
A total of $829 million has been raised to explore Africa for metals and minerals over the last two years. While some 65% of drilling on the continent targets gold, rare earths are the fifth most popular prospect after iron ore, copper and coal attracting five companies spending $42 million during the two years to end-May 2013. The renewed interest in Africa’s rare earths come despite dramatic falls in the value of the 17 elements used in a variety of high-tech, green and consumer electronics industries.
Cyprus is resisting pressure from the European Commission (EC) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sell its gold reserves to finance its “bailout.” Yesterday the Cypriot Finance Minister said that a sale of its gold reserves was not the only option under consideration to pay down its debt and that other alternatives were being considered. Cyprus has 13.9 tonnes (c. 447,000 troy ounces) of gold reserves which are worth some 436 million euros at today’s market prices.
Along with the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf near Iran and Oman, the Strait of Malacca is the world’s most important shipping chokepoint. Linking the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, the Malacca Strait is by far the shortest maritime route connecting Persian Gulf energy producers to their largest consumers in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. 50,000 merchant ships carrying 40 percent of all world trade pass through the 900-km long (550 miles) strait each year. It’s particularly strategic for regional energy supplies.
Japan may nationalise hundreds of unclaimed islands off its coast in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, reports said, in a move that could complicate already simmering relations with China over existing maritime disputes. Quoting government sources, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was planning to set up a multi-agency task force to identify around 400 islands that are not already explicitly identified as Japanese territory and confirm their ownership and the names of the islands.
Oil-rich Nigeria has an estimated 37.3 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of 2011, according to the “Oil & Gas Journal,” something that makes it appealing to China. “It’s a long-standing policy of China to try to gain access to both energy and other natural resources around the world, but heavily in Africa,” Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said. China gave Nigeria a $1.1 billion low-interest loan, it was announced this week, and in return China can expect more Nigerian oil, going up from 20,000 barrels per day to 200,000 by 2015.
Greenland, a territory of 2,166,086 km² inhabited by less than 57,000 persons, which got Self Rule within the Kingdom of Denmark in 2009, has everything to attract major powers. Greenland has already become a meeting place for American, European and Asian interests in the Arctic. It is also a strategic territory and a key to future developments in the Arctic. In order to handle such a rising international interest, one of Greenland’s main challenges is capacity building. Greenland has talents, but too few to handle such an interest.
Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so. Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands.
Algeria is to build military bases near major oil and gas facilities in the country’s south to guarantee fast response in case of danger, a security source told Xinhua on Tuesday. Since May, Algeria’s Ministry of National Defense has been engaged with local construction firms in setting up bases near oil and gas fields in Hassi Messaoud in the province of Ouargla, some 800 km southeast of Algiers, in Tin Fouye Tabankort of In Amenas in the province of Illizi, about 1,700 km southeast of Algiers, and also in Adrar, 1,500 km southwest of the capital, the source anonymously told Xinhua.
The declared objective of the government of Nicosia is to use the geo-strategic position of Cyprus, between Europe and the Middle East, to make the country a true energy hub, with a central role in commercial transit and in the provision of European energy.
In recent years the Eastern Mediterranean has increased its own strategic importance at an international level following significant discoveries of hydrocarbons. In this region the recent offshore findings of natural gas are radically changing its geostrategic and economic status.
Aynak is a copper resource in Afghanistan’s Logar province, located southeast of Kabul. One of the largest copper deposits in the world, Aynak copper is trumpeted as a future bedrock of Afghanistan’s new economy. Aynak requires $2-3 billion to develop the mine and another $2-3 billion to build ancillary infrastructure. The benefits of such an investment are significant. According to the World Bank, a low-range estimate for Aynak is 4,500 direct, 7,600 indirect, and 62,500 induced jobs and $250 million annually for 250,000 tons of copper per year.
While it may be a lesser-known region, Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a buffer between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. The development of water resources flowing from Gilgit-Baltistan could improve the livelihood of rural Pakistan and thus lessen manpower heading towards extremist groups. Empowerment of the region could be accomplished through development assistance and encouragement of the local population by the transatlantic community. The dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of the former princely state Jammu and Kashmir is mostly referred to as the Kashmir dispute.
China, Japan and Korea are all exercising increased diplomatic and political thrusts into the Arctic countries, but in different manners. While the visits of Chinese and Korean officials target the Nordic countries to talk Arctic and environmental cooperation, China’s diplomatic representation is actually strongest in Russia. China has five consulates in Russia, the same number as it has in the U.S., perhaps pointing to at least a traditional equivalence in the weight that the U.S. and Russia hold in Chinese foreign policy.
China National Petroleum Co is set to acquire a stake in Kashagan, a huge oilfield in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, according to a senior executive in the Kazakh state oil company, in a deal worth $5bn.
It would represent the largest overseas acquisition by CNPC and reinforce China’s dominant position in Kazakhstan’s oil industry. Chinese groups already account for more than a quarter of the country’s oil and gas production.
If an intelligence agency or foreign ministry were setting an exam to test the geopolitical analysis skills of its young recruits, Lithuania might prove a good case study. A former Soviet Baltic republic of 3 million people wedged between Poland, Belarus, Latvia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuania is anxious to keep Moscow at arm’s length – but remains almost entirely dependent on it for energy. Having joined the European Union in 2004, the tiny, resource-poor country looks ardently to the west, while worrying about how to build a thicker buffer between itself and the big Russian bear observing it from 200 km (120 miles) to the east.
The Indian Ocean Rim countries boast of two-thirds of global oil reserves and one-third of gas reserves. Despite these huge reserves, the region has not achieved its full potential.
The two-day Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) Economic and Business Conference here noted that energy security is vital to ensure smooth running of the other component of economies.
China and Pakistan set their sights Friday on developing a transport link from northwestern China through rugged Pakistani mountains to the Arabian Sea, a route they hope will boost economic growth and slash shipping times. A broad agreement for the “economic corridor” was among eight pacts signed following a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The transport link was described as a “long-term plan” to connect the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port of Gwadar, more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away across the towering Karakoram mountains and Pakistan’s lawless Baluchistan province.
Jiaolong, the manned deep-sea submersible, is helping China tap a treasure of iron-manganese deposits that were first discovered in the South China Sea on Wednesday. Tang Jialing, an oceanaut on the submersible, told Xinhua News Agency that although the exact area of the deposits was still unknown, he was sure that it was large. “Since one of the samples was broken by the sub’s robotic arm, a round core inside could be identified as volcanic lava. The materials covering the core are iron and manganese oxides, which need tens of thousands of years to form,” he said.
In a long-awaited decision to bring Azeri gas resources to Europe, the Shah Deniz II consortium opted for a pipeline running through Greece and Albania instead of a rival northwestern route, Nabucco West, running from Bulgaria to Austria.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will stretch 870 kilometres from the Greek-Turkish border. Moving west, TAP is designed to extend across the breadth of northern Greece before veering northwest to Albania. From Fier, Albania, plans envision the pipeline crossing under the Adriatic to emerge in southern Italy.
Western economic commentary on China and Russia is usually colored by monetarist assumptions not necessarily shared in Moscow and Beijing. For this reason, Russian and Chinese fiscal and monetary policies are misunderstood in financial markets, as well as the reasons their governments buy gold.
China has been notably relaxed about her own people acquiring gold, and the government itself appears to be absorbing all of China’s mine output. Russia is also building her official reserves from her own mine supply. The result over time has been the transfer of aboveground gold stocks toward these countries and their allies. The geo-political implications are highly important, but have been ignored by western governments.
Cyprus inked a deal with a US-Israeli partnership on Wednesday to build a liquefied natural gas plant on the island to exploit untapped energy riches. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Cyprus and a partnership comprising US-based Noble Energy International and Israeli companies Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration to build a LNG facility at Vassiliko near the southern resort town of Limassol. The almost bankrupt Mediterranean island is hoping its untapped offshore energy resources can pull it back from the financial brink.
Norwegian energy company Statoil said last week it was forming a special operations division to handle emergency operations in response to a terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria. The company said it would double the amount of employees it had designated for existing security operations after reviewing the measures in place at the In Amenas gas facility. A January attack there left employees with Statoil and BP dead in what al-Qaida said was a response to French intervention in Mali.
The hard edges of Syria’s frontlines – dogmatic, revolutionary, Islamist or pure murderously sectarian – almost melt away outside the oilfields. New lines emerge pitting tribesmen against battalions, Islamists against everyone else, and creating sometimes surreal lines of engagement, where rebels help maintain government oil supplies in return for their villages being spared from bombardment and being allowed to siphon oil for themselves. “There is chaos now,” Abu Zayed said. “The Free Syrian Army is chasing loot, and they don’t care about civilians.