Skip to main content

Home/ InternationalRelations/ Group items tagged energy

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Ed Webb

Petro-aggression: How Russia's oil makes war more likely - 0 views

  • A Russian natural gas embargo is a trick that can probably only be pulled once (not unlike the 1973 oil embargo).  So in a sense, European dependence on Russian energy does not imply short-term vulnerability – except that European policymakers’ perceptions of vulnerability can become its own reality.
  • Russia’s resource curse.  Russia’s energy revenues (from both oil and gas) have ensconced Vladimir Putin as an autocrat and given him a free hand in foreign policy.  Russia is so heavily dependent on its energy revenues that it is a classic petrostate, making it more susceptible to corruption, autocracy and violent conflict.
  • Russia’s incursion into Crimea can be seen as a close cousin of petro-aggression.  A state is more likely to instigate international conflict when it has a combination of (a) oil income and (b) a leader with aggressive preferences.  A lot more likely: 250 percent more military conflict than a typical non-petrostate, on average.  Oil income means more military spending, increasing the state’s scope for potential conflicts.  Even more importantly, it distorts the domestic politics of the state, reducing the leader’s domestic political risk from military adventurism and aggressive foreign policy.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • Here lies the real risk of Europe’s energy situation: So long as it continues to buy Russian oil and gas, it is sending massive amounts of cash to a neighboring dictator.  By keeping the taps on, Putin consolidates his power as Russian dictator.
  • Diversifying away from fossil fuels would bring security benefits (in addition to some obvious environmental ones), in part by reducing the money sent to petrostates like Russia.
Ed Webb

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices | Busines... - 0 views

  • The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
  • possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as "peak oil".

    Husseini said that at that point Aramco would not be able to stop the rise of global oil prices because the Saudi energy industry had overstated its recoverable reserves to spur foreign investment. He argued that Aramco had badly underestimated the time needed to bring new oil on tap.

    One cable said: "According to al-Husseini, the crux of the issue is twofold. First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described, and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray."

    It went on: "In a presentation, Abdallah al-Saif, current Aramco senior vice-president for exploration, reported that Aramco has 716bn barrels of total reserves, of which 51% are recoverable, and that in 20 years Aramco will have 900bn barrels of reserves.

    "Al-Husseini disagrees with this analysis, believing Aramco's reserves are overstated by as much as 300bn barrels. In his view once 50% of original proven reserves has been reached … a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output."

  • "Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period."
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • While fears of premature "peak oil" and Saudi production problems had been expressed before, no US official has come close to saying this in public.
  • Jeremy Leggett, convenor of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, said: "We are asleep at the wheel here: choosing to ignore a threat to the global economy that is quite as bad as the credit crunch, quite possibly worse."
Ed Webb

Jordan's uranium and Israel's fears | openDemocracy - 0 views

  • while supporting the development of its nuclear technology, America is insisting that Jordan purchase its reactor fuel on the nuclear market (it will “allow” Jordan to mine the uranium ore, but not convert it into fuel).  The Obama administration stresses that it will refuse to help Jordan if it makes use of its own uranium, and intends to model any deal with Jordan on the USA's recent nuclear agreement with the United Arab Emirates, who agreed to purchase their uranium on the international market, but reserve the right to renegotiate this deal if another country concludes an agreement on more favourable terms.

    Pursuing its right to enrich uranium without America's agreement would prove difficult for Jordan: the USA plays a powerful role in the Nuclear Supplier Group which monitors the sale of nuclear technology.  Moreover, many reactors from countries outside the USA contain American components which would require Jordan to gain America's approval to purchase. 

    But the USA's insistence that the country give up the right to use its own uranium seems to be a strategic miscalculation with the potential to alienate one of America and Israel's key Arab allies.  While the Jordanian government under reformist King Abdullah can certainly be criticised for its benign and even not-so-benign authoritarianism, it remains a positive presence in the Israel-Palestinian peace process (and the strongest ally of the USA in the Arab world). In fact, it was its willingness to 'help' in the war on terror that caused concern for human rights campaigners.

    Undermining the country's nuclear intentions when Jordan has done more than it is required to do in terms of tranparency and negotiation gives the impression that America will always treat Middle Eastern nuclear projects with suspicion, and that there's little incentive to cooperate.

  • To knowingly alienate Jordan by undermining the country's right to energy independence would be an act of masochism by Israel, particularly when the country's nuclear programme presents an opportunity to develop a model of transparency in nuclear energy development, and a chance to strengthen a more moderate presence in the region at a time when it is sorely needed.
Ed Webb

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower | Environment | The G... - 0 views

  • The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

    The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

  • John Hemming, the MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil and gas, said the revelations confirmed his suspicions that the IEA underplayed how quickly the world was running out and this had profound implications for British government energy policy.

    He said he had also been contacted by some IEA officials unhappy with its lack of independent scepticism over predictions. "Reliance on IEA reports has been used to justify claims that oil and gas supplies will not peak before 2030. It is clear now that this will not be the case and the IEA figures cannot be relied on," said Hemming.

    "This all gives an importance to the Copenhagen [climate change] talks and an urgent need for the UK to move faster towards a more sustainable [lower carbon] economy if it is to avoid severe economic dislocation," he added.

Ed Webb

The Associated Press: EU fails to end African boycott at climate talks - 0 views

  • About 50 African nations have boycotted some meetings since Monday evening at the U.N. climate talks in Barcelona. The talks are meant to prepare for next month's major climate convention in Copenhagen.
Ed Webb

Gazprom strikes preliminary gas deal with China - Yahoo! News - 0 views

  • China and Russia signed a framework agreement Tuesday that could see a steady flow of natural gas to energy-hungry China from its resource-rich neighbor.

    It was one of numerous trade and military agreements signed during a state visit by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the countries overcome traditional mistrust to push ahead mutual economic interests.

  • Other deals included Chinese companies making investments in construction industry facilities in Russia, Zhukov said. "Naturally, the Chinese are interested in getting (ownership) stakes," he said without giving any details.
  • an agreement on advance notification for planned ballistic missile launches by either country.
Ed Webb

The demise of the dollar - Business News, Business - The Independent - 0 views

  • The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
  • a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
  • World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations,"
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.
  • The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
  • Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.
    • Ed Webb
       
      Fisky always has been prone to alarmism. Iran is a much tougher target than Iraq. But if even some of what he reports here is true, economic power relations are indeed about to shift. And the move away from dollars for oil trading has been predictable for some time.
Ed Webb

The Oil Drum: Europe | The Zero Growth Mind - 0 views

  •  
    One approach to a world of finite resources: change our minds about what we need.
Ed Webb

The Oil Drum: Campfire | Tragedy of the Commons Re-Visited - 0 views

  • A "commons" is any resource used as though it belongs to all. In other words, when anyone can use a shared resource simply because one wants or needs to use it, then one is using a commons. For example, all land is part of our commons because it is a component of our life support and social systems.

    A commons is destroyed by uncontrolled use—neither intent of the user, nor ownership are important. An example of uncontrolled use is when one can use land (part of our commons) any way one wants.

  • Campfire Questions:

    1)Its been over 40 years since Tragedy of the Commons appeared in Science. What has changed to avert us from this tragedy in the meantime? What might be done to avert it in the future?

    2)Would awareness of a global commons, globally among every citizen, be enough to avert individual exploitation at a cost to the commons?

    3)As events surrounding the battle between fiat based and biophysical economics accelerate, how can well intentioned volunteers combat free riders without burning out? What is the natural institution that can effort the common good as opposed to special interests? Will Gresham's Law apply to blogs?

  •  
    The concept of the commons will be very important later in the course when we begin to address global and international environmental challenges.
Ed Webb

The Oil Drum | IEA Economist Warns about World Oil Supply - 0 views

  • the market power of the very few oil-producing countries that hold substantial reserves of oil – mostly in the Middle East – would increase rapidly as the oil crisis begins to grip after 2010
  • Many people think there will be a recovery in a few years' time but it will be a slow recovery and a fragile recovery and we will have the risk that the recovery will be strangled with higher oil prices.
  • demand after 2010 is expected to exceed dwindling supplies
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • I fear that most governments, particularly members of the OECD, will waste time trying to downplay the possible ramifications of declining oil production and to assure the public that everything is under control.
1 - 16 of 16
Showing 20 items per page