The Great Game Continues: on the relationship between U.S. military deployments and proposed oil pipelines.
One need only look at a map of Central Asia and thrust push-pins in every location where US troops are deployed. The US currently has bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In Afghanistan, the Kandahar Airport is covered, as is the Bagram Air Base. Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, in Kabul, and five US aircraft carriers and warships in the Arabian Sea have also been set into play.
What Is Real Security?: on the danger to centralzed power generation and distribution systems.
Terror war and oil expand US sphere of influence
As the Roman Empire spread two millenniums ago, maps had to be redrawn to reflect new realities. In similar fashion, the expansion of the British Empire kept cartographers at their drawing boards, reshaping territories from Southern Africa to India to Hong Kong.
Now, as the United States wages its war on terrorism in Afghanistan - and deploys troops for the first time in the energy-rich regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus - the borders of a new American empire appear to be forming.
[via The War in Context]
When exploration rights meet human rights: on the use of national security forces by oil companies to protect their operations.
Earlier this month, 25 senior officers from Burma's National Police College gathered in Rangoon for a two-week training programme on human rights. The event covered areas ranging from international humanitarian law to discussions on the use of force, arrest, detention and interrogation. The course was not, however, taking place under the auspices of the United Nations, the World Bank or a non-governmental organisation - it was being run by an oil company.
The training Premier Oil of the UK has been undertaking in Burma is one example of the way some oil companies - under intense scrutiny from aid agencies and pressure groups - are re-examining the balance between securing their operations and human rights.
[via Reductio Ad Absurdum]
A Turkish paper has reported that the companies involved in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline will incur lower insurance costs because of the increased security provided by the U.S. military presence in Georgia. Not that I'm implying that was a consideration or anything like that. [via xymphora]
Players on a rigged grand chessboard: Bridas, Unocal and the Afghanistan pipeline - part 1 and part 2
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Argentine oil company Bridas, led by its ambitious chairman, Carlos Bulgheroni, became the first company to exploit the oil fields of Turkmenistan and propose a pipeline through neighboring Afghanistan. A powerful US-backed consortium intent on building its own pipeline through the same Afghan corridor would oppose Bridas' project.
Will Fuel Cells Make Iceland the 'Kuwait of the North?'
As the political situation in unstable petroleum-producing regions continues to heat up, and evidence of global warming continues to mount, more people are beginning to look to hydrogen-powered fuel cells for an escape.
Peak Oil: an Outlook on Crude Oil Depletion
This paper is about Peak Oil. It truly is a turning point for Mankind, which will affect everyone, although some more than others. Those countries, which plan and prepare, will survive better than those that do not. It is a large and difficult subject, but the essentials are clear.
In summary, these are the main points that have to be grasped:
- Conventional oil - and that will be defined - provides most of the oil produced today, and is responsible for about 95% all oil that has been produced so far.
- It will continue to dominate supply for a long time to come. It is what matters most.
- Its discovery peaked in the 1960s. We now find one barrel for every four we consume.
- Middle East share of production is set to rise. The rest of the world peaked in 1997, and is therefore in terminal decline.
- Non-conventional oil delays peak only a few years, but will ameliorate the subsequent decline.
- Gas, which is less depleted than oil, will likely peak around 2020.
- Capacity limits were breached late in 2000, causing prices to soar leading to world recession.
- The recession may be permanent because any recovery would lead to new oil demand until the limits were again breached which would lead to new price shocks re-imposing recession in a vicious circle.
- World peak may prove to have been passed in 2000, if demand is curtailed by recession.
- Prices may remain weak in such circumstances but since demand is not infinitely elastic they must again rise from supply constraints when essential needs are affected.
It seems Unocal is gaining from friends in Afghanistan: both the interim Afghan leader and the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan are reported to have worked for Unocal.
President Bush has appointed a former aide to the American oil company Unocal, Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan. The nomination was announced December 31, nine days after the US-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul.
Since then, Karzai's ties with the Americans have not been interrupted. At the same time, he established ties with the British and other European and international sides, especially after he became deputy foreign minister in 1992 in the wake of the Afghan mojahedin's assumption of power and the overthrow of the pro-Moscow Najibollah regime. Karzai found no contradiction between his ties with the Americans and his support for the Taleban movement as of 1994, when the Americans had - secretly and through the Pakistanis - supported the Taleban's assumption of power to put an end to the civil war and the actual partition of Afghanistan due to the failure of Borhanoddin Rabbani's experience in ruling the country. At the time, Karzai worked as a consultant for the huge US oil group Unocal, which had supported the Taleban movement and sought to construct a pipeline to transport oil and gas from the Islamic republics of Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan. However, Karzai's relationship with the Taleban did not last long, since he moved away from the movement immediately after it assumed power in 1996 and turned down the movement's offer to appoint him as its ambassador to the United Nations.
How much oil is left? Morning Edition talks about the debate in the context of dropping prices today and rising U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern supplies.
Pipeline Politics: Oil, gas, and the US interest in Afghanistan. [via BookNotes]