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February 13, 2012 | Iranian Oil: Out of Ideas and Out of Cash

Amrit Deecke Naresh: Western sanctions are just one reason Iran’s oil industry is facing a crisis of output and sustainability. Eventually, Iran’s leaders will have to come to grips with the fact that foreign investment will be needed to prevent its imminent decline.

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December 13, 2011 | History Repeats Itself with Azerbaijan's "Shah"

Shahla Sultanova: Like Iran in the 1970s, Azerbaijan’s oil wealth is being funneled into an increasingly ostentatious and autocratic regime that uses its energy reserves to curry favor with the West. Without changes soon, Azerbaijan will also follow Iran into collapse, revolution, and opposition to the West.

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October 7, 2011 | Lost Illusions: Dealing With a Stagnant Russia

Dustin Dehez: Despite Russia’s posturing as a resurgent global power, the Russian oil-based economy is vulnerable and the absence of the rule of law stands in the way of any development. Putin’s return to power will further strain Russia’s relations with the West. Now is the time to develop a new approach to Russia.

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August 24, 2011 | EU Should Back US in Sanctioning Syrian Oil

Johnny West: The West has bemoaned the lack of democracy in the Arab world for decades. Now, as the slaughter continues in Syria, it is time for the West to back its values with action. The recent US ban on purchasing Syrian oil has a good chance of debilitating the Assad regime. Europe must do the same.

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August 5, 2011 | Germany's Energy Populism Hurts Europe

Matthew Hulbert & Christian Brutsch: Berlin’s decision to appease voters and phase out nuclear power looks more problematic as energy giants from Germany and Russia merge. The EU is now even more dependent on Russian energy than before, just as Russia turns to Asian markets. As a result, the EU could be left in the cold.

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August 2, 2010 | When Will Big Oil Ever Learn?

Christoph Suess: Big oil suppliers like Halliburton should be humble given the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, they are claiming that the current crisis won’t affect their business significantly. Governments and above all we, the informed public, should not put up with such obscene behaviour.

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March 13, 2009 | A Compromise Energy Policy Is Within Reach

Tony Hayward: The new American energy policy should be a mixture of alternative energies and drilling. Only a compromise will succeed to tackle climate change while guaranteeing energy security and efficiency.

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April 7, 2008 | The $100 Barrel: Long Term Gains, Short Term Costs

Memo 5: Members of the Atlantic Community are more concerned about the short term consequences than the potential long term benefits of the current high oil price.

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January 3, 2008 | The $100 Barrel is a Blessing

Thomas Straubhaar: The oil price’s rise towards $100 per barrel is not a cause for concern over economic growth, but has many positive implications for the economy and the climate.

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October 8, 2007 | Now Is the Worst Possible Time to Leave Basra

Reidar Visser: I criticize the British for their intention to hand over Basra to the Iraqi army as early as November. Competing Shiite parties have a strong desire to control the oil-rich region, and the potential for internal violence once the British leave is high.

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Global Must Read Articles

August 10, 2012 | Politics May Beat Economics in Russia's Oil Industry

With declining output from onshore fields, Russia’s oil industry is at a new crossroad. ++ Russia needs foreign partners, to stimulate competition and help develop offshore fields in its Arctic region. ++ Given that Putin loves politics more than he loves Russia and oil, it is more likely that he will want energy to stay under Kremlin control. ++ Russia will probably follow a suboptimal

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July 17, 2012 | Diversifying Yemen's Economy

Yemen is struggling with much more than insurgents and al-Qaida cells. ++ The unemployment rate is 35% and the population growth rate is 2.5%. ++ It is necessary for Yemen to diversify its economy away from the oil and gas sectors. ++ This can be done by stabilizing the city of Aden as a prominent deep-water port and free trade zone. ++ Improving security in the mining and mineral sector will

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May 16, 2012 | China and Iran: Economic, Political, and Military Relations

Over the past few decades, China and Iran have developed a broad and deep partnership centered on China’s energy needs and Iran’s abundant resources as well as significant non-energy economic ties, arms sales and defense cooperation, and geostrategic balancing against the United States. This partnership presents a unique challenge to U.S. interests and objectives. In particular, China’s policies

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May 3, 2012 | The Return of the 22-Year Civil War

Sudan has been at war with itself since gaining independence. ++ The positive impacts of Southern Sudan post-secession, when the region’s voters supported a split in an internationally backed referendum last year, have been slow to mature. ++ For starters, it is still unclear how the north will be compensated for the loss of its oil wells amounting to $7 billion, nor has the demarcation line

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January 23, 2012 | Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Iran?

A preemptive strike represents one pole of the debate on Iran, the most abused foreign policy topic this election. ++ Best indicators suggest that Iran’s nuclear program is moving fully ahead and could produce a weapon within one year. ++ Obama’s policy promises to be tougher than US policy under Bush as he gathers global support for a crippling boycott of Iranian oil. ++ There is a long-term

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January 12, 2012 | Helping Iran Weather the Storm

China’s position over a possible Iran war is difficult as China has huge oil interests at stake. ++ China should not expect Russia to act on the issue and needs to act in accordance with its own interests. ++ If the US sanctions Chinese companies for trading with Iran then the Chinese government should take countermeasures. ++ Opposing an Iranian war need not lead to conflict between the US and

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January 10, 2012 | Iran's Threat to Oil Supplies is Real, but Desperate

Iran’s threat to close the Hormutz strait is real; it has the capability to block oil supplies in the region, albeit temporarily. ++ The Iranians have designed asymmetric tactics to effectively challenge preponderant US force at sea. ++ Disrupting maritime shipping in the Gulf is an outcome no one would like to see. ++ Closing the strait would not only be seen as an act of war by the US but would

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October 12, 2011 | Is a World Resource War in Our Future?

“If we look at the history of peacekeeping operations mandated by the Security Council, we find that 10 operations costing a total of US$35 billion dollars have been deployed to countries where natural resources have played a key role in the conflict.
This figure represents half of the total peacekeeping budget ever spent.”
- Achim Steiner, UN Environmental Programme Executive

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August 30, 2011 | "Libya's Impact Will Shake the Assads"

Libya will have a “tremendous” effect on the Syrian uprising, boosting the morale of protestors and casting doubt on the Assad regime. ++ The EU must intensify pressure by banning oil imports from Syria, while Lebanon should join other Arab states and Turkey in condemning Assad and strive to prevent cross-border trafficking of weapons and money. ++ To seize the momentum, the

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August 9, 2011 | Corruption Hindering Ukraine-EU Integration

Ukraine possesses massive agricultural and manufacturing potential, and Europe should support Kiev’s movement toward the EU. ++ But the trial of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, an opponent of President Viktor Yanukovich, is a corrupt political sideshow threatening to derail efforts at reform. ++ An EU association agreement with Ukraine would be both a model for the region and a

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June 9, 2010 | Holding Big Oil Accountable Online

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico “must convince governments everywhere that the economic costs of poor regulation of the oil industry can be staggering.” ++ The “colossal disaster” was the result of U.S. regulators finding themselves in a tight spot. On the one hand, they are supposed to encourage oil production, while on the other hand policing the process. ++

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August 20, 2009 | Oil Is a Curse For Poor Countries

“Poor but resource-rich countries tend to be underdeveloped not despite of their hydrocarbon and mineral riches but because of their resource wealth.” ++ Thus, oil, gold, diamonds and other natural resources make a country poorer. ++ Counterexamples to this rule, like Norway and the US, show the misery inducing consequences of natural resources can only be avoided by “democracy, transparency and

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August 17, 2009 | How the US Can Replace Saudi Arabia's Black Gold

American reserves of natural gas could easily substitute Saudi Arabian oil as an energy resource. ++ “Harnessing this large supply—plus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sources—is essential to achieve energy, economic and climate security.” ++ From an economic and environmental point of view, it is imperative to prioritize energy independence and cut carbon

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March 2, 2009 | Nabucco: Azerbaijan's Chance For Prosperity

The gas war has highlighted the urgency of building the Nabucco pipeline. ++ This is good news for Baku as its role in the energy world is likely to increase drastically: it would provide the infrastructure for transporting gas westwards. ++ Yet, the guarantee for success is not certain: Nabucco is not an antidote against energy disputes with Russia as it will also rely on gas from Central Asian

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January 16, 2009 | 2009: End of the Putin System?

Rapid triumph after the South Ossetian August war and oil barrel prices reaching the stars seem to be no more than distant memories for the Kremlin. ++ The financial crisis has hit Russia hard: aside from making oil prices fall under $40 in December, it has put the entire Putin system on the edge of collapse. ++ Despite no longer being President, PM Putin is still the big man of the country;

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December 15, 2008 | "Why 'Energy Independence'?"

Energy independence, a US policy from Nixon to Obama, “is not so much a mistake as it is a muddled concept and a red herring.” ++ Security is the reason for energy independence, yet bans on oil from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, as with Iran, would not affect the net global oil market; such countries would maintain political leverage through oil sales. ++ “The only way the United States alone can

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November 19, 2008 | Britain's Black Gold Runs Out

The largely unknown British oil industry was one of the largest in the world, but is now running dry. ++ The drilling platforms off the shore of Scotland gave Prime Minister Thatcher a one-time economic boost that funded her economic policies. ++ The possibility of an independent, oil-financed Scotland has not made oil popular in the UK. ++ Production has fallen 40% since 1999, and Britain has

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October 7, 2008 | Russia is Dying

We are too easily impressed by the Russian bear. ++ “Moscow remains bent on ignoring the devastating truth: The nation is not just sick but dying.” ++ The population is declining, the economy is totally dependent on oil revenues, and the public health crisis “verges on the catastrophic.” ++ AIDS, tuberculosis, alcoholism, heart disease, and smoking are killing Russians at an alarming rate. ++

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September 19, 2008 | Volatile Oil Prices Signal Looming Market Meltdown

Oil prices spiked to US$147 per barrel and then dropped to $90, demonstrating their dangerous volatility. ++ The US approach to oil price regulation is ineffective. ++ Global oil price benchmarks are now largely based on Black Sea crude oil (Brent), a relatively small reserve. ++ With increasing amounts of money invested in the oil market, speculation bubbles are more likely. ++ Oil price risks

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August 15, 2008 | The World Needs an "Arctic Authority"

The Arctic Circle contains 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil supplies. ++ But a clash of interests between businesses, NGOs, and the five different governments who claim rights to the region’s energy resources is likely to cause a delay in drilling. ++ Existing international institutions cannot deal with the impending disputes. ++ Therefore, an “Arctic Authority” is required to make

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August 12, 2008 | The West and the Georgian-Russian Conflict

The current conflict is not only about Russia and Georgia, but also represents the US-Russian competition for control over the strategically important transit routes for oil and gas. ++ The Georgian President must have aimed at American involvement when he attacked Russia, because he knows only the US is able to enforce a solution advantageous for Georgia. ++ The West is now challenged by

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June 23, 2008 | Bribing Voters With a Populist Energy Policy

John McCain intends to subsidize domestic drilling and cut taxes to “free” the US of its dependence on foreign oil. ++ However, the basic rules of microeconomics doom this popular yet cynical energy policy to failure. ++ American gas prices would still be linked to global supply, demand would remain high, and the environmental consequences would be disastrous. ++ A transition to alternative

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June 17, 2008 | Sudan Flouts its International Obligations

If the international community remains inactive regarding Sudan, its outrage could end up being regarded as hollow. ++ With the help of the International Criminal Court, France, Britain, and the US should pursue a strategy for concomitant peace and justice. ++ To avoid the country’s disintegration, leaders in Khartoum need to be threatened with ICC prosecution. ++ Since there is currently no

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May 29, 2008 | US Iran Policy Requires More Flexibility

Iran cannot be prevented from acquiring nuclear power capabilities. ++ The US should therefore favor negotiation with the regime over the current threats and sanctions driven policy which merely provides for hostile relations. ++ Since “a successful approach to Iran has to accommodate its security interests and ours,” strategic deterrence should prove effective. ++ Additionally, cooperation could

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May 28, 2008 | Oil Prices Have Reached Their Break Point

There are three factors underlying the current rise in oil prices: rising global demand, increased costs for oil producers, and the relatively short time span in which supply has yet to adapt to these increased pressures. ++ Timely and efficient investment needs to be encouraged in resource-holding countries to improve supply. ++ However, oil has already reached its break point and is starting to

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May 16, 2008 | The Future Should be Energy Efficient

Growing oil prices and diminishing supplies of natural resources increasingly give rise to doubts regarding the long-term stability of an economy that relies on fossil fuels. The underlying assumption of pessimistic analyses based on the “peak oil” theory is that oil production reached its highest level long ago and will decline continuously from now on - while demand keeps growing. This means we

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May 7, 2008 | What Will Follow US Dominance?

The end of the unipolar world is approaching. The unipolar world emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the bipolar era of the cold war came to an end. Yet just after one decade and a half of US supremacy, the international system is once again in the face of enormous tectonic change: In his recent essay for Foreign Policy, Richard N. Haass declares we live in a century of

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May 6, 2008 | The Threat of the New Middle East

The old Middle East and the secular nationalism that went along with it is being replaced by a new, modern Middle East in which political Islam and anti-Western nationalism play a decisive role. ++ There is now a serious threat of “a confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia for sub-regional supremacy, and between Iran and the US for regional hegemony.” ++ The entire state system in the

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March 18, 2008 | Saudi Arabia: Between Reform and Preserving Power

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has come to play a peculiar role on the Arabian Peninsula. This country has the largest petroleum resources in the world, is the home to the most important historic holy sites of Islam, and entertains good relations with the United States. In addition, Saudi Arabia is diplomatically one of the most dynamic countries of the region, whether with respect to the

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October 19, 2007 | Big Oil Getting Smaller

Control of the world’s oil is in a smaller and smaller number of hands, writes Sacha Kumaria on Yale Global Online. Rising oil prices — analysts predict $100 per barrel by the end of 2007 — has fuelled increasing competition between independent oil companies (IOC’s) such as Exxon Mobil and national oil companies (NOC’s). However, the world’s largest oil companies plan

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October 11, 2007 | Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan Ambitions For Energy Transportation

Transportation of energy resources was top of the agenda during a recent talk between the presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, reports News Central Asia. Presidents Nazarbaev and Berdymuhamedov said their countries had reached an agreement on cooperation for transit and transportation of energy resources. Until now Kazakhstan’s energy exports have been dependant on the Russian

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August 29, 2007 | The Increasing Importance Of Africa in US Trade Relations

Princeton Lyman, former US ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa, writes together with Council on Foreign Relations director Patricia Dorff that the United States must recognize Africa’s growing significance and improve the assistance it currently provides to the continent. The United States currently imports 15 percent of its oil from Africa, equal to its share from the Middle East, and

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August 14, 2007 | How US Investors Could Stop The Darfur Genocide

Mia Farrow and Jody Williams provide possible explanations in Opinion Journal for the ongoing violence in Darfur. According to Ms. Farrow and Ms. Williams, one of the primary reasons is the investment of US-based investment funds such as Fidelity in companies like PetroChina or Sinopec. These companies are subsidiaries of the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC), which is exporting about

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May 18, 2007 | ISN Looks At Nigeria After the Elections

Although elections for the Senate and the President were held in April, Nigeria’s (democratic) future remains uncertain, writes Dulue Mbachu of ISN Security Watch. According to the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), the first vote was accompanied by violence. The presidential election was calmer, but observers claim more fraudulent. Conversely, the government-appointed election commission

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April 17, 2007 | Erica Downs on Chinese Energy

The rapid rise of China as an economic and industrial power has put new demands on Beijing’s energy policy, reports Erica Downs of Brookings. Once self-sufficient in oil, China is now the world’s third-highest oil importer, and energy security is a clear focus of China’s foreign and domestic policies. As Beijing tries to balance administrative and market mechanisms, there is a struggle to create

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April 16, 2007 | Christoph Bertram on Gently Nudging Iran to Play Ball

The United Nations approach to halting the Iranian nuclear program is a deepening hole that the Security Council and Germany should “stop digging,” says Christoph Bertram, the former director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin and a member of the Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board. Bertram notes that attempts at sanctioning Iran have heightened Tehran’s

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