Tag: fossil fuels

Why US Shale Revolution Is Not Good News For Middle Eastern Players
Geopolitics

Why US Shale Revolution Is Not Good News For Middle Eastern Players

US Shale Revolution: The United States went into a shale revolution. As the US moved towards this method of self-sufficiency, it could also see a boost in the number of jobs and lower fossil fuel imports. Suddenly, there was access to cheap shale oil and gas from the West Texas Permian Basin. In 2010, it has greatly started to decrease the entire world’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil and allayed fuel shortage anxieties. Since 2010, the US thus became far more self-reliant, giving its primary Middle East partners a run for their money. 

America’s major oil alleys were primarily Saudi Arabia and Iran. According to the Brookings Institution on oil, “In the modern era, no other commodity has played such a pivotal role in driving political and economic turmoil, and there is every reason to expect this to continue.” Indeed, before the pandemic hit the world, geopolitically driven wars and everything else was hinging on this liquid gold and its movement across the nations.

However, as the pandemic made the use of oil non-existent and environmental concerns pushed for use of more renewable energy, there has been more trouble for the Middle Eastern bigwigs. 

While the US has been moving towards self-reliance, it reached out to the Middle East as a military partner, fueling the various civil wars. Sometimes playing as the peacekeeper, it has primarily kept good relations with the big players like this. As America’s interest in oil has diminished, so has other players who might not be interested in creating a safety net between many Middle Eastern nations and Iran. As foreign western powers retreat, it is the Middle East versus Iran. Political analysts believe Tehran will not go into a direct confrontation mode and jeopardize its survival as it is already muzzled under US sanctions. 

But countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia might be better off coming together because without the US military support, they might not stand a fitting chance to fight a military confrontation with Iran after all. On its part, Iran has been playing its uranium enrichment card over. It is keeping the western and Middle Eastern world on tender hooks indeed. 

Russia Expands Power Portfolio Into African Continent
Middle East & Africa

Russia Expands Power Portfolio Into African Continent

Russia Expands Power Portfolio: If Vladimir Putin is losing his grip on Azerbaijan and Algeria situation, he is trying to garner more control elsewhere. Continuing to increase his footprint in Sudan, he now has plans to establish a naval base with nuclear powered military equipment. This is Kremlin’s official foothold into the African continent since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The new facility is earmarked to be built near the Port of Sudan. Confirmed reports state that it will be capable of accommodating upto 300 military and civilian personnel. This strategic move will not only give Russia access to Africa’s huge untapped fossil fuel resources but also improves Kremlin’s ability to operate in the Indian Ocean.

While Africa had been keenly looking for developmental support and collaboration with the world, its desire to strengthen its military prowess through external support is going to be double-edged sword. 

Plans are to use this as a repair and rest facility. However, with such free space given away by Sudan, Russia tends to have found a free passage into the continent that comprises 54 United Nation members. Sudan has been the bedrock of civil war and has only recently started to find itself assemble into a democracy. 

Nevertheless, its mineral rich status makes it a virgin land to be blundered. There are many takers for the wrong reasons. Political analysts are also forecasting that Russia might actually fortify its new African outpost with advanced surface-to-air missile systems, allowing it to create a no-fly zone for miles around. 

How China Is Spreading Its Energy Portfolio In Africa
Geopolitics

How China Is Spreading Its Energy Portfolio In Africa

Energy Portfolio In Africa: As the pandemic redefined the energy consumption levels of the world, geopolitics around natural gas and oil demand and supply is also being redefined. What was essentially a US stronghold seems to have been taken over by China.

After it’s almost certain war footing with China and Iran, the US had decided to move towards more production that is domestic. It might have been a stupid and immature strategy put in place by the Trump led administration. But the damage was already done; and Beijing has all the reasons to move into the oil rich lands of Africa. 

Blame it on the country’s Belt and Road initiative that has led it into energy rich lands. Under the ambitious leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, global infrastructure development program entails hefty Chinese-led investment in as many as 70 countries and international organizations around the world.

It has a varied energy portfolio. What has become most interesting is its interest in Africa, a market that has remained comparatively untapped. Sources confirm that Beijing is battling it out with Russia in Africa, over nuclear energy. Beijing has however shown huge interest in the oil and gas segment of Africa too. 

Varied sources have confirmed that in fact, China’s national oil companies indeed are investing heavily in the exploration and production of oil and gas supplies in Africa. Undeniably, the continent is the “second largest region in supplying oil and gas to China, after the Middle East, with over 25% of its total imported oil and gas.” China’s appetite for oil is nearly insatiable, and the nation has quickly risen through the ranks to become the largest importer of black gold in the world for two years in a row. 

Currently, China has a whopping USD$15 billion worth of investments planned in Africa’s oil sector. Three major players are a party to this chunky investment. These include China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) and China National Offshore Oil (CNOOC). 

Africa has not seen infrastructure development due to many socio-political reasons. For Beijing it’s a win-win situation. Whether it will use this to create an infrastructure for Africa, is a far-fetched hope. However, recent messaging from the various corners of Africa is speaking of their desire to collaborate with nations that can help them expand their horizons of infrastructural growth.  

The flipside of all this investment by China is that the tide is actually flowing in the other direction. Sooner, the interest of the other power hungry nations like Turkey, Russia and Iran will move away from the oil rich nations like Syria, Yemen and Libya. The world is moving towards clean energy sources and fossil fuels are not looking that attractive to the powerful nations anymore. 

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