Geopolitiske forandringer om hjørnet?

Diverse — Drokles on July 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

Walter Russel Mead har i den seneste tid skrevet en række gode artikler for American Interest om de enorme olie- og gasreserver man i disse år finder udenfor Mellemøsten.

By some estimates, the United States has more oil than Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran combined, and Canada may have even more than the United States. A GAO report released last May (pdf link can be found here) estimates that up to the equivalent of 3 trillion barrels of shale oil may lie in just one of the major potential US energy production sites. If half of this oil is recoverable, US reserves in this one deposit are roughly equal to the known reserves of the rest of the world combined.


Domestically, the energy bonanza changes the American outlook far more dramatically than most people yet realize. This is a Big One, a game changer, and it will likely be a major factor in propelling the United States to the next (and still unknown) stage of development — towards the next incarnation of the American Dream.

The energy revolution is first and foremost a revolution that affects jobs. We are in the very early stages, but since the financial crisis of 2008, fracking alone has created something like 600,000 new jobs in the United States, says the FT. Throw in more jobs in both extracting and refining the new energy wealth, and add the manufacturing and processing industries that will return to US shores to benefit from cheap, secure and abundant energy and feedstock, and it is clear that the energy revolution will be a jobs revolution.

Også Kina har en del energi under Muren, hvilket kan lette trykket omkring dets grænser

On the whole, a world of energy abundance should be particularly good for U.S.-China relations. If both China and the United States have large energy reserves at home, and if new discoveries globally are making energy more abundant, there is less chance that China and the U.S. will compete for political influence in places like the Middle East. More energy security at home may also lessen the political pressure inside China to build up its naval forces.

Oil may calm the troubled waters around China’s shores. The maritime disputes now causing trouble from Korea and Japan to Malaysia and the Philippines will be easier to manage if the potential undersea energy resources are seen as less vital to national economic security. Nationalist passion will still drive tough stands on the maritime issues, but nationalism is a much stronger force when powerful economic arguments share the agenda of radical nationalist groups. If the South China Sea issue is seen as both a question of national pride and, because of perceived energy supply issues, a vital national interest, Chinese policy will be much tougher than if it is simply a question of pride.

Depending on the size of China’s unconventional domestic reserves (and some analysts think the country could have something like the equivalent of double Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves), China will feel marginally less constrained by Washington’s global naval supremacy. As it now stands, in any serious clash with China, the U.S. could bring Beijing to its knees with a naval blockade. With much larger domestic energy production, China would be less vulnerable to this threat. This could translate into a greater willingness to take a hard line on international issues.

On the other hand, China is unlikely to gain complete energy independence, and in any case it will still need access to the global system for trade and investment. Indeed, assuming that the new energy abundance promotes global economic prosperity, access to the global market will become more attractive for China and its deepening economic independence with world markets would make China less willing to risk cutting off its maritime connections to the rest of the world.

Også Israel har enorme energiforekomster og det betyder flere venner og svagere fjender.

Even at this very early stage, the impact of Israel’s energy wealth is dramatic. On President Putin’s visit to Jerusalem, he donned a kippah and went to pray at the Western Wall of the ancient Temple. As one press report has it, at the close of his visit, Putin turned to one of the Russian Jews present and said

I came here to pray that the Temple should be rebuilt, and I wish that your prayers will be fulfilled.

Putin had more honeyed words for his Israeli hosts. Touring the Wall, he said “Here, we see how the Jewish past is etched into the stones of Jerusalem.” This is not quite a formal recognition of Israeli claims to the Old City, but it is much more than Israelis usually hear. (Many Arabs and Palestinians insist that there is no connection between the Jews and the Western Wall, known in Arabic as the Al Buraq Wall after the mysterious heavenly steed said to have brought the Prophet Mohammed to Jerusalem on his famous Night Journey.)

The reaction from the Arab side to Putin’s statement about the historically Jewish character of Jerusalem was correspondingly furious. The Al Aqsa Institute issued the following statement:

We tell Putin and people like him that the Al-Buraq Wall is exclusive Muslim Waqf property, is an inseparable part of the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque and non-Muslims have no rights at this wall or at the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque, and all historic facts and international documents stress the fact that the Al Buraq Wall is Islamic…

We stress that every stone in the Al Aqsa Mosque and its buildings shows is evidence that it is Islamic and every stone in Al Quds is testimony to Al Quds’s Muslim and Arabic nature.

If the oil and the gas start to flow in anything like the quantities experts think now may be possible, expect many more visitors to Jerusalem to say similar things to Israelis and the Al Aqsa Institute will have to issue a lot more angry rebuttals. An Israel with vast energy endowments may be less coolly received in certain circles than it is today.

De svagere fjender er araberne, som sammen med Rusland må se frem til mindsket indflydelse

What Iran is discovering today, others will feel tomorrow. Since the 1970s, the states on both sides of the Gulf have been central to all kinds of global issues, and the great powers have focused enormous amounts of time and attention on their wants and needs. As the energy revolution proceeds, they won’t completely sink into insignificance (and the US concern to protect the independence of countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the rest won’t disappear), but the days when the world hung on every word that fell from the lips of OPEC are gone.

More, the political importance of the Gulf derives in part from the intersection of energy politics and national policy in many European countries. In places like Italy, France and Greece, national oil companies have much greater power in national politics than they do in the US. (The US has more oil companies, and there are more corporate and regional interests competing against what the oil companies want.) The ability of the Gulf countries to make or mar the fortunes of foreign oil companies has been an important source of political power for them. This power won’t go away, but it won’t be the same. There are lots of new places to look for oil these days, and with more countries interested in attracting international investment, the balance of power will shift from resource rich countries to firms with the capital and skill to turn those resources into revenue.

Coming back to Russia, the biggest threat to Moscow’s hopes for rebuilding its power based on energy resources comes from the discovery of huge natural gas reserves under the eastern Mediterranean seabed. Russia can and will do what it can to join in the exploitation of these resources; Greece, Cyprus and Israel are all willing to cooperate with the Russians when it comes to exploitation and processing.

So Gazprom won’t starve — but it could lose its ability to stop the flow of natural gas into western Europe. New pipelines will be built from Greece north and east and while a friendly Greek government and a strong capital position for Russian companies in the Greek gas business could give Moscow an edge, the Greeks are unlikely to allow Russia to turn Europe’s gas taps on and off at will.

Artiklerne kan med stor fordel læses i sin helhed. Der er flere nuancer og også sunde forbehold beg Meads optimisme for energireserverne er ikke lette at udnytte og potentialet afhænger af at den teknologiske udvikling kan gøre udvinding i større stil rentabel og især af politisk vilje. Og med de europæiske erfaringer in mente er der ingen grænser for den politiske dumheds tyrannisering af nødvendigheden - men USA er vel klogere.

3 Kommentarer »

  1. [...] Her på monokultur kan du læse artiklen [...]

  2. Al denne olie gør klimaaktivisterne kede af det

    Comment by Gammelfar — July 30, 2012 @ 2:42 pm
  3. It’s an remarkable article in favor of all
    the online viewers; they will get advantage from it I am

    Comment by cook healthier — December 10, 2015 @ 11:31 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Kommentér indlægget...

Monokultur kører på WordPress