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Home Archive December 2008 Issue

December 2008 Issue

From the Editor

During the recent Presidential elections much was made about how the US economy could drill its way to a more secure energy future. December’s issue of the Journal of Energy Security throws a damper on this notion with some clear-headed if not sobering analysis of just how far US domestic oil and gas drilling can really take us. While this stark, apolitical analysis is not music to the ears it may be just what the doctor ordered to catalyze realistic political debate in the new Obama administration for arranging the hard policy choices needed for securing America’s energy future.

On August 4, 2007 a submarine planted a rust-proof Russian titanium flag on the bed of the Arctic sea-floor. As the Arctic ice melts, countries are competing for what is believed to be vast reserves of oil and natural gas hidden beneath this icy core. The big-boy on this block, Canada not Russia, must deal with competition over these resources and how it impacts on its own national security. Balancing domestic considerations over energy, the environment, and the rights of Canada’s Arctic indigenous peoples is but the tip of this melting iceberg in this first analysis of Canadian Arctic energy security from a Canadian intelligence perspective.

Remiss it would certainly be to ignore the implications of the global financial meltdown on energy markets and supply security. As the world’s largest non-OPEC oil producer, economic calamity is particularly egregious for Russian oil output and its stalled gas industry aka Gazprom. The stakes are high for import dependent European Union member states and others in Russia’s neighborhood. So here we take a look. And if this wasn’t enough, in October Russia, Iran and Qatar announced their intention to coordinate "gas policy." The Journal of Energy Security offers two views on this development from Ariel Cohen at Washington’s venerable Heritage Foundation and from Warren Wilczewski with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs who believes the muscle behind a pending "Gas Troika" is but a lot of hot air. Finally, we are interested in your thoughts and suggestions for our coverage of global energy security issues. Letters to the editor are welcome and warmly encouraged.

editor@iags.org

Gas Exporting Countries Forum: The Russian-Iranian Gas Cartel

Consumers of natural gas may be on the verge of confronting something very big and ugly: a global gas cartel. What makes such a cartel dangerous to consumers beyond inflated prices is the fact that because natural gas delivery is fixed to infrastructure the fungible nature of oil transport simply is not there.  Terms like "ring-fencing", "price-gouging" and "foreign energy policy" spring to mind within the context of such a cartel's development.  Is this threat real?  If so, what can or should we do about it? 

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Canadian Arctic Energy Security

Of all the littoral Arctic states, Canada has its own deeply vested national security interests in how this region and its potentially vast energy resources are developed.  Caught between the geopolitical significance US and Russian interests place on the region, surging demand for new energy resources from China and India, and its own national priorities the Arctic could become a model for international cooperation or a landscape riddled with future conflict.

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The Big Gas Troika: A Lot of Hot Air

Are Russia, Iran and Qatar really capable of creating an operative "Big Gas Troika" with the power to set regional if not global prices for natural gas and LNG?  Parallels between OPEC and the nascent Organization of Gas Exporting Countries are undeniable.  But how are far do these similarites go and to what extent is cooperation limited by  competition between the world's major gas producers? 

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Can The United States Drill Its Way to Energy Security?

Can The United States Drill Its Way to Energy Security?

The United States is incapable of drilling its way to energy security.  If this is the case, then why was there so much banter given to "Drill-Baby-Drill!" during the recent US Presidential Elections?  Digging down into the real numbers behind the rhetoric gives new insight into just what oil and gas companies, the US economy and the US consumer are up against.  Here is a reality check we all might want to pay attention to.

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Russia’s Financial Market Meltdown: Energy Security Implications

Over the past 12 months Russia has gone from one of the best performing to one of the worst performing emerging markets in the world.  If it were not for the fact(s) that Russia is the world's largest non-OPEC oil producer and holds the world's largest reserves of natural gas then this might mean less.  As it stands the world has a huge stake in Russia's future.  But scratch beneath the surface and it appears that the country's own oil and gas majors may have trouble in digging themselves out of the hole they find themselves in.

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