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June 6th
12:26 PM
China nudging US out of Iraqi oil boom
Could China be the ultimate winner of the Iraq War? Deutsche Welle »

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China, which already buys nearly half the oil the country produces, is currently vying for an even bigger share. State-operated oil companies are now bidding for a vast stake in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields currently owned by US multinational Exxon Mobil…
"Though the Americans technically won the war there, as you know it was a catastrophic blunder," said Mamdouh Salameh, international oil economist and oil market consultant for the World Bank. "They went for oil, but the winner actually is China."  >continue<

The report notes China enjoys the advantage of not having risk management concerns as do commercially driven American companies, since China’s effort is a defacto extension of foreign policy with full state backing. Exxon’s problems are further aggravated by the lure of deals in the Kurdish north at the expense of drawing the ire of the majority Shiite backed Maliki government in Baghdad.

China nudging US out of Iraqi oil boom

Could China be the ultimate winner of the Iraq War?
Deutsche Welle »

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China, which already buys nearly half the oil the country produces, is currently vying for an even bigger share. State-operated oil companies are now bidding for a vast stake in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields currently owned by US multinational Exxon Mobil…

"Though the Americans technically won the war there, as you know it was a catastrophic blunder," said Mamdouh Salameh, international oil economist and oil market consultant for the World Bank. "They went for oil, but the winner actually is China."  >continue<

The report notes China enjoys the advantage of not having risk management concerns as do commercially driven American companies, since China’s effort is a defacto extension of foreign policy with full state backing. Exxon’s problems are further aggravated by the lure of deals in the Kurdish north at the expense of drawing the ire of the majority Shiite backed Maliki government in Baghdad.

July 11th
4:38 PM
Via
"

The automatic correction – resource depletion destroying the machine that was driving it – that many environmentalists foresaw is not going to happen. The problem we face is not that there is too little oil, but that there is too much.

We have confused threats to the living planet with threats to industrial civilization. They are not, in the first instance, the same thing. Industry and consumer capitalism, powered by abundant oil supplies, are more resilient than many of the natural systems they threaten. The great profusion of life in the past – fossilized in the form of flammable carbon – now jeopardizes the great profusion of life in the present.

There is enough oil in the ground to deep-fry the lot of us, and no obvious means to prevail upon governments and industry to leave it in the ground. Twenty years of efforts to prevent climate breakdown through moral persuasion have failed, with the collapse of the multilateral process at Rio de Janeiro last month. The world’s most powerful nation is again becoming an oil state, and if the political transformation of its northern neighbour is anything to go by, the results will not be pretty.

"
May 10th
12:22 PM

The Energy Wars Heat Up

Michael T. Klare »

…what we are now seeing is a whole cluster of oil-related clashes stretching across the globe, involving a dozen or so countries, with more popping up all the time.  Consider these flash-points as signals that we are entering an era of intensified conflict over energy.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Argentina to the Philippines, here are the six areas of conflict — all tied to energy supplies — that have made news in just the first few months of 2012:

  • A brewing war between Sudan and South Sudan
  • Naval clash in the South China Sea
  • Egypt cuts off the natural gas flow to Israel
  • Argentina seizes YPF
  • Argentina re-ignites the Falklands crisis
  • U.S. forces mobilize for war with Iran

…The world has long been bifurcated between energy-surplus and energy-deficit states, with the former deriving enormous political and economic advantages from their privileged condition and the latter struggling mightily to escape their subordinate position.  Now, that bifurcation is looking more like a chasm.  In such a global environment, friction and conflict over oil and gas reserves — leading to energy conflicts of all sorts — is only likely to increase.  >continue<

Each of the bullet points are expanded in detail. Related entries on the South China Sea and the renewal of the Falklands/Malivinas dispute.

January 31st
12:55 PM

India to ignore Iran embargo, mulls rupee as payment for oil

AFP »

India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in Chicago on the weekend that New Delhi would not scale down its petroleum imports from Iran despite US and European sanctions against the Islamic republic.  >continue<

December 31st
3:10 PM

Goodluck crushing terrorists in Nigeria

Declares state of emergency

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in some northern and central parts of the country that have been hit hard by violence blamed on the radical sect, Boko Haram.

bombings have raised fears that Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, and whose movement is styled on the Taliban, is trying to ignite sectarian strife in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer.  >continue<

Vows to crush  |  Who are Boko Haram?  |  Mapping Nigeria divide

Update 1/9: Violence amid fuel subsidy protests
Live rounds & teargas

December 28th
1:53 PM
Iran sees Sanctions, raises Strait of Hormuz

Iran is preemptively responding to threats of escalating sanctions by conducting a big naval exercise, Vilayat-90, in the Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Iran is making the point that if it wants to, it can close the straits, through which about 17% of the world’s petroleum exports flow. Any interruption in that flow would cause a global energy crisis. An Iranian admiral has said that closing the straits would be as easy as “drinking a glass of water.”&#8230;The problem with imposing an embargo on Iran’s petroleum exports, which the US Senate wants to do by sanctioning Iran’s central bank, is that it is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It would be South Korea, Japan, India and Italy that would suffer, i.e. US allies (along with China, which wouldn’t be happy and is not without resources to fight back).  &gt;continue&lt;

Oil threats over sanctions row  |  Winners &amp; losers
Arabian Gauntlet  |  Accelerating Spiral | ZeitVox Iran coverage

Iran sees Sanctions, raises Strait of Hormuz

Iran is preemptively responding to threats of escalating sanctions by conducting a big naval exercise, Vilayat-90, in the Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Iran is making the point that if it wants to, it can close the straits, through which about 17% of the world’s petroleum exports flow. Any interruption in that flow would cause a global energy crisis. An Iranian admiral has said that closing the straits would be as easy as “drinking a glass of water.”

…The problem with imposing an embargo on Iran’s petroleum exports, which the US Senate wants to do by sanctioning Iran’s central bank, is that it is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It would be South Korea, Japan, India and Italy that would suffer, i.e. US allies (along with China, which wouldn’t be happy and is not without resources to fight back).  >continue<

Oil threats over sanctions row  |  Winners & losers

Arabian Gauntlet Accelerating Spiral | ZeitVox Iran coverage

December 23rd
2:20 PM
Falklands Tensions Flare Anew

In 1910, a 17,000-word memo was commissioned by the Foreign Office to look at the historical dispute over sovereignty. The study highlighted many weaknesses in the British case and can be seen as our equivalent of the Pentagon Papers, the leaked study of US policy in Vietnam.The holes in the British case shocked many officials in Whitehall. The head of the Foreign Office&#8217;s American department, Gerald Spicer, wrote: &#8220;From a perusal of this memo it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Argentine government&#8217;s attitude is not altogether unjustified and that our action has been somewhat high-handed.&#8221;  &gt;link&lt;

'Somewhat highhanded'  |  Big Oil &amp; Gas finds spark fury
UK committed  |  Falklands/Malvinas History ____________________________
update: Peru cancels Royal Navy visit  |  Brit plurality says keep &#8216;at all costs&#8217;
And by the way, which one&#8217;s Pink?

Falklands Tensions Flare Anew

In 1910, a 17,000-word memo was commissioned by the Foreign Office to look at the historical dispute over sovereignty. The study highlighted many weaknesses in the British case and can be seen as our equivalent of the Pentagon Papers, the leaked study of US policy in Vietnam.

The holes in the British case shocked many officials in Whitehall. The head of the Foreign Office’s American department, Gerald Spicer, wrote: “From a perusal of this memo it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Argentine government’s attitude is not altogether unjustified and that our action has been somewhat high-handed.”  >link<

'Somewhat highhanded'  |  Big Oil & Gas finds spark fury

UK committed Falklands/Malvinas History
____________________________

update: Peru cancels Royal Navy visit  |  Brit plurality says keep ‘at all costs’

And by the way, which one’s Pink?

September 14th
3:05 PM
Reports of abnormal gulf oil seepage continue:

Al Jazeera flew to the area on Sunday, September 11, and spotted a swath of silvery oil sheen, approximately 7&#160;km long and 10 to 50 meters wide, at a location roughly 19&#160;km northeast of the now-capped Macondo 252 well.
According to oil trackers with the organisation On Wings of Care, who have been monitoring the new oil since early August, rainbow-tinted slicks and thicker globs of oil have been consistently visible in the area&#8230;

&#8230;oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico is a natural phenomenon and can cause sheens, but the current oil and sheen is suspect due to their size and location near the Macondo well. &gt;continue&lt;

While a new report on the Deepwater Horizon crisis focuses on events of last year, a constellation of sightings indicate the problem may still be unfolding. Tests on some samples match the fingerprint of the BP oil.  In the wake of tropical storm Lee, oil was documented on beaches east of New Orleans. Today Chevron also confirms a leak in the Gulf. Though distinct from the Macondo (Deepwater) well, the latter only adds complexities in sorting out the scope and nature of the problem. Some fear geological idiosyncrasies in the Gulf could compound the scenario, possibly outstripping any current capacities for a fix.

Reports of abnormal gulf oil seepage continue:

Al Jazeera flew to the area on Sunday, September 11, and spotted a swath of silvery oil sheen, approximately 7 km long and 10 to 50 meters wide, at a location roughly 19 km northeast of the now-capped Macondo 252 well.

According to oil trackers with the organisation On Wings of Care, who have been monitoring the new oil since early August, rainbow-tinted slicks and thicker globs of oil have been consistently visible in the area…

…oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico is a natural phenomenon and can cause sheens, but the current oil and sheen is suspect due to their size and location near the Macondo well. >continue<

While a new report on the Deepwater Horizon crisis focuses on events of last year, a constellation of sightings indicate the problem may still be unfolding. Tests on some samples match the fingerprint of the BP oil.  In the wake of tropical storm Lee, oil was documented on beaches east of New Orleans. Today Chevron also confirms a leak in the Gulf. Though distinct from the Macondo (Deepwater) well, the latter only adds complexities in sorting out the scope and nature of the problem. Some fear geological idiosyncrasies in the Gulf could compound the scenario, possibly outstripping any current capacities for a fix.

September 2nd
10:25 AM
Via

Scientists: Oil fouling Gulf matches Deepwater Horizon well

MOBILE, Alabama — Scientific analysis has confirmed that oil bubbling up above BP’s sealed Deepwater Horizon well in recent days is a chemical match for the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed into the Gulf last summer.  >continue<

See also: Dead Ringer…As Good A Match As I’ve Seen  |  Growing Oil Slick Found

There is concern that fractures in the ocean floor, “a geology of unstable salt formations”, could make for a practically insoluble problem.

^^ This news from a week ago appears, unfortunately, to be picking up steam:
New leak near Deepwater Horizon site quickly becoming a massive oil slick 

August 26th
11:48 AM

Scientists: Oil fouling Gulf matches Deepwater Horizon well

MOBILE, Alabama — Scientific analysis has confirmed that oil bubbling up above BP’s sealed Deepwater Horizon well in recent days is a chemical match for the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed into the Gulf last summer.  >continue<

See also: Dead Ringer…As Good A Match As I’ve Seen  |  Growing Oil Slick Found

There is concern that fractures in the ocean floor, “a geology of unstable salt formations”, could make for a practically insoluble problem.

July 16th
12:24 PM
New Great Game in Afghanistan

Today, Afghanistan&#8217;s natural resources are estimated to be worth billions of dollars. The resources in the neighboring Central Asian states are thought to be worth even more - the cake is huge and as yet largely untouched. &#8230;The Chinese government has been conducting an offensive &#8220;shopping spree&#8221; in Afghanistan and other Central Asian states for some time now. To Washington&#8217;s displeasure, Beijing was able to secure the exploitation rights for the region&#8217;s biggest copper mine, by shelling out three billion dollars. Now, fully-laden trucks head from the mine in eastern Afghanistan to China on roads built by the Americans.  &gt;continue&lt;

Vast Mineral Riches  |  New Oil Deposits in Afghanistan
“We do the heavy lifting&#8230;they pick the fruit”

New Great Game in Afghanistan

Today, Afghanistan’s natural resources are estimated to be worth billions of dollars. The resources in the neighboring Central Asian states are thought to be worth even more - the cake is huge and as yet largely untouched.

…The Chinese government has been conducting an offensive “shopping spree” in Afghanistan and other Central Asian states for some time now. To Washington’s displeasure, Beijing was able to secure the exploitation rights for the region’s biggest copper mine, by shelling out three billion dollars. Now, fully-laden trucks head from the mine in eastern Afghanistan to China on roads built by the Americans.  >continue<

Vast Mineral Riches  |  New Oil Deposits in Afghanistan

“We do the heavy lifting…they pick the fruit”

June 11th
12:15 PM
China isn&#8217;t exactly restrained in its claims to resources in the Spratlys and the South China Sea. Tensions and talk begin to reach a dangerous pitch - as China prepares to launch its first aircraft carrier:
Vietnam and the Dragon

&#8230;hundreds gathered in Hanoi to protest Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. On May 26, a Chinese patrol boat allegedly snipped the surveying cable of a Vietnamese vessel that was conducting seismic research within Vietnam&#8217;s exclusive economic zone. Vietnam also says Chinese ships fired warning shots at Vietnamese fishermen working in territorial waters on June 1. Ho Chi Minh City saw protests over the weekend too, and Vietnam&#8217;s state-controlled press has been on a tear decrying Beijing&#8217;s bullying.  &gt;continue&lt;

Enmity between China and Vietnam revived  |  Tensions Grow
China Communist Party newspaper cautions Vietnam

Saturday&#8217;s editorial mixed righteous indignation with patronizing language in a reflection of the condescension with which Beijing frequently regards its smaller Communist neighbor. While China assisted Vietnam&#8217;s Communists against France and the United States, relations soon soured and China briefly invaded in 1979 in retaliation for Hanoi&#8217;s toppling of Beijing&#8217;s Khmer Rouge allies in Cambodia.  &gt;continue&lt;

Update 6/12: Vietnam seeks US support  &#171;&#160;ft.com (subs/register required)

China isn’t exactly restrained in its claims to resources in the Spratlys and the South China Sea. Tensions and talk begin to reach a dangerous pitch - as China prepares to launch its first aircraft carrier:

Vietnam and the Dragon

…hundreds gathered in Hanoi to protest Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. On May 26, a Chinese patrol boat allegedly snipped the surveying cable of a Vietnamese vessel that was conducting seismic research within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Vietnam also says Chinese ships fired warning shots at Vietnamese fishermen working in territorial waters on June 1. Ho Chi Minh City saw protests over the weekend too, and Vietnam’s state-controlled press has been on a tear decrying Beijing’s bullying.  >continue<

Enmity between China and Vietnam revived  |  Tensions Grow

China Communist Party newspaper cautions Vietnam

Saturday’s editorial mixed righteous indignation with patronizing language in a reflection of the condescension with which Beijing frequently regards its smaller Communist neighbor. While China assisted Vietnam’s Communists against France and the United States, relations soon soured and China briefly invaded in 1979 in retaliation for Hanoi’s toppling of Beijing’s Khmer Rouge allies in Cambodia.  >continue<

Update 6/12: Vietnam seeks US support  « ft.com (subs/register required)

February 25th
6:53 AM

Teodorin's World: Glimpse into America's oily accommodation of Equatorial Guinea's ruling class

Foreign Policy Magazine features an in depth article on the magnificently corrupt spawn of Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang regime:

Washington’s accommodation of Obiang stands in marked contrast to its harsher treatment of global thugs who aren’t lucky enough to be sitting atop vast energy reserves. And the relationship between the United States and Equatorial Guinea is as oily as they come.

Alongside awe over revolutionary shock waves, there’s an increasing awareness of America’s entanglement in countenancing brutal and corrupt regimes.  In the case of Equatorial Guinea, you can bet some hope the poor are too busy scratching out a living to catch Aljazeera.

The larger issue raised by all this is why the U.S. government — after going to the effort to produce this mound of information pointing to Teodorin’s flagrant corruption and apparent misuse of the U.S. banking system — has been unwilling to do anything about it.

… Obiang watchers say the scale of his regime’s looting appears to be approaching the sort of baroque levels reached before by historic crooks like Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
- source

January 18th
2:23 PM
Via

In today's "We should be hearing more about this" news...

pantslessprogressive:

A brave new world of fossil fuels on demand

In September, a privately held and highly secretive U.S. biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for “a proprietary organism” – a genetically adapted E. coli bacterium – that feeds solely on carbon dioxide and excretes liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (U.S.) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, “fossil fuels on demand.”

Read More…