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Geopolitics - Aug 22

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Energy crisis - the culprit is national oil companies & socialism [Not!]

Jerome a Paris, European Tribune
As was pointed out by starvid a few days ago, a new front on the energy wars has been opened, with an attack on national oil companies in oil producing countries, and the socialist policies these countries dare follow, at our cost.

In addition to the Newsweek article starvid quoted, the Economist joined the parade at about the same time (wity a leading editorial and a long article), which makes one wonder who sent out the original press release/"research" on the topic...

Anyway, here's a quick debunking of the most blatant lies.
(22 Aug 2006)
Also posted at Daily Kos.


Sino-Cuba energy relations raise concern in Washington

Fred Stakelbeck, Monsters and Critics
As a frail Fidel Castro recuperates from gastrointestinal surgery, his fellow comrades in Havana have moved forward with a bilateral agreement to conduct oil and gas exploration operations with communist China in the Gulf of Mexico.

While the Bush administration watches from afar in stoic silence, massive deep sea drilling platforms manned by employees of China’s state-controlled oil company Sinopec and Cuba’s government-owned CubaPetroleo bore deep into the earth’s crust in an attempt to secure the Gulf’s vast energy reserves.

For China, the budding energy partnership with Cuba comes at a critical time. Energy demand continues to increase at an almost unsustainable rate, with oil demand rising an unprecedented 15 percent in June from a year earlier, the third straight month of double-digit expansion. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts China’s appetite for oil will skyrocket to 14.2 million bpd by 2025.

The presence of Chinese state-owned oil rigs operating less than 50 miles from the Florida Keys has raised alarm among some members of Congress who view Beijing’s actions in the area as a veiled attempt to reduce America’s dominant role in the Western Hemisphere. “China is trying to lock up resources around the world, and they are locking up resources in our own backyard,” noted Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig. “This is simply wrong. I’ve had enough, and I believe the American people have had enough,” he said.
(17 Aug 2006)


Russian Pipeline Monopoly Warns Lithuanian Refinery of Long Shutoff

MosNews
The president of Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft Simon Vainstock said on Thursday, Aug. 17, that the branch of its Druzhba oil link that supplies crude to Lithuania’s Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery may be shut down for years in order to conduct much-needed repairs.

“This could happen,” Vainshtok said in an interview with The Moscow Times, an English-language Russian daily, speaking of a long-term shutdown. “You understand that the lifespan of a pipeline according to industry norms is 30 years. Druzhba-1 is 42... It is made out of metals that are now forbidden,” he said...

Some European critics are questioning the real motives of Transneft’s shutdown to the Mazeikiu refinery. Lithuanian officials have said that the shutdown was political and even the international ratings agency Fitch has said in its recent report that if the repairs are not made within the next several weeks, the shutdown of crude supplies could be seen as a political, rather than economic move.
(17 Aug 2006)


Bolivia Suspends a Takeover of Oil and Gas

AP, New York Times
Bolivia says it has suspended the nationalization of its oil and gas industry pending an overhaul of the state petroleum company, which lacks the funds and operating capacity to take over production from foreign companies.

A statement issued Friday by Bolivia's hydrocarbons ministry said that 'full effect' of nationalization would be temporarily suspended, because of the 'lack of economic resources' for the company, known by its initials, Y.P.F.B.

When President Evo Morales nationalized the oil and gas industry on May 1, seizing the assets of international companies that had long controlled most of the country's considerable oil and gas reserves, he called for the company to be remade within 60 days as "transparent, efficient and socially controlled.

The state-owned company has asked the Central Bank of Bolivia for $180 million to help assume complete control of the production facilities.
(14 Aug 2006)


Japan and China Race for African Oil

Hisane Masaki, Japan Focus
The increasingly fierce competition between Japan and China over energy and political influence is spilling over into Africa.

Following in the footsteps of Beijing, Tokyo has recently begun to turn to the continent as a new source of oil. Meanwhile, the leaders of the two Asian neighbors have recently made whirlwind tours of Africa.

While Japan until recently has almost ignored Africa as an energy-resource supplier, China has been aggressively pursuing oil and gas interests in Africa. Japan and China are the world's No 3 and No 2 oil consumers, respectively. And they are both hungry for energy to feed their economies, the world's No 2 and No 4, respectively, in terms of gross domestic product.

Japan imports almost all of its oil, nearly 90% of which comes
from the Middle East. Deeply concerned about energy security at a time of stubbornly high global oil prices and a global rush for oil and other energy resources, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) recently released a new long-terms strategy aimed at ensuring stable oil, gas and other energy-resource supplies.
(19 Aug 2006)

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