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The Energy Wars Heat Up

Posted on May 10, 2012
-Chupacabras- (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A poster celebrates the nationalization of YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company.

By Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch

(Page 2)

* Egypt cuts off the natural gas flow to Israel: On April 22nd, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company informed Israeli energy officials that they were “terminating the gas and purchase agreement” under which Egypt had been supplying gas to Israel.  This followed months of demonstrations in Cairo by the youthful protestors who succeeded in deposing autocrat Hosni Mubarak and are now seeking a more independent Egyptian foreign policy—one less beholden to the United States and Israel.  It also followed scores of attacks on the pipelines carrying the gas across the Negev Desert to Israel, which the Egyptian military has seemed powerless to prevent.

Ostensibly, the decision was taken in response to a dispute over Israeli payments for Egyptian gas, but all parties involved have interpreted it as part of a drive by Egypt’s new government to demonstrate greater distance from the ousted Mubarak regime and his (U.S.-encouraged) policy of cooperation with Israel.  The Egyptian-Israeli gas link was one of the most significant outcomes of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, and its annulment clearly signals a period of greater discord; it may also cause energy shortages in Israel, especially during peak summer demand periods.  On a larger scale, the cutoff suggests a new inclination to use energy (or its denial) as a form of political warfare and coercion.

* Argentina seizes YPF: On April 16th, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced that her government would seize a majority stake in YPF, the nation’s largest oil company.  Under President Kirchner’s plans, which she detailed on national television, the government would take a 51% controlling stake in YPF, which is now majority-owned by Spain’s largest corporation, the energy firm Repsol YPF.  The seizure of its Argentinean subsidiary is seen in Madrid (and other European capitals) as a major threat that must now be combated.  Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel García Margallo, said that Kirchner’s move “broke the climate of cordiality and friendship that presided over relations between Spain and Argentina.”  Several days later, in what is reported to be only the first of several retaliatory steps, Spain announced that it would stop importing biofuels from Argentina, its principal supplier—a trade worth nearly $1 billion a year to the Argentineans.

As in the other conflicts, this clash is driven by many urges, including a powerful strain of nationalism stretching back to the Peronist era, along with Kirchner’s apparent desire to boost her standing in the polls.  Just as important, however, is Argentina’s urge to derive greater economic and political benefit from its energy reserves, which include the world’s third-largest deposits of shale gas.  While long-term rival Brazil is gaining immense power and prestige from the development of its offshore “pre-salt” petroleum reserves, Argentina has seen its energy production languish.  Repsol may not be to blame for this, but many Argentineans evidently believe that, with YPF under government control, it will now be possible to accelerate development of the country’s energy endowment, possibly in collaboration with a more aggressive foreign partner like BP or ExxonMobil.

* Argentina re-ignites the Falklands crisis: At an April 15th-16th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia—the one at which U.S. Secret Service agents were caught fraternizing with prostitutes—Argentina sought fresh hemispheric condemnation of Britain’s continued occupation of the Falkland Islands (called Las Malvinas by the Argentineans).  It won strong support from every country present save (predictably) Canada and the United States.  Argentina, which says the islands are part of its sovereign territory, has been raising this issue ever since it lost a war over the Falklands in 1982, but has recently stepped up its campaign on several fronts—denouncing London in numerous international venues and preventing British cruise ships that visit the Falklands from docking in Argentinean harbors.  The British have responded by beefing up their military forces in the region and warning the Argentineans to avoid any rash moves.

When Argentina and the U.K. fought their war over the Falklands, little was at stake save national pride, the stature of the country’s respective leaders (Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher vs. an unpopular military junta), and a few sparsely populated islands.  Since then, the stakes have risen immeasurably as a result of recent seismic surveys of the waters surrounding the islands that indicated the existence of massive deposits of oil and natural gas.  Several UK-based energy firms, including Desire Petroleum and Rockhopper Exploration, have begun off-shore drilling in the area and have reported promising discoveries.  Desperate to duplicate Brazil’s success in the development of offshore oil and gas, Argentina claims the discoveries lie in its sovereign territory and that the drilling there is illegal; the British, of course, insist that it’s their territory.  No one knows how this simmering potential crisis will unfold, but a replay of the 1982 war—this time over energy—is hardly out of the question.


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By prosefights, May 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Jerry Brown tweeted at the right time?

Scroll down to Iran website posts, then google

‘aboulghassem zirakzadeh’

This matter goes back to 1958.

Then google ‘fred fair donald rumsfeld’.

Fred and bill both attended summer school at the University of Colorado in 1958.

Fred and bill are graduates of Shattuck School 1956.

Report this

By prosefights, May 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

‘If Iran went for Solar, they wouldn’t need nuclear energy’ 

Large-scale solar generation of electricity may be a scam>

We are investigating.

Google Case No. 12-000007-ut’


Tuesday April 3, 2012 06:00

The US produces only 7% of the uranium it consumes, Byron King reported.

Written material has the problem that it is written by authors. And they cannot be trusted. Especially MSM.

Five new generators are on track for completion this decade, including two reactors approved just a few weeks ago (the first new reactor approvals in the US in over 30 years). Those will add to the 104 reactors that are already in operation around the country and already produce 20% of the nation’s power.
Those reactors will eat up 19,724 tonnes of U3O8 this year, which represents 29% of global uranium demand. If that seems like a large amount, it is! The US produces more nuclear power than any other country on earth, which means it consumes more uranium that any other nation. However, decades of declining domestic production have left the US producing only 4% of the world’s uranium.

With so little homegrown uranium, the United States has to import more than 80% of the uranium it needs to fuel its reactors. Thankfully, for 18 years a deal with Russia has filled that gap. The “Megatons to Megawatts” agreement, whereby Russia downblends highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads to create reactor fuel, has provided the US with a steady, inexpensive source of uranium since 1993. The problem is that the program is coming to an end next year.

The Upside to a Natural Gas Downturn
Marin Katusa, for The Daily Reckoning
Monday April 2, 2012

Friday April 13, 2012 06:33

Electricity production, not nuclear weapons, is at issue?

Reports suggest that America’s second demand will be the export of Iran’s stockpile of medium-enriched uranium.

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By stand to reason, May 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The unfettered global market, aka the club, everybody is in it
like it or not, except when it comes to energy then there is no
club anymore, it is something like the g20 against the rest of the
world. Absolutely astounding. That’s the way the milton
friedman economics works.

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By Alan MacDonald, May 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Wonder what Klare thinks of Steve Coll’s new book, “Private Empire; ExxonMobil and American Power”?

Wonder if the post-nation-state DGE (Disguised Global Empire) will be dominated by the fading nation-states or the newer global corporate-states?

Most likely, probably, an alliance hybrid of the two forms of Empire—- but certainly against what used to be called the citizens of the world, or now more correctly the “subjects of the world”, most certainly including the 99% of Americans about to be brought to heel.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, equality & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

I wonder what the true cost of a barrel of oil is when
all things are factored in to it’s production?
Likely one of the costliest resources in our solar
And then there is water. Quietly (mostly), under the
radar, countries have been acquiring water rights. The
time is coming soon when access to water will be the
bloodiest disputes in the history of humans.

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By Big B, May 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Who would have ever thought that, instead of concentrating on the developement and distribution of green energy sources, the world would take up arms slaughter each other for every last remaining drop of oil, lump of coal, and cubic meter of gas?

Oh, that’s right, I did. Have for years. We’re humans, we just can’t help ourselves.

The next 30 years are going to be bloody. And at the end, we won’t have any carbon resources left and 110 degree days here in the upper Ohio valley will be the norm.

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By Jack W. Scott, May 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

No, americanme, not at all, the U.S. should NOT have any nuclear, either!  No-one should have any nuclear, it is a dangerous scientific oddity that every aspect of should be eliminated.  By the way, I don’t agree with Willard that this should be an American century, Iran and the other nations of the world should be equal partners with us in developing a future powered by Solar Panels, and living sensibly on a planet with Nature restored to prominence.  You may notice that Solar can easily power independent houses and independent, autonomous villiages, this is important for a sensible social architecture for the world.  Solar Panels eliminate America’s need of nuclear, too, and also solve a whole host of various problems.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Well, Jack, it appears from your post that you believe the US should still maintain nuclear energy facilities.

Why the US and not Iran?

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By Jack W. Scott, May 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Solar Panels are the answer these conflicts, and China seems to know it!  If Iran went for Solar, they wouldn’t need nuclear energy, and if the U.S. went for Solar, we wouldn’t need oil!  Presto, problem solved!

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