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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 4)

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.

Looking, again, at April’s six energy disputes, one can see clear evidence of these underlying forces in every case.  South Sudan is desperate to sell its oil in order to acquire the income needed to kick-start its economy; Sudan, on the other hand, resents the loss of oil revenues it controlled when the nation was still united, and appears no less determined to keep as much of the South’s oil money as it can for itself.  China and the Philippines both want the right to develop oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea, and even if the deposits around Scarborough Shoal prove meager, China is unwilling to back down in any localized dispute that might undermine its claim to sovereignty over the entire region.

Egypt, although not a major energy producer, clearly seeks to employ its oil and gas supplies for maximum political and economic advantage—an approach sure to be copied by other small and mid-sized suppliers.  Israel, heavily dependent on imports for its energy, must now turn elsewhere for vital supplies or accelerate the development of disputed, newly discovered offshore gas fields, a move that could provoke fresh conflict with Lebanon, which says they lie in its own territorial waters.  And Argentina, jealous of Brazil’s growing clout, appears determined to extract greater advantage from its own energy resources, even if this means inflaming tensions with Spain and Great Britain.

And these are just some of the countries involved in significant disputes over energy.  Any clash with Iran—whatever the motivation—is bound to jeopardize the petroleum supply of every oil-importing country, sparking a major international crisis with unforeseeable consequences.  China’s determination to control its offshore hydrocarbon reserves has pushed it into conflict with other countries with offshore claims in the South China Sea, and into a similar dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.  Energy-related disputes of this sort can also be found in the Caspian Sea and in globally warming, increasingly ice-free Arctic regions.

The seeds of energy conflicts and war sprouting in so many places simultaneously suggest that we are entering a new period in which key state actors will be more inclined to employ force—or the threat of force—to gain control over valuable deposits of oil and natural gas.  In other words, we’re now on a planet heading into energy overdrive.

Michael Klare is a TomDispatch regular, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, and the author, most recently, of “The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources.” To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Klare discusses global energy conflicts, click here or download it to your iPod here.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 Michael T. Klare


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By prosefights, May 14, 2012 at 4:22 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.

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By prosefights, May 14, 2012 at 1:41 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 10:21 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 1:19 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 6:50 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 5:16 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 3:08 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 2:38 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 1:28 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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