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Energy

  • The EPA Holds The Key To Effective Sanctions Against Russia

    There now seems to be general consensus amongst the United States and many European nations regarding the actions of the Putin regime in Eastern Ukraine and what should be done about them. Tragically, It took the downing of a civilian plane and the loss of 298 innocent lives, but there is finally agreement that something must be done. It appears, though, that all are also agreed that action should fall short of a military response, either direct or indirect. As the father of a U.S. Army soldier, I hope that that can be achieved, but for economic sanctions to be…

  • Oil Majors Pivoting Away from Risky Countries

    The rising tide of political instability around the world is negatively affecting the some of the oil industry’s largest companies, and several are considering withdrawing their investments in risky areas. Violence, government turmoil, sabotage, and economic sanctions are presenting serious challenges to the oil majors, after years of expanding deeper and deeper into some of the least developed parts of the world. The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 27 about several companies that are pivoting away from troubled regions, and moving towards industrialized countries -- willing to assume the higher cost of operating in richer nations as the price…

  • BRICS Bank Will Not Solve Members’ Energy Issues

    From changing the nature of global politics to being a force for human rights, the announcement of the new BRICS development bank has been met with feverish anticipation by the global economic community. Its supporters have written that it will free the world from the grip of the U.S. dollar as reserve currency, while its detractors say that China and Russia, in particular, are not to be trusted when handing out development loans. The naked oil grab that China completed in Venezuela last week left the world in little doubt that the creation of the BRICS development bank will not…

  • China, America, and a New Cold War in Africa?

    Is the Conflict in South Sudan the Opening Salvo in the Battle for a Continent? [This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.]Juba, South Sudan -- Is this country the first hot battlefield in a new cold war?  Is the conflict tearing this new nation apart actually a proxy fight between the world’s two top economic and military powers?  That’s the way South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth tells it.  After "midwifing" South Sudan into existence with billions of dollars in assistance, aid,…

  • State Department Sends Mixed Signals on Kurdish Oil Exports

    A week-long drama surrounding the arrival of a Kurdish oil tanker in U.S. waters abruptly ended July 29 when a Texas judge ordered U.S. Marshals to seize the ship.Judge Nancy K. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled in favor of the Iraqi central government, which argued that the oil was “misappropriated” – i.e. stolen – and that delivery would run contrary to Iraqi law. The United Kalarvta is holding around $100 million worth of Kurdish oil and is sitting near Galveston Bay in Texas. The ruling is a blow to the Kurdish Regional…

  • The God King Of Egypt

    President El-Sisi is a man with numerous problems and few solutions. He is clinging to the military dominated economy that has been one of the major sources of those insolvable problems.A very interesting question is why President El-Sisi disclosed at the time that he announced his candidacy for president to a journalist the vision revealed in dreams over thirty-five years. He saw himself bearing a sword as he governed the ancient land. Does it mean that having been chosen by some divine power that he has earned his place through a force more important than the voters?   When he declared…

  • West Faces Jeopardy From New Sanctions Targeting Russian Oil Industry

    Previous European and U.S. economic sanctions against Russia have focused primarily on the defense and banking sectors, and new measures announced July 29 ramp up pressure on its oil industry, the core of the country’s wealth. But this shift could mean bad news for the West, as well.The new sanctions would limit Russia’s access to Western technology at a time when it’s moving to exploit oil reserves in the Arctic, under deep seas and in shale, all of which are difficult to extract with the country’s current technology. Production now is centered on Siberian deposits, which already are becoming depleted.In…

  • Yukos Ruling, New Sanctions Tighten Financial Screws on Russia

    A landmark ruling by an international arbitration court has dealt Russia and the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, Rosneft, a serious financial blow.The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, ruled that Russia must pay $50 billion to the former shareholders of Yukos to compensate them for their lost assets when Yukos was expropriated by the Russian government. Back in 2005, the Russian state accused the private oil firm Yukos of tax evasion and threw the company’s leader, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in jail. The $40 billion company was taken over by the government, with most of its assets handed…

  • Disproportionate Reaction To Death Fans the Flames of Hatred

    When it comes to the Muslim Arab world, Western nations have often been accused of maintaining a double standard about the value of human life, holding one set of rules for the West and Israel and another for Arabs.Some voices in the Middle East have gone as far as suggesting that, were it not for its oil wealth, the West would not give a second thought to what happens in turmoil-wracked Arab countries. These days, as evidence, they point to Washington’s decision to go to war with Iraq to liberate oil-rich Kuwait, but its seeming passivity as Israel invades and…

  • US Utilities Look Towards Colombia & Russia For Coal In 2014

    U.S. utilities are importing more coal from countries like Colombia, Russia and Indonesia in 2014 to hedge against poor railroad service, fulfill unique blends and, in an alarming trend for Central Appalachia coal producers, because it is less expensive than burning domestic coal.The U.S. imported 1.23 million tonnes of bituminous coal in the first quarter, according to SNL Energy data sourced from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, up 73.1% compared to the year-ago quarter. April and May coal imports also topped totals from a year ago.Southern Co. increased its purchases of Colombian coal by nearly 500,000…