• 20 mins OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 16 hours U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 18 hours Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 20 hours Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 22 hours EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 24 hours Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 1 day Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 4 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 4 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 4 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 4 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 4 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 4 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 5 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 5 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 5 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 5 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 5 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 5 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 5 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 5 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 5 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 6 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 6 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 6 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 6 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 6 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 6 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
  • 7 days Over 1 Million Bpd Remain Offline In Gulf Of Mexico
  • 7 days Turkmenistan To Spend $93-Billion On Oil And Gas Sector
  • 7 days Indian Hydrocarbon Projects Get $300 Billion Boost Over 10 Years
  • 7 days Record U.S. Crude Exports Squeeze North Sea Oil
  • 7 days Iraq Aims To Reopen Kirkuk-Turkey Oil Pipeline Bypassing Kurdistan
  • 7 days Supply Crunch To Lead To Oil Price Spike By 2020s, Expert Says
  • 7 days Saudi Arabia Ups November Oil Exports To 7-Million Bpd
  • 7 days Niger Delta State Looks To Break Free From Oil
  • 8 days Brazilian Conglomerate To Expand Into Renewables
  • 8 days Kurdish Independence Could Spark Civil War
  • 8 days Chevron, Total Waiting In The Wings As Shell Mulls Majnoon Exit

Breaking News:

OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%

Alt Text

What’s Stopping An Oil Price Rally?

Oil prices rallied in Q3…

Alt Text

The Geopolitical Consequences Of U.S. Oil Exports

The United States has ramped…

Alt Text

5 Players To Watch In The FinTech Revolution

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain tech…

Afghanistan Priority: Energy Security

A lot has happened in Afghanistan in recent days intrinsic more to geopolitics than to Afghanistan itself: Russia-US joint anti-drugs operations are in being put in full swing, Russia has offered up Ulyanovsk for NATO’s Afghan transit needs, and both Beijing and Moscow have been asked to contribute financially to Afghan security forces.

Following a two-day NATO-Russia summit that ended on 19 April, Russia agreed to allow NATO’s ISAF troops to use its rail network and air transport running through the town of Ulyanovsk to send supplies in and out of Afghanistan. Specifically, the deal would allow for the opening of a NATO transit hub in the town, which is situated on the Volga River and is a convenient route to Europe. Ideally, NATO would be able to use air transport to fly goods from Afghanistan to Russia and then Russia’s rail network to move those goods on to Europe. 

This is an important deal for NATO, which can longer rely on Pakistan for supply routes. The Pakistani supply route has long been a point of contention between Islamabad and NATO, and the route, which carried as much as one-third of ISAF’s Afghan equipment, has been attacked and cut off several times in the past. Most recently, a NATO cross-border air strike in November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and Islamabad responded by closing the route indefinitely.

Nor can NATO rely on its Northern Distribution Route through Central Asian countries. The US has signed agreements with Central Asian nations to bring supplies in and out of Afghanistan, but those agreements have not been fully implemented while Uzbekistan in particular is holding out to hedge its bets for higher transit fees. (The Russian agreement may stifle Uzbek greed.)

Russia is interested in the US withdrawing its forces, but it is also interested in stability in Afghanistan, and concerned that the withdrawal is being undertaken without the proper security in place. But the withdrawal is more of a downsizing, and a key concern for both Russia and NATO is energy security.  Energy security is one of NATO’s key, although ill-defined, roles. NATO’s military operation in Afghanistan has increased exponentially the significance of the Caspian region in terms of energy security. 

Most likely, as many as 30,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, stationed along a key planned pipeline route – the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) pipeline project – though the success of this endeavor is increasingly under question.

NATO stands the risk of being perceived as pursuing a military energy security policy, which could hinder efforts toward security cooperation over transnational issues threatening Russia as well as NATO countries, such as terrorism and drugs.

While energy security and pipeline politics related to Afghanistan and the Caspian region remain contentious issues between Russia and NATO, drugs in particular has proven a solid platform for cooperation.

Russian and US special services have been conducting joint anti-drug operations in Afghanistan for the past year, and the results of those operations, aimed primarily at destroying drug laboratories, will be revealed in May at a bilateral anti-drug conference in St. Petersburg.

So where does this leave China?

“We would welcome financial contributions from Russia, China and other countries to ensure a strong, sustainable Afghan security force beyond 2014″, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasumssen told reporters after the Thursday summit in Brussels. This is not likely to be forthcoming, particularly from Beijing.

China’s economic interest in Afghanistan is significant, but Beijing has steadfastly refused any involvement beyond economic development and the exploitation of natural resources. Still, China could be an influential component, especially given its close ties to neighboring Pakistan. But Beijing is also pragmatic, and its perception of Afghanistan for now is that the Taliban has managed to infiltrate the country on all levels. This includes security, for which it is being asked to contribute financially. 

By Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

Jen Alic is a geopolitical analyst, co-founder of ISA Intel in Sarajevo and Tel Aviv, and the former editor-in-chief of ISN Security Watch in Zurich.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Philip Andrews on April 23 2012 said:
    Will 30,000 troops really be able to succeed where 150,000 couldn't?

    Once NATO leaves Afghanistan there is likely to be open conflict beteween the Taliban and the Northern Alliance/Uzbek-Tajik based Afghan Army i.e. a civil war.

    This will be financed by both Saudi and Iran as a proxy war.

    The Russians want to make sure that TAPI doesn't conflict or compete with their oil/gas export network so it pays them to get into Afghanistan and control the situation from within with regards to that.

    Many Afghans of the former ACP still connect with Russia.

    When NATO leaves there will still be a mess. And it will be the Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Saudis, Indians and Pakistanis who will be embroiled with it. The West will be merely an onlooker.
  • anonymous on April 23 2012 said:
    Actually the tapi is officially dead, but in order to still raise funds for it, we must say it could still be alive.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News