- “Oil & the US-Iran Crisis” – My talk at American University, Washington DC: September 30, 2014
- Estoy citado en “Dinero”: La caída en la acción de Ecopetrol de Colombia no se debe únicamente a los ataques guerrilleros September 13, 2014
- My IP Journal latest: “A firm US-EU partnership on Iran came at great cost, and made a deal possible” August 14, 2014
- I’m quoted in WSJ: Why sell Citgo? Cash for Ramirez’ PDVSA-recovery projects August 5, 2014
- My talk on Iran, NYC | After an Iran-USA deal: A Mideast without democracy, run by Iran & Saudi Arabia? May 31, 2014
- USA Oil Seminar 5.0 | USA as Rising Energy Superpower? May 15, 2014
- My IP Journal article | Addressing Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia: Gas globalization? May 6, 2014
- USA Oil 3.0 | US energy experts on Europe, Russia & Ukraine April 29, 2014
- My AQ piece: Maduro’s Conundrum as UNASUR Starts Venezuelan Peace Talks April 12, 2014
- Venezuelan state’s economic response to protests: Rationing plus Chinese and Russian loans to float a liberal dollar market March 16, 2014
- My DGAP article | Energiewende vs. USA Shale Gas: Can German industry compete? January 22, 2014
- A new syllabus: The USA & the global oil system: The formation of American energy policy January 14, 2014
- Petrobras of Brazil v. Pdvsa of Venezuela – Reply to press interns in Sao Paulo December 1, 2013
- China y América Latina: ¿Quién gana y quién pierde? – Petroguía 2014 (Spanish) November 27, 2013
- For Obama, an Iran deal trumped Syrian aid: USA “core interests” are in “flow of energy” November 16, 2013
- Beijing ups Venezuelan oil investments, but refuses Chavista leaders’ plea for a cash bailout October 10, 2013
- DW in Spanish || Obama y Rouhani: ¿Llegarán a un acuerdo nuclear/petrolífero? October 3, 2013
- AQ Follow-up | Caracas & Maracaibo: Venezuela’s Private Sector Anxious to Invest if PDVSA Builds Confidence September 17, 2013
- My AS/COA piece: PDVSA Post-Chavez: Will Partnerships with the Private Sector and Chinese Experts Boost PDVSA Oil Production? August 29, 2013
- Competing with China in Latin America: Is Germany losing its high-tech advantage? August 20, 2013
- Can Obama & Rouhani End Iranian Nukes+Oil Crisis? – My Beijing press interviews in “Sanlian Lifeweek” August 8, 2013
- My talk: JFK Institute, Berlin: How “The Global Barrel” shapes Washington-EU relations June 8, 2013
- Why is Chinese production in Iraq booming, and in Venezuela lagging? June 4, 2013
- En Espanol: Venezuela’s “Tal Cual” on my al-Naimi post May 16, 2013
- Listening to Saudi Oil Minister Al Naimi at CISIS in Washington: Bad news for Venezuela & Iran? May 8, 2013
- NYC Lecture: THE LEGACY OF HUGO CHAVEZ: Is ‘Oil-Socialism’ a Sustainable Alternative Development? April 24, 2013
- “Tough Policy Choices Await Chavez Successor”- My viewpoint in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly March 16, 2013
- Did Iran release Abu Ghaith to show the USA its good faith in February nuclear negotiations? March 15, 2013
- Chavez’ Legacy for Venezuela’s poor & institutions: Watch my German TV News Interview March 9, 2013
- PDVSA Future Uncertain After Chavez – My views in “Platts” today March 8, 2013
- Hugo Chavez’ Death | I’ll be on Deutsche Welle news, live in Berlin March 6, 2013
- As Chavez’ oil alliance with China gets serious, Beijing holds PDVSA to its word February 18, 2013
- Succession Crisis #2: Chavez’ non-inauguration: Why violate the “Chavez Constitution”? January 9, 2013
- Venezuelan Succession Crisis? 1: Two men Chavez wants to succeed him December 14, 2012
- Problems of the Global Oil System: Why teach about oil? September 16, 2012
- Amuay refinery disaster: Syrian naphtha & Chavez’ “petroleum revolution” in flames August 30, 2012
- I’m cited: “(BN) Chavez Buys Enemy U.S.’s Fuel While Lauding Iran” July 11, 2012
- Venezuelan Faja Surprise: USA’s Harvest sells not to China but Indonesia June 23, 2012
- Iranian National Oil Company & PDVSA Respond to My Exposé?! June 14, 2012
- My Iran-in-Venezuelan-Oil Study: Summarized in “Tal Cual” today in Caracas; in Spanish May 21, 2012
- Bolivarian Venezuela’s Oil Policy & Iran: A Failed Energy Alliance May 18, 2012
- Oil Prices: Saudi Pumping Surge & US-EU Iran Strategy March 24, 2012
- PDVSA ships fuel to Syrian regime: Chavez risks sanctions? February 20, 2012
- China’s Iran-Oil Import Angst – Part II: 2012 Following 2010 Script February 15, 2012
- China’s Iran-Oil Import Angst. Part I: U.S.-Saudi Cooperation February 13, 2012
- With a USA-dependent oil sector, Chavez can’t help Ahmadinejad January 18, 2012
- A Santos-Chavez Pipeline: Where’s the demand for Latin America’s oil boom? December 17, 2011
- Part IV: Another $6.5b in loans: The frustrated Beijing-Caracas courtship December 9, 2011
- Chávez loses López human rights case. Part A: Venezuelan democracy & political power September 20, 2011
- Part III: Venezuelan heavy oil: China’s persistence is finally paying off September 17, 2011
Category Archives: Uncategorized
My talk on Iran, NYC | After an Iran-USA deal: A Mideast without democracy, run by Iran & Saudi Arabia?
Appreciation: I am honored to again be invited by my Iranian colleagues in New York, Professors Reza Ghorashi, Hamidah Zangeneh and Hamid Sedghi, to join this panel and discuss the geopolitics of US-Iranian relations. And, my thanks to Prof. Sedghi for reading my paper as I am teaching in Berlin and cannot be with you today. I only ask that those who dislike my message, kindly refrain from shooting the messenger.
The US-Iran nuclear confrontation finally appears close to resolution. This is because both Presidents Obama and Rouhani desire a diplomatic solution, and both countries need to move on. With such an agreement, it is possible that relations will slowly become normalized.
Of particular note—as a direct consequence—are the recent secret negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia towards a rapprochement. These were initially facilitated by Oman (e.g. see reports here, here, and here). Until very recently the Saudis had remained fiercely opposed to any US deal with Iran. However, the Saudi’s are realists, and know when it is time to adapt. Figure 1. is a photo of kisses exchanged on 22 April between ex-President Rafsanjani of Iran and King Abdullah’s ambassador to Iran, which caused quite a stir in the region. Agreements reached in these recently revealed negotiations have already significantly affected the presidential-succession crisis in Lebanon, sectarian conflicts in Iraq, and the conflict in Yemen. Next the two sides are expected to negotiate regarding their interests in the Syrian conflict.
In addition, the nature of the US-Saudi relationship is changing, transferring much more responsibility on the Kingdom and its Gulf partners for their own defense–albeit strongly supported with US weapons and logistics. This is part of the US disengagement from direct regional interventions, which will be significantly furthered by a successful US-Iran agreement (e.g., see here and here, and this report on Saudi defense buildup from Balfour at Harvard).
How are these new developments to be understood? Continue reading
Note: I’m teaching a post-graduate course “The Global Oil System & US Policy” at JFK Institute of Freie U. in Berlin. In order to give students a feel for how US energy policy is developed–and to see the views of important US actors–I’m sending them frequent e-mails with supplemental readings and videos from US think tanks, US government offices and from the US media on energy topics.
These are not my own in-depth analysis like I usually post on GlobalBarrel.com. However I think they are worthwhile sharing with especially non-USA followers of my blog. I’ll title these posts “USA OIL” plus a number to label them). I hope these are useful. Here’s today’s ‘optional material’ I sent to my students:
How is US energy policy developed? You might find this video of interest.
Some background: The CSIS (Center for Study of International Security) is a non-partisan (i.e., not Democratic or Republican) think tank in Washington, DC. It performs an important role in US foreign policy. Continue reading
Here’s my commentary at Americas Quarterly today, 11 April:
A delegation of foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) returned to Caracas on April 7 and 8, securing an agreement to hold peace talks to calm political polarization and protests in Venezuela. The talks are being mediated by the foreign ministers of Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador, plus a Vatican representative.
The UNASUR delegation first visited in late March, recommending that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and leaders of the opposition’s Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) enter into a dialogue. The U.S. State Department had expressed support, as had Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretary José Miguel Insulza.
However, UNASUR’s plan will be complicated by Maduro’s reliance on paramilitaries within his Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela—PSUV), whose loyalty requires his polarizing words and deeds. This conundrum already wrecked a previous dialogue.
Venezuelan state’s economic response to protests: Rationing plus Chinese and Russian loans to float a liberal dollar market
As protests continue against Venezuela’s faltering “oil revolution,” the political strategy of the chavista administration is striking for its intransigence. President Maduro has refused to recognize any grievances by students or other protesters. He calls protesters “fascists” and blames them for all the ills of the economy. Protests are attacked by the national guard and often by state-organized paramilitary gangs on motorcycles who are praised by the president.
The administration’s strategy so far appears to be that protests will burn themselves out if they can be delegitimized and contained within middle-class areas. Accordingly, the president’s rhetoric aims at inciting poorer citizens against protesters. All in all, this is a risky strategy. Protests have constantly intensified, with perhaps 25 persons dead now.
After a month of protests, the administration has taken urgent economic measures it hopes will undermine the protests and prevent their spread to poor and working-class barrios.
1. Ramirez announces Chinese and Russian loans and the launch of a very liberal Sicad 2
Back in April, Brazil’s Folha de SaoPaulo ran an article entitled: “The Future of Venezuela Depends on China“ and highlighted this quote: Translation: “If Maduzo wins, he’ll have to regain the confidence of the Chinese.” TOM O’DONNELL, petroleum consultant
Indeed, it is now clear that the short-term strategy of the post-Chavez Maduro-Cabello administration was to escape the country’s severe dollar crisis by convincing Beijing to extend it a $5 billion cash loan alleviating food-import shortages before 8 December elections. In particular, the cash was to fund a new dollar exchange system (see El Nacional,25 Sept 2013). Continue reading
An article I wrote for the IP Journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations is online today. It examines data on China, the EU and Germany’s trade with Latin America and the Caribbean, including in energy. Here’s a quote from near the end:
… China’s exports to Latin America in the low-, medium-, and high-tech categories were below those of Germany and the EU in 2003; but in 2012 [China's exports] exceeded the combined totals of the EU15 in the medium-tech and even in the high-tech categories. The only place the EU15 surpasses China is, rather oddly, in the low-tech manufactured goods …