Here’s my latest at Berlin Policy Journal (DGAP): With Nord Stream 2, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is nearing his goal of cutting Ukraine out of the gas supply picture. October 20, 2015
On 18 June, during the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an agreement was signed to build a controversial new “Nord Stream 2” pipeline under the Baltic Sea that would go directly from Russia to northern Germany, with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm). The project, which consists of two segments that would run along the same route as the existing two segments of the 55 bcm Nord Stream line, completed in 2011, has met with strong opposition from energy officials in Brussels, as well as leaders in Ukraine and some other EU states.
Indeed, the agreement between Russia’s Gazprom and a consortium of German, Austrian, French,, and Anglo-Dutch companies came as a surprise. After all, in January 2015 Gazprom announced it had abandoned the project, blaming both the falling price of gas over the previous year and anti-monopoly restrictions in the EU’s Third Energy Package, which prohibit suppliers of gas from also owning pipelines delivering it. This provision has prevented Gazprom from ever filling the original North Stream more than half way. In retrospect, the sudden signing of a Nord Stream 2 agreement only six months after the project was supposedly abandoned, plus the fact that the consortium foresees a quick start reveals the prior cancellation to have been a political ruse. Continue reading →
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, France, Germany, international relations, LNG, Putin, Resource conflicts, Russia, Sanctions, shale gas, The USA, Trade and Commerce, Ukraine
Tagged Berlin, Brussels, Business and Economy, Energy, European Union, geopolitics, Germany, natural gas, Putin, United States, USA
What a strange rebellion against the international financial order. On Sunday 5 July, Greece voted “No!” by a resounding 61% to the bailout conditions insisted upon by Berlin, Brussels and “the creditors.” But, what is truly unique here is the alignment of international forces for renegotiation of Greek debt.
Throughout the post-War era, whenever it came down to imposing “discipline” on other small, debt-defaulting states, the most intrepid champions of the norms of the international financial order have consistently been Washington and the IMF (just ask Argentina’s Mrs. Kirchner, she’ll tell you).
Yet, look who agrees with the Greeks that their debts–in their present magnitude and structure–are impossible and potentially disastrous for the country: Continue reading →
Posted in Chavez, Debt crisis, Economic Crisis, Euroepen Union, Germany, Greece, international relations, Putin, Russia
Tagged Berlin, Business and Economy, Europe, European Union, geopolitics, Germany, Hugo Chávez, United States, USA, Washington
Merkel and Obama at G7. Main topic was Russian threats to EU and Ukraine
An AICGS workshop with Dr. Thomas O’Donnell was held on May 27 in Washington, DC with a lively full-room attendance.
O’Donnell presented preliminary results of interviews he conducted in Washington during April and May to hear candid views of US energy-and-geopolitical experts on German and the EU energy policies. The main topics were (1) European natural-gas vulnerabilities in light of the Ukraine crisis and dependence on Russian supplies and (2) implications of Germany’s commitment to a transition to renewable energy called the Energiewende. Continue for Workshop PowerPoint & written Summary –> Continue reading →
Posted in AICGS, Alternative energy, Energiewende, Energy and Environment, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, European Union, Gas globalization, Germany, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, international relations, LNG, shale gas, shale oil, The USA, Tight oil, U.S. oil, Ukraine, unconventional energy
Tagged Berlin, Business and Economy, China, Energy, European Union, geopolitics, Germany, natural gas, OPEC, Thomas O'Donnell, United States, Washington
Falling oil prices are not a US-EU-Saudi plot against Russia, Iran and Venezuela… though their effect is certainly not unwelcomed..Foto: REUTERS/Jim Bourg
[Printed in IP Journal, German Council on Foreign Affairs] Pin-pointing the reason for the dramatic – and continuing – fall in the price of oil is relatively easy: OPEC held its 166th conference in late-November 2014 to decide on a strategy to address oil prices, which had been falling at five to ten percent per month since July. Rather than pursue a production cut
Continue reading →
Posted in Chavez, Energy and Geopolitics, Euroepen Union, Global Oil system, international relations, Iran nuclear, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, PDVSA, Persian Gulf, Putin, Resource conflicts, Russia, Sanctions, Saudi Arabia, The USA
Tagged Ali Al-Naimi, Business and Economy, Chavez, Energy, geopolitics, Iran, Middle East, oil sector, OPEC, Petróleos de Venezuela, Rafael Ramírez, Saudi Arabia, United States, Venezuela, Washington
EC’s Gas Stress Test: Could the EU cope with a Russian use of gas as a geopolitical weapon? REUTERS/Wojciech Kardas/Agencja Gazeta
What if Russia cuts off gas exports to EU states this winter? This is a very possible means for Russian President Putin to escalate pressure on the EU and USA over the future of Ukraine. What could the EU do? The European Commission has just released the results of a simulation it ordered, involving 38 EU and neighboring states. Here’s my analysis for the IP Journal of The German Council on Foreign Relations:
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Euroepen Union, Gas globalization, Germany, international relations, LNG, Putin, Russia, shale gas, Ukraine
Tagged Berlin, Business and Economy, Energy, Euroepan Union, European Comission, gas exports, geopolitics, Germany, natural gas, Putin, Russia, Russian gas, stress test, Ukraine
Javier Gutiérrez Presidente de Ecopetrol – La compañía tiene la meta de alcanzar el millón de barriles diarios de producción en 2015. Es claro que esa cifra está lejos de ser cumplida. (Dinero)
English Summary (Resumen en Inglés): I am quoted at length by Dinero (Publicaciones Semana, Bogotá) on the steep fall in value of the stocks of Colombia’s national oil company and largest corporation, Ecopetrol. This had been blamed on FARC and ELN guerrilla attacks on pipelines this year. However, while attacks are up versus 2013, they are significantly below the numbers in several prior years. Others blame the fall on a failure to expand reserves. Indeed, Ecopetrol has a very low exploration-drilling success rate. However, I stressed that discovery of new reserves is not so much the problem as is the need to begin employing enhanced oil production (EOP) methods to Ecopetrol’s existing fields. The percentage of oil Ecopetrol extracts is low. To get more oil out of existing reserves, Ecopetrol needs to learn how to do EOP. And, in certain formations, it has to learn how to drill much deeper. Here is the article …
DINERO | 8/21/2014: No solo violencia
La caída en la acción de Ecopetrol no se debe únicamente a los ataques guerrilleros. El principal problema de la compañía es operativo: no ha podido encontrar nuevas reservas.
Continue reading →
Posted in Colombia, Dinero, Ecopetrol, ELN, Enhanced oil production, FARC, heavy oil, High technology, Latin America, Pacific Rubiales, Semana Publications
Tagged Business and Economy, Ecopetrol, Heavy crude oil, oil sector, South America
Note: These “USA Oil Seminar” posts are extra readings for my students to better understand how US energy policy is developed and to hear the views of US experts. The seminar is: “The Global Oil System & US Policy” at JFK Institute of FU-Berlin.
- This Friday, watch live (or the recording later on): Is the U.S. a Rising Energy Superpower? Implications for Global Markets and Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Europe. CSIS upcoming talk by Fereidun Fesharaki. FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM . Moderated by David Pumphrey.
- Read the paper: Fueling a New Order? The New Geopolitical and Security Consequences of Energy |April 15, 2014. By: Bruce Jones, David Steven and Emily O’Brien. Brookings Institute; Washington, DC.
BACKGROUND: This week, the class reading assignments are a couple conference papers I wrote a few years ago on the history and structure of today’s global oil system, and how it grew to replace the neo-colonial oil system. Continue reading →
Posted in China, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, Gas globalization, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, international relations, Latin America, LNG, Oil course, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, Persian Gulf, Resource conflicts, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Seminar, shale gas, shale oil, The USA, Tight oil, Trade and Commerce, U.S. oil, unconventional energy
Tagged Bruce Jones, Business and Economy, China, David Pumphrey., David Steven, Energy, Fereidun Fesharaki, Global Oil System, Iran, Iraq, Latin America, Middle East, oil sector, OPEC, Persian Gulf, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, South China Sea, United States, Washington
Globalizing gas market, creating OECD strategic reserves could make embargoes history | By Thomas W. O’Donnell 6May14| Post-war Western Europe was twice the target of energy embargoes, each dramatically altering its energy landscape. A lesson for today is that Europe’s present natural gas dependence on Russia can be addressed with a gas policy like that adopted by the OECD for oil in 1973 – one that launched today’s collective, market centered, and embargo-proof global oil security system.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a letter made public April 10, 2014, warning several EU heads of state that Ukraine must pay its past due gas bill of $2.2 billion or Russian energy giant, Gazprom, “will completely or partially cease gas deliveries” to the country and be “compelled” to insist on payments one month in advance for any future deliveries – including $5 billion to refill Ukraine’s gas reserves before next winter. CONTINUE READING AT: odonnell-addressing_europes_energy_eependence_on_russia_IP_Journal-06may14
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, Gas globalization, gas internationalization, Germany, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, international relations, LNG, Oil supply, OPEC, Putin, Resource conflicts, Russia, Sanctions, Saudi Arabia, shale gas, The USA, Trade and Commerce, Ukraine, unconventional energy
Tagged Business and Economy, Energy, energy landscape, Europe, natural gas, OECD, OPEC, Saudi Arabia, Thomas W. O'Donnell, United States, Washington, Western Europe
- The anti-government protest in eastern Caracas 13 March ended in clashes with Venezuelan police. Three more died in widespread protests. BBC
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
Posted in Chavez, Chavez lagacy, Chavez legacy, China, Faja of the Orinoco, Global Oil Market, heavy oil, Hugo Chávez, Institutions and rule of law, PDVSA, Uncategorized, Venezuela oil, Venezuela update, Venezuelan Democracy
Tagged Beijing, Business and Economy, Caracas, Chavez, China, Energy, Heavy crude oil, Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro, PDVSA, People's Republic of China
In Germany, the impact of the country’s renewable energy transition on the economy is a very hot topic. Tuesday, Mrs. Merkel’s new Minister of Economy & Environment (and chair of the Social Democratic Party), Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, declared: “We need to keep in mind that the whole economic future of our country is riding on this,” (NYT, 21Jan14).
Here’ is my article in the DGAP’s (German Council on Foreign Affairs’) IP Journal of 30Dec13 (submitted 24Nov13):
Germany’s Energiewende (renewable-energy transition) is under intense pressure both from consumers facing soaring electric bills and from German manufacturers fretting about their falling energy competitiveness vís-a-vís the US, where manufacturers are benefiting from the boom in cheap natural gas production. What should be done to address these concerns has become a major topic of the CDU-SPD negotiations forming Chancellor Merkel’s new coalition government.
From the viewpoint of German manufacturers, there are two ways the US shale gas revolution implies a worrisome competitive challenge. First, cheaper natural gas in the US is lowering electricity and other energy costs for American manufacturers, while Germany’s continue to rise. This is especially of concern to energy-intensive industries, where the EU now has 36 percent of world capacity and the US only 10 percent. Secondly, as the US begins to build facilities for export of liquefied gas (LNG), this capacity could have a significant effect on the price of electricity and gas in Asia. … Continue reading at DGAP’s (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V.) IP Journal.
Posted in Alternative energy, China, Economic Crisis, Energiewende, Energy and Environment, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, Germany, international relations, Peak Oil, shale gas, The USA, Tight oil, Trade and Commerce, Trade policy, U.S. oil
Tagged Berlin, Business and Economy, Energy, energy transition, German Council on Foreign Affairs, German manufacturers, Germany, oil sector, Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democratic Party
During Spring 2014, I’m teaching a post-graduate seminar in Berlin on the USA and the global market-centered oil system (a.k.a.”The Global Barrel”)–the syllabus sketch is below here.
While I’ve often taught seminars on “the Geopolitics of Global Oil,” the JFK Institute at Berlin’s Freie Universität had a special request: they would like their students to learn “how these policies are decided in the USA.”
For an American energy “expert”, the how of the USA’s policy-decision process is fairly familiar. However, not only for German students, but also for most US citizens, this process–whose outcome has such a profound impact on the entire world– indeed seems at best rather opaque, and, at worst, like an unseemly, vested-interest-driven and hopelessly partisan process. Continue reading →
Posted in Energy and Environment, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Euroepen Union, Germany, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, heavy oil, Institutions and rule of law, international relations, Latin America, Oil course, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, Peak Oil, Resource conflicts, Saudi Arabia, Seminar, South China Sea, The USA, Tight oil, Trade and Commerce, Trade policy
Tagged Berlin, Business and Economy, China, Energy, JFK Institute at Berlin, Middle East, oil sector, OPEC, post-graduate seminar, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, United States, Washington
Inversiones energéticos de China en Latino américa. Nota que Venezuela está en cuatro lugar, en contra de las intenciones iniciales de Beijíng en 2007-08. HAZ CLICK para magnificar. (Grafico por T.O’D.)
[English readers: This post is an analysis I did in Spanish for Petroguía 2014 – the annual hard-copy guide for the LatAm petroleum sector – of China’s oil and gas investments in LatAm and the Carribean. For Beijing’s other investments, or a presentation, etc. drop me a line. ]
NOTA: La siguiente es mi análisis publicado en Petroguía 2014, la guía anual para el sector petrolífero latinoamericano. Soy agradecido a los directores del Petroguía por haberme permitido publicar el artículo aquí. El artículo es una resumen de una investigación que hizo sobre todas las inversiones de China en Latino américa. Si tienen interés en una reportaje o presentación detallada, por favor contactarme.
China y América Latina: ¿Quién gana y quién pierde?
Sumario. El mercado de hidrocarburos ya no está en el norte de América sino hacia el este, y la mejor estrategia de intercambio con esa plaza la lleva Brasil, mientras que Venezuela y Argentina están a la zaga.
Por Thomas W. O’Donnell
El petróleo y el gas que exportará América Latina en las décadas venideras irán mayormente a China y otras partes de Asia. Y eso es por el efecto combinado de menores necesidades de energía importada en Estados Unidos, gracias a la utilización de los nuevos métodos de fractura hidráulica (fracking) que produce cada vez más petróleo liviano, y por el tope que ha alcanzado su demanda doméstica. Continue reading →
Posted in Chavez, Chavez lagacy, China, heavy oil, international relations, Latin America and Caribbean, Oil supply, OPEC, PDVSA, shale oil, The USA, Tight oil, Trade and Commerce, U.S. oil, Venezuela oil
Tagged Beijing, Business and Economy, Chavez, China, Energy, Heavy crude oil, Hugo Chávez, Latin America, oil sector, OPEC, PDVSA, United States, Venezuela
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 …
-> READ THE ARTICLE at GCFP’s IP Journal or Research Gate.
Posted in China, Economic Crisis, Euroepen Union, Free trade agreements, Germany, High technology, international relations, Latin America and Caribbean, Oil supply, Resource conflicts, The USA, Trade and Commerce, Trade policy, Uncategorized
Tagged Argentina, Brazil, Business and Economy, Caribbean, Chile, China, Council on Foreign Relations, European Union, Germany, High tech, Latin America, South America, Trade, United Nations geoscheme for the Americas, United States, Venezuela
Below is a “Special Reprint of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly for The Global Barrel”–I was quoted in three EIG articles last week.
A special thanks to James Bourne, Energy Intelligence’s Senior Editor for Latin America. James is moving on to new challenges in Singapore His frequent calls with probing questions and insightful analysis of Venezuela and Latin America will be sorely missed here!! Una buena despidida – mucho éxito en todo!
Posted in Chavez, Chavez legacy, Chavezsuccession cancer, Faja of the Orinoco, heavy oil, Hugo Chávez, PDVSA, PDVSA weakness, Venezuela update, Venezuelan elections, Venezuelan Nationalism, Venezuelan weak institutions
Tagged Business and Economy, energy intelligence, Hugo Chávez, James Bourne, Latin America, Nicolás Maduro, Social Sciences, South America, United States, Venezuela
Northampton, MA (Area of “the five colleges,” UMass Amhers, etc.)
On Thursday, the lead headline story in the WSJ asserted “New Cracks in Oil Cartel: OPEC Fails to Agree on Production Boost Amid Rising Saudi-Iran Tensions.” The “cracks” may have widened at this meeting, but they are hardly “new.” Continue reading →
Posted in OPEC
Tagged Ali Al-Naimi, Business and Economy, geopolitics, Iran, MENA, Middle East, Northampton Massachusetts, oil rents, OPEC, Persian Gulf, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United States, Wall Street Journal