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The Russian Arctic meets the Chinese New Silk Road

In this article on the development of the energy, business and military nexus of the Arctic by Russia, the Red (Team) Analysis Society studies how the Russian Arctic is becoming a new crucial business and strategic “centre” in the world, through the creation of numerous energy and infrastructure projects and operations, which attract Chinese companies […]

Russian Arctic oil: a New Economic & Strategic Paradigm?

This article is the second of our series on the Anthropocene and security. Previously, we presented the larger dimensions and general elements framing the new (in)security. Here, we shall focus on latest developments regarding Russian Arctic oil. Between April and July 2016, the current Russian energy conquest of the Arctic led to the shipment of more than 230.000 barrels of oil from the Russian Arctic. They came from two recent on-shore fields, and from the Gazprom Prirazlomonoye off-shore oil rig (Irina Slav, “Russia Ramps Up Arctic Oil Production”, OilPrice.Com, July 21, 2016). The latter is the first of the glacial Barents Sea. The 2016 flow from the Russian Arctic almost doubled compared with 2015. In the meantime, the Russian ministry of […]

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China, Russia and the New Silk Road in Central Asia: the Great Co-Empowerment (1)

On 9 May 2015 took place an impressive military parade in Moscow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The parade was presided by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, and by its guests, dozens of heads of state and government. At his right hand were seated Xi Jinping, President of the Popular Republic of China, and Pranab Mukherjee, President of India (“Russia stages massive WW2 parade despite Western boycott”, BBC News, 9 May 2015). Western governments were not represented during the parade itself, because of the tensions about the situation in Ukraine. Two months later, President Xi Jinping, the Indian Prime Minister Rajendra Modi and President Putin held talks about the development of the relations […]

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Iran, China and the New Silk Road

Given the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the twenty-first century, reaching new heights in early 2016 with the beheading of a Shi’a Cleric by Saudi political authorities, which generated violences on Saudi diplomatic representations notably in Iran, in turn leading to the Saudi decision to break diplomatic relations with Iran (e.g. BBC News, 4 Jan 2016), understanding the new dynamics existing between Iran and China is even more important, as they may carry new weight, usually not considered as far as the Middle East is concerned. On 4 March 2013, an Iranian military fleet, which had left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, docked at the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang, after a forty days journey (“Thread: Iran 24th fleet heading […]

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Energy Transmutation in the Middle East: Egypt and Israel

While climate change is hammering the Middle East, and as Syria and Iraq are engulfed in war (Valantin, “Climate nightmare in the Middle East”, The Red Team Analysis Society, September 14, 2015), Egypt and Israel are going through a profound energy revolution. In effect, since 2011, Israel has discovered two giant natural gas off-shore deposits (Valantin, “Israel, Natural Gas and Power in the Middle East”, The Red Team Analysis Society, April 27, 2015) while in August 2015, the oil Italian company ENI has discovered a mammoth off-shore natural deposit in the Egyptian economic exclusive zone (Anthony Dipaola, “ENI discovers massive gas fields in the Mediterranean”, Bloomberg Business, August 30, 2015). In other terms, these two countries are transforming themselves into a new, […]

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China and the New Silk Road: The Pakistani Strategy

On 20 April 2015, the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a common plan for developing an economic and energy corridor linking the two countries through the development of gigantic infrastructures worth 46 billion dollars (Katharine Houreld, “China and Pakistan launch economic corridor plan worth 46 billion dollars”, Reuters, April 20, 2015). If this announcement is in itself very impressive, it is, in fact, only a part of China’s grand strategy, dubbed the “New Silk Road”. This strategy is defined through the concepts of “belt and road” (literally in Chinese Yídài yílù, 一带一路, one belt, one road) (“Belt and Road Nations account for 26 per cent of China’s trade”, The Beijing Review, April 29, 2015). […]

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Israel, Natural Gas and Power in the Middle East

Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime minister is known to joke about the fact that Moses led his people during forty years in the desert to the only place in the Middle East without oil (Marin Katusa, The Colder War, 2014). And, indeed, for the first sixty years of its existence, the lack of energy resources has been a major difficulty for Israel. However, a profound change seems to be underway, since two giant off-shore natural gas deposits have been discovered in the Israeli exclusive economic zone in 2011. The Tamar and the Leviathan fields hold respectively 10 and between 19 and 22 trillion cubic feet of gas of estimated reserves, which could ensure decades of domestic consumption as well as […]

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Turkey: An Energy and Environmental Power

On 1 December 2014, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyit Erdogan and President of the Federation of Russia Vladimir Putin agreed on the implementation of a new gas pipeline, linking the Russian Federation to Turkey through the Black Sea ( “Gazprom to build new 63 bcm Black Sea pipeline to Turkey instead of South Stream”, Russia Today, December 1, 2014). This new project is called “Turkish stream” and replaces the late “South Stream”, which was meant to connect Russia to Europe, by crossing southern European countries. The decision of Bulgaria to withdraw from the project, in the context of the tensions regarding Ukraine between the U.S. and the EU, on the one hand, Russia, on the other, led […]

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Oil Flood (2) – Oil and Politics in a (Real) Multipolar World

The world oil flood is quickly rising. As we have seen in “Oil Flood (1): The Kingdom is Back”, the decisions taken by OPEC members and Russia not to curb oil production, while Saudi Arabia is forcing prices down, are much more about power politics and strategies than about economics and the “invisible hand” of the logic of “supply and demand”. We shall now focus on what the evolution of the current oil market reveals about current and future geopolitics. Since the end of November, especially since the 27 November OPEC meeting, prices have kept falling down, while the main producers, chiefly among them Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and the private U.S. companies, have all decided, for reasons of their own, to maintain […]

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Oil Flood (1)? The Kingdom is Back

Since July 2014, oil prices have been falling, while OPEC members have decided to maintain their current levels of production (OPEC, 166th meeting concludes). It appears that the Saudi Kingdom plays an essential part in this operation. Numerous articles and commentaries are focused on the economic and financial consequences of this situation, and try to anticipate how national and global economies are going to react. The problem with this kind of questions is that they miss the fact that oil is not only a commodity and the support of gigantic financial activities (William Engdahl, A Century of war, Anglo-american oil politics and the new world order, 2004). Before all, oil is an extremely powerful tool of political power (Michael Levi, “Why […]

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