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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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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 182 – The U.S. under Threats?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section. World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – Besides developments in the Islamic State War, and on the broader Jihadi front, continuing tensions between NATO and Russia, and related uncertainties for the situation in Ukraine, what stands out this week is, potentially, how much the U.S. and their supremacy are under threats and how they could fight back, or not. Interestingly, this perception of multiple threats to the U.S. only emerges if one considers various sections together, namely, world (of course), technology and armaments, energy and economy. We thus have together the decline of oil prices […]

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Energy, Climate and Military Paradox

A powerful paradox lies at the heart of the current oil and gas global rush (Michael Klare, The Race for what’s left, 2012). On the one hand, the energy global demand necessitates to find and exploit oil and gas deposits, while looking for new ones, even in extreme environmental and political situations, as in the Arctic or the Niger river Delta (Al Jazeera, “Who is stealing Nigerian oil?“, 13 Sept. 2014). On the other hand, 97% of climatologists have developed a consensus in establishing that the current uses of oil and gas are changing the Earth climate (IPCC, fifth report, 2014) at such a speed and rate that basic life conditions could be altered for the whole of the human […]

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The Russian Arctic, Energy and a Massive Power Shift

A major world power shift is happening in the Arctic. It is due to new massive oil and gas discoveries, combined with the effects of climate change. In effect, on 28 September 2014, Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, the Russian mammoth oil company, announced the discovery of a giant oil field in the Kara Sea, north of Siberia (Zero Hedge, “Russia discovers massive Arctic oil field which maybe larger than the Gulf of Mexico“, 28 September, 2014). According to the first commentaries, this sub-sea structure called Universitetskaya, potentially, could contain reserves of oil and gas equal or superior to the Gulf of Mexico. As Igor Sechin declared, quoted by Bloomberg (Arkhipov, Chierman and Chilcote, “Russia says Arctic well drilled with Exxon Mobil […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 152 – Forgetting Food Security?

Editorial – Forgetting food security? While the tense stand-off between the U.S., the E.U. and European member states on the one hand and Russia on the other does not abate and spreads to space, while most focus on the fossil fuel component of the Ukrainian global crisis, one crucial element of this energy that is vital for human societies, food, tends to be forgotten (for food as energy, see e.g. Thomas Homer Dixon, The Upside of Down, 2008). It is, however, usefully re-called to out attention by Chris Martenson’s article “Rising Resource Costs Escalate Odds of Global Unrest” (via Peak Prosperity on Zerohedge). True enough, if you head to the FAO monitoring of the global food situation, so far things are looking all right. Furthermore, according […]

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Egypt, Climate Change and the Long Resource Civil Warfare

Since the “Arab spring” reached Egypt in January 2011, the political situation has evolved quite quickly (Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012). Many observers analyse the Egyptian political landscape as a battlefield between the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a growing number of people wanting to experience democracy, while the whole situation is being put under pressure by a very degraded economic situation (Seumas Milne, The Revenge of History, 2013). Moreover, those different actors are participating in the political tensions between Arab countries, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and between these countries and the U.S. (Corm, ibid). Egypt has tremendous political importance in the Middle East, in Africa, and at the international and global level. Since the antiquity, this very singular […]

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The Shale Oil and Gas Security Sigils

Shale fuels, a potential game changer, remain controversial, notably considering the various environmental risks, the social opposition and distrust, the uncertainty regarding recoverable reserves, the evolution of technology and regulations, and the opposite interests of different actors. It is thus crucial to scan and monitor…

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Pattern – Higher Global Temperatures, Earlier Impacts and the Shale Fuels Bounty

We most probably need to get ready for a 2C temperature rise and its harsh impact on the world relatively rapidly as a temperature rise of 6C – and above – by the end of the century is increasingly probable. Indeed, interests and current challenges and tensions are most likely to favour shale fuels’ production and policies and adversely affect “green efforts”. Other ecological adverse impacts on global security issues such as water and biodiversity may be enhanced and must be monitored. Citizens’ mobilization on those issues may evolve as trade-offs will be done, and as impacts will be felt.

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The Coal Sigils

The Coal Sigils, is the first of The Sigils dedicated to energy security, a series of daily papers scanning the horizon for weak signals related to various issues relevant to the security of societies, polities, nations and citizens. Why a Sigils focused on coal? According to a release by the IEA, “As of March 2012, […]

Energy Security: a Bibliography for Strategic Foresight and Warning

A Bibliography Bibliography on energy security for strategic foresight and warning (not exhaustive) built while working on energy issues, notably as senior scientific adviser for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Deputy Director for Energy/Environmental Security (2008-2010). Energy security and foresight Bray, David A., Sean Costigan, Keith A. Daum, Helene Lavoix, Elizabeth L. Malone, and Chris Pallaris, “Perspective: Cultivating Strategic Foresight for Energy and Environmental Security,” Cambridge Journals, Environmental Practice, volume 11, issue 03, Septembre 2009. Lavoix, Helene, Why Strategic Foresight and Warning? The case of Energy Security, (slides), RSIS, Public lecture, NTU, Singapore, 19th April 2010 Millennium Project, 2020 Global Energy Scenarios, 2008. Shell Scenarios, Looking ahead. Energy Demand Bartis, James T. and Lawrence Van Bibber, Alternative Fuels for […]

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