U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warns of Russian ‘Checkmate’ in Arctic

One thing you can fault the article for is that it assumes Russia is going to let the United States, or any rival for that matter, into the area it now has on lockdown. The United States plays fair for the most part, Russia doesn’t. Playing by the rules puts you into the lesser of equals category. This is why Russia breaks treaties without conscience. This is strategy America has failed to understand in regards to its enemies such as Russia, China, Iran et al, over and over again.

If America were to start constructing new ice breakers to even reach the areas where Russia has, you’re looking at a five-to-ten year planning, not including deployment.

Having said this, one thing the article hit the nail on the head: Checkmate.

It’s too late for America. If it wants the Arctic bad enough, it now has to go to war.

 

Photo credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

 

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard issued a stark warning on Wednesday that Russia was leagues ahead of Washington in the Arctic. And while the warming Arctic opens up, the United States could be caught flat-footed while other geopolitical rivals swiftly step in.

Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, warned Russia was building up a huge military and industrial presence in the region while the United States dawdled. Russia is showing “I’m here first, and everyone else, you’re going to be playing catch-up for a generation to catch up to me first,” said Zukunft in remarks before the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’ve made a strategic statement,” he said. Continue reading

Saudis Risk Draining Financial Assets in 5 Years, IMF Says

Such was the price to be paid for King Abdullah’s economic war on America’s oil independence from shale before he passed away. The Saudi-friendly IEA has said America will never take the crown from Saudi Arabia whereas a Saudi prince has mentioned oil will never see under $100 per barrel ever again. The baton has now been passed to King Salman and he will be continuing the attack for an indefinite duration.

In the end, it was a matter of who had more asset reserves: American oil companies or the Saudi coffers built on decades of exports.

In this game of economic chicken it looks like the American oil companies who are already down to the “bare bones” might be the first to blink, however, total destruction on both sides shouldn’t be dismissed.

 

  • Estimate based on current fiscal policies amid oil’s slump
  • Saudi authorities are already planning spending cuts

Saudi Arabia may run out of financial assets needed to support spending within five years if the government maintains current policies, the International Monetary Fund said, underscoring the need of measures to shore up public finances amid the drop in oil prices.

The same is true of Bahrain and Oman in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, the IMF said in a report on Wednesday. Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have relatively more financial assets that could support them for more than 20 years, the Washington-based lender said. Continue reading

Saudi prince: $100-a-barrel oil ‘never’ again

Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told me we will not see $100-a-barrel oil again. The plunge in oil prices has been one of the biggest stories of the year. And while cheap gasoline is good for consumers, the negative impact of a 50% decline in oil has been wide and deep, especially for major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia. Even oil-producing Texas has felt a hit. The astute investor and prince of the Saudi royal family spoke to me exclusively last week as prices spiraled below $50 a barrel. He also predicted the move would dampen what has been one of the big U.S. growth stories: the shale revolution. In fact, in the last two weeks, several major rig operators said they had received early cancellation notices for rig contracts. Companies apparently would rather pay to cancel rig agreements than keep drilling at these prices. His royal highness, who has been critical of Saudi Arabia’s policies that have allowed prices to fall, called the theory of a plan to hurt Russian President Putin with cheap oil “baloney” and said the sharp sell-off has put the Saudis “in bed” with the Russians. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Can you explain Saudi Arabia’s strategy in terms of not cutting oil production?

A: Saudi Arabia and all of the countries were caught off guard. No one anticipated it was going to happen. Anyone who says they anticipated this 50% drop (in price) is not saying the truth. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading

Japan, China in war of words as Tokyo scrambles jets to monitor Beijing military planes

The rhetoric between Asia’s two superpowers is becoming more belligerent with China warning that if Japan carries out a threat to shoot down foreign drones, it would be an act of war.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has issued his own warning, saying Tokyo is prepared to be more assertive towards Beijing, while also telling China not to use force to try to change the regional balance of power.

Over the weekend, Japan twice scrambled fighter jets to monitor Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa. Continue reading

Europe fails to tap Caspian Sea’s surging gas supplies

European countries are losing out to China in their quest to source natural gas from the Central Asian states.

Moving away from dependence on Russia and Middle East hydrocarbons was a key energy objective of European countries in the 1990s, and the oil and natural gas resources along the Caspian Sea was seen as a vital alternative.

Instead, European oil dependence on Russia and the Middle East has grown from 75% in 2000 to 84% by 2010. In addition, EU reliance on gas imports has also risen from 49% to 62% during the period. Continue reading

Natural gas basins could turn the Mediterranean into a “sea of prosperity”

Natural gas basins could turn the Mediterranean into a “sea of prosperity,” but there is a risk that politics may hamper economic progress, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned.

“The biggest problem in the eastern Mediterranean is not the existence of reserves, it is the potential that politics may supersede the economy,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, told daily Hürriyet.

“If this settles down, I believe eastern Mediterranean gas will raise the prosperity of regional countries and could become an important alternative to Russian gas,” he said. Continue reading

Gazprom’s Oil Arm Signs Strategic Deal With Halliburton

MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) – Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with US energy services giant Halliburton to facilitate technological exchanges that will help increase production, the Russian company said Tuesday.

“One aspect of cooperation will be special technical seminars for employees of Gazprom Neft, with the aim of getting to know the main ways in which Halliburton uses its technology,” Gazprom Neft said in a statement posted on its website. “Some of the most important topics will concern work with tight oil reserves, unconventional resources and deep-water drilling.” Continue reading

China Is Looking To Nigeria For Crude Oil And Has Been Trying To Win Favor With The Nation By Investing In The West African Country

China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer behind the United States and the largest global energy consumer, is looking to Nigeria as a way to diversify its sources of much-needed crude oil. Continue reading

Russian Oil Behemoth Rosneft Has Unlocked the Arctic

Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.

Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.

Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading

Brazil to get its first nuclear subs

AFP – Brazil is set to join the select group of countries that have nuclear-powered submarines, President Dilma Rousseff said Friday.

Rousseff stressed Brazil was committed to peace but also needed its defense deterrent, as she inaugurated a naval shipyard in Rio de Janeiro state where the country’s first nuclear-powered sub is set to be built in partnership with France.

“We can say that with these installations we are entering the select club of countries with nuclear submarines: The United States, Russia, France, Britain and China,” said Rousseff.

Known as the Metallic Structures Construction Unit, the factory in the city of Itaguai near Rio de Janeiro is part of the ambitious ProSub program launched in 2008. Continue reading

Trillions of dollars worth of oil found in Australian outback

With the direction radical environmentalism is taking the Western world, if not mothballed, any prospective oil is more likely to go to China than to domestic markets that would normally relieve internal economic constraints.

The discovery in central Australia was reported by Linc Energy to the stock exchange and was based on two consultants reports, though it is not yet known how commercially viable it will be to access the oil. Continue reading

Report: Saudi Arabia ‘could be a net oil importer by 2030′

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia could end up becoming an importer of crude
oil, a report said.

Bright lights of Riyadh: Power demands in the kingdom
are rising by eight percent per year. /Reuters

 

Citigroup said Saudi Arabia was rapidly depleting its oil reserves,
particularly through electricity generation. Continue reading

China sends ships back to waters off disputed Japanese-controlled islands

The four maritime surveillance ships entered the waters shortly after 12.30pm (3.30am GMT), Japan’s coastguard said in a statement, adding that it was telling the ships to leave the area.

“Patrol ships from our agency have been telling them to sail outside of our territorial waters. There has not been any response” from the Chinese ships, the agency said. Continue reading

UK warns Argentina regarding the Falklands

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman Steve Field said it was “very sad that Argentina continues with their approach of confrontation, not cooperation.”

Argentina has become increasingly assertive over its claims to the islands that it calls the Malvinas, as well as the British-held South Georgia and South Sandwich islands. At stake are not only the islands, but also rich fishing grounds and potential undersea gas and oil reserves in the surrounding seas.

Cameron insists London will not enter negotiations on the sovereignty of the islands. He has said the people of the Falklands must decide their own future and claims Argentina has taken a colonialist approach to the islands’ residents.

Full article: UK warns Argentina regarding the Falklands (AP)